Designing and Analyzing Residential Passive Cooling and Energy Efficiency Strategies in Hawaii

Badgett, Eric Robert
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This project is designed to help develop a more climate appropriate residential architecture in the State of Hawai‘i. There is an opportunity and need to improve home design in Hawai‘i in order to maximize day lighting, provide natural thermal comfort all year, take advantage of the trade winds to cool the interior, keep the occupants comfortable without using mechanical systems such as air conditioning, and through all of these strategies, conserve electricity. The goals for this project are to research and design for the topics of passive solar cooling design, day lighting, thermal comfort and natural ventilation; and specifically how to use these strategies in the predominately cooling climate of Hawai‘i. The researched design strategies will be applied, then tested for effectiveness in the Hawaiian climate and, specifically, on the site chosen for the project. The design will then be analyzed and further modified to achieve the greatest potential energy efficient and naturally comfortable design. This project will become a useful published source as a case study for new or retrofitted projects in Hawai‘i. The project is aimed to provide homes for Hawai‘i that are affordable, attractive, comfortable, functional, healthy and environmentally friendly. The homes designed for this project will be at least 30% more energy efficient than required by Hawai‘i state energy codes, and provide at least 30% more natural light access than city code demands. These homes will bring a new standard of comfort and efficiency to Hawaiian homes. The first phase of this project is the research phase. The topics studied for this project include passive cooling techniques, daylighting, thermal comfort, natural ventilation, the macro and micro climatic data for Hawai‘i and effective building materials to help mitigate interior heat. This project will use what is learned from the research phase and apply it successfully into a new residential design strategy in Hawai‘i. The second phase of the project is the design phase. Computer models will be created for simulation and verification using the computer program Ecotect to test the designs. This will provide the most useful quantifiable data on the design’s effectiveness. The understanding about how different components are affected, either positively or negatively, will be shown through testing and re-testing many different design possibilities.
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