Date of Award
Construction Science and Management
A case study was performed on a high-performance home from August 2020 through January 2021 to determine the effect of homeowner behavior on the energy consumption of the home. Overall, there is a significant lack of research into the intersection of human behavior and high-performance homes, and this study aims to provide an additional set of data to further industry knowledge in this crucial area. The builder was consulted to aid in the creation of an accurate energy model using the BEOpt software, and his guidance to the occupants was incorporated into an expected set of behaviors. The timeframe was intended to allow the greatest deviation in occupant behavior, as the shoulder months of the spring and fall are when temperature fluctuations may lead to occupants opening windows or using HVAC systems in a manner contrary to the builder’s expectations. A whole-home energy monitor and smart thermostat were used to gather data, and the occupants provided survey responses throughout the study detailing their behavior. The final analysis compared the predicted to the actual energy usage, finding that the model predicted the overall electrical use of the house to within 0.12%. However, further analysis of the data revealed unexpected behaviors and home conditions. The occupants generally did not conform to the builder’s expectations of behavior, choosing to use their HVAC systems instead of opening windows, and noted a dissatisfaction with the lack of air movement options within the home. They did not conform to either the builder’s thermostat guidance or the expectations set out in the BEOpt program. Oftentimes, they opened windows and operated the HVAC systems at the same time. The home was significantly leakier than expected, giving a 4ACH50 rating when the builder predicted it was at 0.3ACH50. The results were provided back to the builder so that he can incorporate the results into his future guidance to occupants and future construction methods.
Beates, Lindsey A., "The Effect of Homeowner Behavior on Energy-Efficiency in a High-Performance Home" (2021). All Theses. 3525.