Army

Energy use auditing with enhanced comparison model

Comparing the energy use of the tenants of various units in a group of buildings

Software & Information Technology Energy Environmental

The residential energy service network (RESNET) is a non-profit standards body that rates home energy efficiencies throughout the United States. Like the fuel efficiency rating for cars, RESNET issues a home energy rating score (HERS) so that builders, buyers, residents, and other interested parties can compare homes on an energy efficiency standard. While HERS takes into account all types of building materials, construction types, appliance ratings, and other determinants of efficiency, it fails to account for the behavior of the occupants. Just as the driver who speeds excessively or accelerates aggressively will get poor mileage, the resident of a home who leaves windows open and lights on will use more power.

The way that HERS is generated fails to incorporate meaningful energy usage data of the home’s residents. Also, as currently used, HERS does not allow comparing the energy use habits of the tenants of a structure, to the tenants of similar structures. Thus, there exists a need for an enhanced energy modeling method that allows for greater accuracy in the calculation of energy usage in a residence or similar structures and to compare the energy use habits of residents of similar structures.

To facilitate those comparisons an Army scientist has developed an enhanced energy modeling system that generates an accurate energy usage calculation. The system provides meaningful comparisons in the consumption habits of the occupants compared to the energy consumption of the occupants of similar structures.

The model starts with data collected from an energy audit and incorporates thermodynamic data, i.e., heat lost and gained by various characteristics of the building, read each hour over the course of a month. With this data, an energy factor for the individual structure is calculated and used to generate a weighted score measuring the energy use of the home’s occupants by multiplying the calculated energy factor for a particular month by the actual energy used by that particular structure for a particular month. The weighted score is an adjusted energy value that removes the inefficiency differences in the like structures.

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