Describes a new starter home designed to be climate-specifically energy efficient for the suburbs of Houston, Texas, USA. The home is intended to demonstrate energy efficient building strategies for a hot-humid climate, but at a minimum cost increase over the builder's current product. The many energy efficient technologies incorporated into the design proved that they allow builders to offer better homes at almost no added cost. The energy efficient features included: high performance double glazed windows with vinyl clad wood frames, allowing downsized HVAC system; 14 inch-deep engineered joists in an engineered-wood floor, providing space for ductwork in conditioned space, saving material and producing a stronger floor; air handler and ducts of the HVAC system located within the conditioned space, so the system was not affected by temperature changes in the attic, and minimising leakage effects; a 3-ton, 12 SEER air handler, the higher cost offset by downsizing; front-back mechanical system zoning, leading to better load matching capabilities in reference to home orientation; wall framing with an optimal value engineered 2x4, 24 in. OC, 2 stud corners, no headers at nonload-bearing openings, saving material, giving better whole-wall R-value and direct load path for higher strength; and prefabricated roof trusses, for better material utilization, faster assembly and eliminating interior load bearing.
Cost effective efficiency in Houston.
USA, Home Energy, November/December 2001, pp 10-12, 2 tabs.