Good Provider NexusHaus

July 28, 2015
Session T1C: How Balance Improves Quality of Life — Room 106
8:30 am  -  9:30 am

“Lower-income families are most vulnerable to cost fluctuations associated with energy and water supply changes. Thus, affordability is a key goal of the proposed U.S. Department of Energy 2015 ‘NexusHaus’ team. The team is formed by The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM).

The NexusHaus aims to explore its compatibility with existing neighborhood infrastructure. The interplay of water and energy at the local scale will be used in order for the units not to overwhelm the stressed utilities with their additional demand, e.g. waste water, and solar electrical production.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) that addresses the Energy-Water Nexus will not only increase occupants’ independence, but can also contribute to a larger-scale solution. Our team will demonstrate the potential of an affordable ADU as a “unit of production” rather than only of consumption and will consider current and future scalability of distributed renewable energy technologies. The NexusHaus optimizes, reuses and generates energy and water in ways that are compatible with the existing infrastructure. Special emphasis is placed on the positive aspects of the energy-water nexus at the scale of the unit. The team proposes the following: I) Storing thermal energy (produced off-peak, from waste heat, or during peak PV production) for space conditioning and domestic hot water (DHW) use. II) Mitigating the mismatch between electrical tiered rates, renewable technology generation, and occupancy. III) Hydronic distribution intended to enhance occupant thermal comfort and allow load shifting by thermal energy storage. IV) Reduced off-site electricity production via on-site collection, treatment and utilization of water and wastewater.

Collaborating with City of Austin and the Austin Community Design and Development Center aligns closely with the goals of the award-winning Alley Flat Initiative. This project will lead to a prototype for a Green Alley Flat in Austin impacting the entire Austin community.”