Evaluation of the Impact of Slab Foundation Heat Transfer on Heating and Cooling in Florida

Stacey Rothgeb, D. Parker, J. Kono, R. Vieira, L. Gu, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Heat transfer to slab foundations has remained an area of building science with poor understanding over the last three decades of energy efficiency research. This is somewhat surprising since the area of floors in single family homes is generally equal to wall, or windows or attics which have been extensively evaluated. Research that has been done has focused in the impact of slab on grade foundations and insulation schemes on heat losses associated with heating in predominantly heating dominated climates. Slab on grade construction is very popular in cooling-dominated southern states where it accounts for 77% of new home floors according to U.S. Census data in 2014. There is a widespread conception that tile flooring, as opposed to carpet, makes for a cooler home interior in warm climates. Empirical research is needed as building energy simulations such as DOE-2 and EnergyPlus rely on simplified models to evaluate these influences. BA-PIRC performed experiments over an entire year from 2014-2015 in FSEC's Flexible Residential Test Facilities (FRTF) intended to assess for the first time 1) slab on grade influence in a cooling dominated climate, and 2) how the difference in a carpeted vs. uncarpeted building might influence heating and cooling. Two identical side by side residential buildings were evaluated, the East with pad and carpet and the west with a bare slab floor. A highly detailed grid of temperature measurements were taken on the slab surface at various locations as well as at depths of 1, 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 feet.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages50
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Building America - Partnership for Improved Residential Construction (BA-PIRC), Cocoa, Florida

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-65355

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4816


  • Building America
  • floor covering
  • ground coupling
  • ground temperatures
  • residential
  • Residential Buildings
  • slab heat transfer
  • space conditioning


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