Research Informs Net-Zero Energy Subtropical Residences

Research on net-zero energy residential building design in sub-tropical climates was recently published in the international, peer-reviewed journal Buildings.

The paper, “Going Beyond Code: Monitoring Disaggregated Energy and Modeling Detached Houses in Hawai‘i” is authored by Assistant Professor Wendy Meguro, Eileen Peppard, Stephen Meder, James Maskrey, and Riley Josephson. The authors and seven student researchers monitored and simulated the houses from 2017—2020 and collaborated across UH departments including the School of Architecture; Sea Grant College Program; Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI); Information and Computer Sciences; Electrical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; and Animal Sciences.

The research supports the State of Hawai‘i’s 100% renewable energy goal by 2045 by informing the the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), builders including Gentry Homes, the State Energy Office, and the Hawai‘i design community how current detached house design and construction practices could be modified to meet the newly adopted, more restrictive energy codes as well as the 100% renewable energy goals.

New monitored disaggregated energy, temperature, and humidity data is provided for detached homes on Oahu. Whole-building energy models are used to identify the most effective energy efficiency measures for lowest energy use or lowest cost, and demonstrate potential for net-zero site energy.

This research was conducted through the UH School of Architecture’s Environmental Research and Design Lab as well as the Hawaii Sea Grant Center for Smart Building and Community Design. The researchers sincerely thank HNEI for funding; Hawaii Sea Grant and School of Architecture for in-kind support; student researchers Kathryn Paradis; Dustin Chang; Shane Matsunaga; Ben Thrun; Aarthi Padmanabhan; Carlos Paradis; and Branden Annino; consultant SDC; DHHL; Gentry Homes; and the volunteer homeowners.

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