Sawmill House

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The Sawmill House

Annual Heat Budgeting Modeling Analysis

This section presents the results of a mathematical modeling analysis of the Sawmill House to develop a variation of parameters picture of the heat budget. The Sawmill House is a simple open space and passive solar augmented design with building parameters that are well defined. The model incorporates the parameters from the original construction, plus the actual measurements of temperatures in the living space over several years. The resulting projected annual propane use, except for heating domestic hot water, materially matches the actual fuel needs for the Sawmill House. The model includes an update from a subsequent door blower test a few years later after construction to reevaluate infitration.


The following are the results of mathematical investigations into varying the different building, climate and living parameters, one at a time, to obtain an overview of the impact on the annual heat budget.

These house modeling calculations are largely based on the following book -

The Passive Solar House
Using Solar Design to Heat and Cool your Home
Author: James Katchadorian
ISBN 0-930031-97-0
Publisher: Chelsea Green, 1997
This 210 page, 8 by 10 inch page, book provides detailed specifications for planning and designing a home which obtains much of its energy from passive solar heating. The details and support tables are presented for calculating how much solar gain can be expected for various design strategies.

Note that these results are unique for the Sawmill House and presented for information only. They use parameter values that range from realistic to extremes that may be impractible, uneconomical, have no regard to cost effectiveness, dangerous, or even illegal. Definitely consult with your architect/builder and building officials before applying any of these results to your building project.

Furthermore, these results are, in no way whatsoever, intended to criticize either the architects nor the builder.

For reference, an energy evaluation of the house reported a Heating Index rating of 3.0 BTU/DD/ft**2.

  • Boulder Green Building Guild;
          Boulder Green Building Journal
            Winter 2007 Journal issue
            Clean Mountain Living, by Larry Kinney

    Copyright ©2002, 2009 E. Stiltner.

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    Updated '3-Sep-2009,11:18:44'