22 May 2008

FIELD EXPERIENCE WITH GROUND-SOURCE HEAT PUMPS IN AFFORDABLE LOW ENERGY HOUSING


The tangible end-user benefits of low energy housing are needed most at the
entry level, where high energy costs can be least afforded. Yet, this sector also provides the
greatest challenge in managing the associated construction cost increase. Lasting structural
and behavioral changes in the marketplace are required to overcome the barriers created by
an over-emphasis on first cost. A large-scale demonstration was initiated with just such a
goal. This affordable housing project utilizes ground-source heat pumps, low energy
construction techniques, and in some cases, on-site solar electricity production to reduce
energy consumption by 60-80% from current practice. This paper discusses the creation,
goals and funding of the project, reviews the energy reduction measures employed, and
presents the estimated and actual results in terms of energy consumption, carbon
emissions, and economics.