Paper Conference

Proceedings of eSim 2014: 8th Conference of IBPSA-Canada


The role of building performance simulation in the design of ECHO, Team Ontario’s entry to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013

Michael Brown, Jenny Chu, Cynthia Cruickshank

Abstract: The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a biennial sustainable design competition that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate net-zero energy houses. Team Ontario, comprised of students and faculty from Queen’s University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College, recently competed in the 2013 competition in Irvine, California with their house, ECHO – an ECological HOme for the next generation of young homeowners. This paper describes how the building performance simulation work played a crucial role in the integrated design process. Building models were initially created in EnergyPlus and then in TRNSYS to couple it to the mechanical system model, a solar-assisted heat pump with two storage tanks. Annual building loads in Ottawa, Ontario and during the 8-day competition in Irvine were estimated and compared to actual competition performance. Although heating loads dominate in typical Canadian residential buildings, the simulation results suggest that the annual heating and cooling loads were approximately equal. This result is attributed to high levels of insulation and effective control of solar gains in the winter. Simulation results suggest that ECHO requires about 25% of the energy of a typical Canadian home (34% when scaling space conditioning and lighting loads by size).
Pages: 859 - 872