Energy efficiency of residential buildings in the US: Improvement potential beyond IECC

Golbazi M., Aktaş C. B.

BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT, vol.142, pp.278-287, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 142
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.06.029
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.278-287
  • Keywords: Building energy performance, Energy optimization, Thermal comfort, CFD simulation, IECC 2012, Passive design, MODEL-PREDICTIVE CONTROL, CLIMATE CONTROL, CONSUMPTION, COMFORT, INFORMATION, IMPACT
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is commonly used to improve building energy efficiency, and its multiple iterations have been adopted by numerous countries, as well as most states in the U.S. The study assesses the effects and energy saving potentials of multiple passive and active building design features for new residential construction by using a baseline model designed to mimic existing characteristics of residential buildings in the Northeast region of the U.S. The developed model was verified for the two commonly adopted iterations of IECC codes to attain realistic results, and to quantify potential energy savings calculated beyond those that are provided by the Code. CFD analysis was used to assess indoor temperature variation and air velocity, together with an assessment for occupant comfort. Results indicate annual overall energy savings of 114 kWh/m(2) in a detached single family home, which represents a 39% reduction in building total energy consumption in addition to and beyond the energy efficiency gains required by the 2012 IECC. CFD analysis results also indicate that occupant comfort is not compromised by techniques analyzed. For an individual residential building in the studied region, the energy savings over its lifetime would total 500 MWh. At the regional scale, should all new residential construction in the next 6 years in the cold climate region of the U.S. adopt the studied techniques, their cumulative savings would exceed energy generated in the U.S. from solar power in 2016.