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Case Studies

This library contains research reports produced by the Building America program and other building science resources used to support this Solution Center. The materials cover both new construction and existing homes. Use the search box and/or the filters to explore hundreds of residential building resources. Access to some references not produced by Building America may require purchase from the publisher. Documents are listed alphabetically. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: January, 2011

Case study describing a building project in the cold and very-cold climate zones.

Author(s): DOE
Organization(s): DOE
Publication Date: January, 2008
Case study describing a building project in the marine climate.
Author(s): DOE
Organization(s): DOE
Publication Date: January, 2008
Case study describing a building project in the mixed-humid climate zone.
Author(s): BSC
Organization(s): BSC
Publication Date: July, 2012

Case study of a Concord four-square home retrofitted by Building Science Corporation in Massachusetts.

Author(s): Hoeschele, Weitzel, Backman
Organization(s): ARBI
Publication Date: June, 2017

This project completed a modeling evaluation of a hybrid gas water heater that combines a reduced capacity tankless unit with a downsized storage tank. This product would meet a significant market need by providing a higher efficiency gas water heater solution for retrofit applications while maintaining compatibility with the half-inch gas...

Author(s): Hoeschele, Seitzler
Organization(s): ARBI
Publication Date: July, 2017

Heat pump water heaters offer a significant opportunity to improve water heating performance for the over 40% of U.S. households that heat domestic hot water using electric resistance storage water heaters. Numerous field studies have also been completed documenting performance in a variety of climates and applications. More recent evaluation...

Author(s): Colon, Martin
Organization(s): BA-PIRC
Publication Date: August, 2017

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has completed a fourth year-long evaluation on residential hot water heating systems in a laboratory environment (east central Florida, hot-humid climate). This report contains a summary of research activities regarding the evaluation of two residential electric heat pump water heaters (HPWHs), a solar...

Author(s): Colon, Martin
Organization(s): BA-PIRC
Publication Date: August, 2017

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has completed a fourth year-long evaluation on residential hot water heating systems in a laboratory environment (east central Florida, hot-humid climate). This report contains a summary of research activities regarding the evaluation of two residential electric heat pump water heaters (HPWHs), a solar...

Author(s): Schirber, Schoenbauer
Organization(s): NorthernSTAR
Publication Date: June, 2017

High performance water heaters are typically more time consuming and costly to install in retrofit applications, making high performance water heaters difficult to justify economically. However, recent advancements in high performance water heaters have targeted the retrofit market, simplifying installations and reducing costs. Four high...

Author(s): Mittereder, Poerschke
Organization(s): IBACOS
Publication Date: June, 2017

This case study presents a cold-climate project that examines an alternative approach to ground source heat pump (GSHP) ground loop design. The innovative ground loop design is an attempt to reduce the installed cost of the ground loop heat exchange portion of the system by containing the entire ground loop within the excavated location...

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: January, 2013

Tankless water heaters can deliver large quantities of hot water under changing load conditions and at a relatively constant temperature, like storage water heaters, but without suffering the standby loss (tank heat loss) of the storage water heaters.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL, IBACOS, BSC
Publication Date: January, 2013

This case study about a DOE Building America 2013 Top Innovation features a community-scale project in Tucson, AZ, where solar water heaters generated enough hot water per year to recoup the cost of the system within 4 to 6 years.The homes were built by Pulte with technical assistance from DOE Building America research partners...

Author(s): CARB, Maryland Energy Administration
Organization(s): DOE
Publication Date: August, 2006

Case study about Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity rehabilitation of five 2-story row houses into energy-efficient, affordable housing.

Author(s): BSC
Organization(s): BSC
Publication Date: June, 2009
Case study describing a building project in the mixed-humid climate zone.
Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in west Connecticut that scored HERS 39 without solar PV. The 3,000 ft2 two-story home has R-33 double-walls, R-72 flat roof with closed-cell foam and blown cellulose, an ERV, and LED lighting.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Exeter, Rhode Island, that scored HERS 43 without PV. This 2,000 ft2 custom home has a spray- foamed attic and walls, plus rigid foam sheathing, ducted mini-split heat pumps, and an HRV.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study about a Zero Energy Ready Home construction project in the marine climate.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Seattle, WA, that scored HERS 34 without PV. This 2,000 ft2 system home has R-45 double-stud walls, an unvented flat roof with 2 inches of spray foam plus 18 inches blown cellulose, R-42 XPS under slab, triple-pane windows, and a ductless mini-split heat pump.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready in Long Island, NY, that scored HERS 43 without PV. This 5,088 ft2 custom home has R-25 double-stud walls, a vaulted roof with R-40 blown cellulose, R-10 XPS under slab, a hydro air system with 91% efficient boiler for forced air and radiant floor heat, and 100% LED lights.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Herriman, UT, that scored HERS 40 without PV, -1 with PV. This 4,111 ft2 production home has R-23 advanced framed walls, and a vented attic with R-60 blown fiberglass.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: October, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Ithaca, NY, that scored HERS 50 without PV. These 1,160 ft2 affordable town houses have R-20 advance framed walls, R-52 blown cellulose in attic, radiant heat with 92.5 AFUE boiler, and triple-pane windows.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Ellenton FL that scored HERS 53 without PV, HERS 23 with PV. This 1,143 ft2 affordable home has R-23 ICF walls, a spray-foamed sealed attic, solar hot water, and a ducted mini-split heat pump.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Phoenix AZ that scored HERS 58 without PV or HERS 38 with PV. This 1,700 ft2 affordable home has R-21 framed walls, a sealed closed-cell spray foamed attic, an air-source heat pump with forced air, and a solar combo system that provides PV, hot water, and space heating.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study about a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Frederick MD that scored HERS 43 without PV, HERS 28 with PV. This 4,516 ft2 custom home comes standard with a geothermal heat pump, SIP walls, spray-foamed unvented roof, and ERV.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Libertyville IL that scored HERS 45 without PV. This 2,763 ft2 custom home has advanced framed walls with R-20 of open-cell spray foam, R-49 open-cell spray-foam sealed attic, an HRV, and a tankless water heater for hydro coil furnace with high-velocity, small-diameter ducts.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study about a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Devens MA that scored HERS 35 without PV or HERS -37 with PV. This 2,508 ft2 custom home has R-46 double-stud walls with open–cell spray foam, a vented attic with R-67 blown cellulose, plus R-10 rigid XPS under the slab, R-20 closed-cell spray foam on basement walls, triple-pane windows,...

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Devens MA that scored HERS 34 without PV or HERS -21 with PV. This 3,168 ft2 custom home has R-46 double-stud walls, a vented attic with R-67 blown cellulose, plus R-10 rigid XPS under the slab, R-20 closed-cell spray foam on basement walls, triple-pane windows, and mini-split ductless heat pumps....

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Downers Grove IL that scored HERS 35 without PV. This 3,600 ft2 custom home has advanced framed walls with R-23 dense-packed fiberglass plus R-13 rigid polyiso, a sealed attic with open-cell spray foam, a pier foundation, and 95% efficient gas furnace.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2013

Case study describing a 4,763 ft2 certified Passive House that achieved HERS 27 without PV through the construction of R-54 walls that use ICF plus fiberglass cavity insulation, an R-100 vented attic, extensive air sealing and flashing, triple-pane windows, ductless heat pumps, and solar hot water.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: April, 2014

Case study describing the first DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in Georgia that achieved a HERS score of 40 without PV and -10 with PV.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2014

Case study about a DOE 2014 Housing Innovation Award winner.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2014

Case study about a DOE 2014 Housing Innovation Award winner.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2014

The home is the builder’s first home certified to the Passive House Institute standard and their first certified to the high energy performance standards of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2014

Case study about a DOE 2014 Housing Innovation Award winner.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: October, 2014

Case study about a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in the hot-humid climate.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2014

Case study about a Zero Energy Ready Home construction project in the marine climate.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2017

Thrive Home Builders built this 2,780-ft2 townhome in Lone Tree, Colorado, to the high-performance requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Program. 

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: June, 2013

Case study about one of three deep energy renovations of occupied affordable homes.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2009

Case study describing a retrofit project in the mixed-humid climate zone.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: December, 2011

Case study about a whole-house, deep energy retrofit project in the marine climate.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: December, 2011

Case study about a deep energy renovation of a home in the marine climate.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: January, 2012

Case study about an energy efficient retrofit project in hot-humid climates.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: March, 2012

Case study describing a deep energy renovation of a home in Florida.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: March, 2011

Case study describing a retrofit project in the marine climate.

Author(s): PNNL
Organization(s): PNNL
Publication Date: September, 2009

Case study describing a retrofit project in the cold and very-cold climate zones.

Author(s): BSC
Organization(s): BSC
Publication Date: August, 2010

Case study describing a building project in the mixed-humid climate zone.

Author(s): BSC
Organization(s): BSC
Publication Date: February, 2009

Case study describing a building project in the mixed-humid climate zone.

Author(s): BSC
Organization(s): BSC
Publication Date: February, 2009

Case study describing a building project in the cold and very-cold climate zones.

Author(s): BSC
Organization(s): BSC
Publication Date: February, 2010

Case study describing a building project in the cold and very-cold climate zones.

Author(s): FSEC
Organization(s): FSEC
Publication Date: March, 2014

Case study about a new home construction project in Florida.

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