Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Environmental Science

Thesis Advisor

Paul Crovella

Abstract

Heating residential buildings is a major expense to homeowners in cold climates and a contributor to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions due to the high percentage of homes heated by fossil fuels. Both heating demand and cost can be minimized using energy conservation measures, but optimal levels of such measures depend on current building characteristics. Using data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, the average existing building characteristics of New York State single family detached residential buildings were found for houses heated by natural gas and houses heated with fuel oil. Using Building Energy Optimization software (BEopt), created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the energy performance of these buildings as well as the pricing for performing several energy conservation measures were modeled. Simulation energy demand was compared with the survey values for validation analysis. Results showed that out of the energy conservation options considered, the most effective methods of decreasing energy costs in both model houses were through infiltration reduction, basement insulation, and ceiling insulation, though the ceiling option could be taken to a further level in the oil fueled house. Maximizing cost savings from energy retrofitting translated into an energy savings of around 40% for each house and a conservative thirty year net present value of $3,650 for the average natural gas fueled house and $5,030 for the average oil fueled house.

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