Dispatches from the ASHRAE Buildings XV Conference

Last week, I (Deltec’s Sustainability Manager) had the rare opportunity not only to attend, but to present a case study on Deltec Homes’ panelized building system at the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Buildings XV conference.  Titled “Zero Energy Ready Out of the Box,” I presented a paper co-authored Terri Gilbrilde of Pacific Northwest National Labs, who manages the DOE Building America Solutions Center and supports the DOE ZER (Zero Energy Ready Home) Program, and Kevin Broyzna, CEO of Insight Homes in Delaware, about the energy performance of panelized homes. 

A key thesis of Terri’s work when analyzing the performance of Zero Energy Ready Homes, is that many of their participants who use pre-fabricated construction, such as SIPS, modular, or panelized processes, achieve equal and often better energy performance compared to fully site built homes.  This benefit is seen in lower average HERS scores and better air-tightness.

A sneak peak at some data presented at ASRHAE, courtesy PNNL and DOE ZERH.  Deltec’s system is a panelized system, which, like modular and SIP construction, two other types of construction that use components of the home that are pre-fabricated in a factory, has shown a lower average HERS score, air tightness score (ACH50), and higher estimated energy cost savings among participating projects of this construction type in the DOE ZERH program, than the average of ALL DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes across all construction types. 

ASHRAE was founded in 1958 as a society for academics and engineers who work in the heating, cooling, and refrigeration industry, or related fields.  They have been holding their topical “Buildings” conference, where academic research is presented on topics related to the energy use, thermal comfort, resilience, and environmental sustainability of the built environment, every 3 years since 1977. 

It was great to meet folks all across the engineering industry who are tackling the challenges of energy in the built environment.  While there, I attended talks about moisture monitoring in spray foamed roof decks in the southeast, building residence during extreme heat waves, advanced thermal storage, grid-interactive homes, thin triple pane windows, and more.  And got to have a tiny bit of fun in the Clearwater, FL Sun!