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Least-Construction-Cost Approaches for New Housing to Achieve Higher Energy-Efficiency Requirements of Building Codes Open Access


Other title
Building codes
Residential energy
Least-cost solutions
Low-energy homes
Energy efficiency economics
Building envelope
Alberta Building Code
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Dias Ferreira, Regina Celi
Supervisor and department
Al-Hussein, Mohamed (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Chen, Yuxiang (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Chui, Ying Hei (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Construction Engineering and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-06:Spring 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
Effective November 1, 2016, new homes constructed in Alberta, Canada, are required to comply with “Section 9.36: Energy-Efficiency Requirements” of the Alberta Building Code (ABC) 2014. This section introduces ~57% stricter energy requirements for building envelope than the previous code; therefore, it is important to investigate its implications on current housing construction practices and energy performance, and to develop a methodology for selecting cost-effective approaches for code compliance. In this context, this thesis investigates the mentioned code and codes from other countries in cold-climate regions, identifies the current common practices, develops least-construction-cost approaches to meet the code’s energy requirements, and assess the lifecycle economic performance of a code-compliant house. Three approaches for code compliance are developed in this thesis: (1) least-construction-cost upgrades for building envelope (attic ceiling, above- and below-grade walls, and windows) meeting code-specified thermal insulation values specified in the prescriptive path of the code; (2) carry out approach (1) with energy-efficient tankless domestic hot water system and optimal window sizing for less lifecycle operation cost; and (3) least-construction-cost upgrade for the performance path of the code. To perform this assessment, a 30-year lifecycle analysis is conducted using HOT2000 simulations to estimate the energy performance and operation cost of a home Edmonton. By deploying approach (1), a reduction of ~12% on energy consumption is achieved with a return on investment (ROI) of ~ −3.44%. By applying approach (2), a reduction of energy consumption of ~27% is obtained with an ROI of ~68.08%. Alternatively, in approach (3), a reduction of energy consumption of ~10% with an ROI of ~527.21% is achieved. By applying the methodology developed in this research, least-construction-cost code-compliant upgrades are easily identified for other climatic conditions and Canadian locations.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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