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The Long Term Thermal Behavior of Housing Constructed According to Improved Thermal Standards

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2004.IntThermSciSemin.130
pages 145-153

Ashley F. Emery
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195

C. J. Kippenhan
Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA


The space heating energy needed during the winter heating season in Seattle Washington, USA, was monitored over a 15 year period. Two of the single family residence houses were constructed to building code standards in force at the time of construction and two to standards calling for envelopes with improved thermal resistance. The data suggest that estimates of energy savings based upon envelope thermal resistance represent upper limits. Personal behavior of the occupants generally yields smaller improvements. For these houses the ratio of envelope resistance was approximately 1.5, yielding long term consumption ratios of approximately 1.4. Space heating is well characterized by the daily average difference between house average space temperature and outside air temperature. Characterizing in terms of indoor temperature, outdoor air temperature, wind speed, and insolation gives a slightly better representation but requires more information than is usually available. No correlation could be established when aggressive conservation made use of thermostat setback at every opportunity.

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