Development and Modeling of Reactive Building Systems: Climate and Illumination

EPA Grant Number: SU831852
Title: Development and Modeling of Reactive Building Systems: Climate and Illumination
Investigators: Baur, Stuart W. , Stone, Robert
Current Investigators: Baur, Stuart W. , Arnn, Allison
Institution: University of Missouri - Rolla
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Desirability barriers regarding the human comfort level still remain in the public acceptance of passive solar energy homes. The goal of this project is to model sensing climate control and illumination building systems as they apply to a zero-energy Midwest home. In developing models with these systems, we will show that a reactive design which first evaluates the real-time benefits of solar rays and then secondly supplements the areas needing change will improve the home's comfort level and reduce the overall amount of energy usage in the house. This research applies principles of passive and active solar design and will demonstrate that reactive building systems can make an alternative energy home more desirable than traditional housing. Interactive outside and indoor monitor will be installed on all sides of the house and in all rooms allowing for modeling of real time adjustments to the interior space with the intent to create a climate balance that reduce the amount of energy needed in attaining comfortable living conditions. These monitors will first take into account the solar heat impact on areas of the house and, secondly, supplement the areas of the house that need changes based on the defined comfort ideal for that space at that time. Lighting will be examined using a process similar to that of the climate system model. Natural light is monitored through sensors and supplemented by appropriate indoor lighting to attain a more comfortable lighting environment that modifies the illumination levels for the purposes of the particular space during a specific time of day or night. Making a passive solar home more comfortable would improve a person's living experience in the home. The improvement of the living experience would further assist in the desirability of homes with these reactive building systems and would increase the number of passive solar homes built. By using an example in the Midwest, an area not heavily marketing passive solar design, the improved comfort levels could open a new building market in this region. The obvious benefit to the planet would be the reduction in energy consumption with improvement in human living conditions. Modeling and implementing the results of these reactive building systems will enhance the livability of the solar home and will reduce the impact on the environment. The UMR Solar House team plans to install these sensors in the home that competed in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2002 and formerly serves as a passive solar energy research center in Rolla, Missouri. The reactive building systems modeled in this research will become part of the architectural engineering program and will also be used in the seminar series currently applied for through the Department of Natural Resources Build America grant.

Supplemental Keywords:

indoor air, innovative technology, engineering, modeling, monitoring, climate models, Midwest, building systems, building industry,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, waste reduction, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, reactive building systems, sustainable development, waste minimization, green design, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, alternative building technology, climate control and illumination building, pollution prevention design, solar energy, architecture, environmentally conscious design

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Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report