Students design home for zero energy building contest
How’s this for energy efficient: A three-bedroom house with an HVAC system so effective, it would only cost $282 a year to heat and $38 to cool.
That was the winning entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition.
Students from the University of Minnesota consulted with officials from HVAC market manufacturer Unico Inc. on the design, which energy modeling demonstrated with solar power would qualify it as a zero-energy building.
The home’s HVAC system used Unico’s high-velocity forced-air system with 2-inch diameter, flexible, insulated ductwork to avoid heating or cooling wasted areas such as attics. Its air conditioner removes 30 percent more humidity, allowing homeowners to be comfortable at higher temperatures.
The Unico equipment used software and motors that ensures even household temperatures and tied into Unico’s high-seasonal energy efficiency ratio-rated iSeries heat pump.
Shawn Intagliata, Unico’s director of sustainable business development, said it was a special project.
“We are impressed with the university team members who were involved in this year’s competition, and we were honored to work with them on their zero-energy-ready home,” Intagliata said. “The biggest energy expenditure in a home tends to be for heating and air conditioning, so specifying a high-efficiency system is important in designing a home with the lowest possible energy usage and costs.”