398834 Rethinking the Traditional Wall- Thermodynamic and Hygrothermal Modeling of a Textile Wall Assembly Systems for Healthier Energy Efficient Structures

Monday, November 17, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Helen Bergstrom, Brown University, Providence, RI and Ryan Abendroth, Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

Techstyle Haus is a collaboration between Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany, that aimed to build a rapidly-deployed, net-energy-zero house for the 2014 European Solar Decathlon Competition completely out of textiles. Our goal is to design the first textile passive house, in order to explore new ways of sustainable design strategies and inspire others to innovate. Passive House is the world’s most rigorous energy efficiency standard for residential construction. Our design process used the fundamentals of thermodynamics and complex understanding and manipulation of construction material properties to achieve a new type of energy efficient construction design. We find that ultimately this construction system design process can be applied to create more efficient, comfortable, residential structures. 

Starting with architectural CAD models, we designed a system to break complex curved surface into a tessellated surface of planes that could be input into existing modeling software. This project employed WUFI-Passive, a program that combines a static energy balance model specific to passive house construction with a dynamic modeling software, the WUFI Plus engine.  This pair of WUFI products allows us to dynamically simulate the entire building for comfort and energy performance as well as hygrothermal analysis. Through an iterative process, working with architects, engineers, and the WUFI Passive software, Techstyle Haus evolved to its final design. Through the use of our thermodynamic project model, we were able to ensure thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and building assembly durability. Ultimately our prototype design uses approximately 90% less energy than the average American residence for maintaining comfort conditions.

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