Five years on….building science research with a Solar Decathlon home

July 30, 2015
Session R1B: Sustainable Design: From Course to Community — Room 105
9:00 am  -  10:00 am

Utilizing a Solar Decathlon House for research provided a great opportunity for scientific advances. The Interlock House, Iowa State University’s entry into the 2009 US DOE Solar Decathlon has been converted into an NSF EPSCoR funded community laboratory for energy efficiency research. The building operates as activity center of a state park resort. Over hundred sensor points can be analyzed remotely. In addition a mobile data acquisition systems allows for staged measurements. While we set out to verify our design predictions, the house has provided the infrastructure for scientific advances and this presentation will report on the multiple projects conducted in the house over the past three years in five major area:
calibrated transient computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models for the design of natural ventilation and passive solar strategies; 2. Understanding the interrelationship of multiple comfort parameters in energy efficiency research is essential to designing net zero buildings in the future; 3. Development and experimental testing of a residential scale desiccant dehumidification system based on a packed bed design underwent experimental testing and has proven to be a viable equipment to dehumidify the incoming air in warm and humid climates like Iowa using solar thermal energy instead of electrical energy; 4. Surveying the visitors to the house enhances the understanding of what is necessary to promote the public engagement in sustainable housing.