Conceptual Design of Net Zero Energy Campus Residence

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Source

ASME 2005 International Solar Energy Conference


In response to both global and local challenges, the University of Dayton is committed to building a net-zero energy student residence, called the Eco-house. A unique aspect of the Eco-house is the degree of student involvement; in accordance with UD’s mission, interdisciplinary student teams from mechanical engineering, civil engineering and the humanities are leading the design effort. This paper discusses the conceptual design of a net-zero energy use campus residence, and the analysis completed thus far. Energy use of current student houses is analyzed to provide a baseline and to identify energy saving opportunities. The use of the whole-system inside-out approach to guide the overall design is described. Using the inside-out method as a guide, the energy impacts of occupant behavior, appliances and lights, building envelope, energy distribution systems and primary energy conversion equipment are discussed. The design of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic systems to meet the hot water and electricity requirements of the house is described. Ecohouse energy use is simulated and compared to the energy use of the existing houses.

The analysis shows the total source energy requirements of the Eco-house could be reduced by about 340 mmBtu per year over older baseline houses, resulting in CO2 emission reductions of about 54,000 lb per year and utility cost savings of about $3,000 per year. Detailed cost analysis and cost optimization have not been performed but are critical aspects of the UD Eco-house project, which will be performed in the future.

Inclusive pages





Permission documentation is on file.


American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Place of Publication

Orlando, FL