Risk Assessment of Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Strategies in Low-Load Homes

Stacey Rothgeb, Andrew Poerschke, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Modern, energy efficient homes conforming to the Zero Energy Ready Home standard face the challenge of meeting high customer expectations for comfort. Traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) sizing and control strategies may be insufficient to adequately condition each zone due to unique load patterns in each room caused by a number of factors. These factors include solar heat gains, occupant-related gains, and gains associated with appliances and electronics. Because of shrinking shell loads, these intermittent factors are having an increasingly significant impact on the thermal load in each zone. Consequently, occupant comfort can be compromised. To evaluate the impact of climate and house geometry, as well as HVAC system and control strategies on comfort conditions, IBACOS analyzed the results of 99 TRNSYS multiple-zone simulations. The results of this analysis indicate that for simple-geometry and single-story plans, a single zone and thermostat can adequately condition the entire house. Demanding house geometry and houses with multiple stories require the consideration of multiple thermostats and multiple zones.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages41
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by IBACOS, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-64630

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4711


  • Building America
  • design
  • furnaces
  • heat pumps
  • heating
  • HVAC
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • solar


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