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Design and Evaluation of Passive Heating and Cooling Strategies Implemented in a Desert Climate

Mar 11th, 2008

A 1,475 square-foot house was designed, built, and finalized in August 2005, specifically to respond to the climate in northern New Mexico. Specific passive cooling and heating strategies were applied to reduce energy consumption and increase thermal comfort.

The aim of this research was to assess that performance and evaluate the use of mass and applied passive heating and cooling design strategies. This design was predicted to use over 60% less energy than a traditionally designed stick frame house. Current performance showed energy savings on heating of up to 52%. This performance was the result of using passive heating that according to calculations saved 15 to 20% of gas consumption. Thermocouples at 20 points in the house monitored temperatures at floor, wall, roof, and inside and outside air levels.

The overall energy and thermal comfort performance was assessed only for the winter season. Further research will continue to determine summer performance.

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