how it works

monitoring data

The diagrams on the following pages describe the performance of the Mastin residence in Newport, Rhode Island during a 6-day period in January 1980. Brookhaven National Laboratory performed the monitoring under contract to the Department of Energy, Ralph Jones, project director.

During the entire period indicated, the sky was overcast resulting in no direct solar radiation. Winds ranged from 0 to 30 mph. Three bathroom sized (1500 watt) electric heaters were provided to supply a small amount of backup heating when interior temperatures dropped below 65 degrees. The heaters on the top two floors rarely ran during the day and ran about 50% of the time at night.

It is significant that the performance indicated was for a period with little or no solar gain. Although direct sunshine will raise the interior temperatures above those shown, solar gain is not required to maintain comfort during the worst winter weather. The principle source of heat to the air envelope during these periods is the heat from the ground below the house.

The question of thermal performance of Ekose'a Homes involves a large number of variables over which the homeowner has control. For example, in the case of the Mastin house, it could be explained that with four children living in this household, and three meals being cooked every day, a certain number of baths being taken every day, a certain amount of clothing being washed and dried periodically; the heat generated from these activities could easily amount to the quantity of backup heating that was actually consumed.

Furthermore, ignoring the possibility of additional occupants, it should be noted that the east and west walls are not incorporated into the thermal envelope. If the east and west walls were incorporated into the envelope, it would have more than a 4,000 BTU/hr effect on the heat loss during these conditions, especially where there are windows in both the east and west walls. It should also be noted that there is some single glazing on the inner envelope wall, and by changing to double glazing, or by using conventional lined draperies, the additional thermal advantages would cause an effect of providing some of the backup heat which was required during the monitoring period.

The point is simply that the potential exists for achieving a 100% efficient system if that is the goal and that there are a variety of ways to accomplish this end, only a few of which we have mentioned above.