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    UWMilwaukee and the Race to Zero

    By snatraj
    Apr 19, '16 3:11 PM EST

    A team of students from UW-Milwaukee (Jonathan Nelson, Laura Valdivia, Nasim Shareghi) and UW-Madison (Robert Schaffer, Jacob Moffat, Daniel Baker, Drew Dillmann, Nicholas Scharping) placed second in the U.S. Department of Energy's Race to Zero student design competition.

    Under the guidance of Prof. Mark Keane (UWMilwaukee) and Dr. Michael Cheadle (UW-Madison), Team Forward, named after Wisconsin’s state motto, participated in the Urban Single-Family Detached Housing category of the competition. The annual design challenge asks college students to develop sustainable homes so energy-efficient that renewable power can offset most or all of the annual energy consumption and is based on real-world scenarios, where builders develop high-performance homes or update existing designs.

    "Forward House", the team's entry, is located in Milwaukee, WI, in a neighborhood blighted by foreclosure in the 30th Street corridor. A return to a classic Wisconsin craftsman style with a Milwaukee flair will help reinvigorate the neighborhood while remaining true to its roots. The overarching goal is to provide an affordable home with a people-centered interior design that will deliver comfort and high-energy performance, reducing the cost of living for a first-time home owner.

    Community was an important part of the overall design and the mechanical systems team coupled with the architecture team collaborated to maintain the craftsman feel while optimizing performance.

    The goal of the HVAC system is to minimize upfront equipment cost without compromising performance. To this end, the domestic hot water system and cold weather heating have been integrated into one system with easy to install ductwork.

    The envelope was designed to be easy to install and to keep the harsh Wisconsin climate using high insulation values.

    Forward house has an average monthly utility bill of $51, with $24 composed of water and utility service charges. This can be attributed to the strong design which produced a HERS score of 36 without PV. With the addition of the PV system, the project achieved a HERS score of zero.

    The 8.2 kW PV system installed is capable of providing slightly under 11,000 kWh per year of energy production. This system was placed on the south-facing rooftops of both Forward House and the garage, at an inclination angle of 38 degrees, to coincide with Milwaukee’s vernacular while also optimizing energy production over the summer months. When determining the PV systems affordability metrics, the team utilized NREL’s system advisor model. Using input data specific to the location along with renewable energy rebates and incentives, the PV system is projected to have a reasonable payback period of slightly over 14 years.

    The hope is that the net-zero performance and efficiency of Forward House will provide not only comfort, but also more financial security to the occupant through reduced utility bills. The chosen location is similar to many of the vacant lots in the area, so the design strategies of Forward House should be able to extend beyond the bounds of the current lot and impact an even larger community.

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About this Blog

Each semester, SARUP turns into a beehive of creative activity, with the collective energy of students and faculty resulting in projects and presentations that excite and intrigue, as they generate enquiry into the disciplines of architecture and urban planning. This blog is an attempt to give a glimpse of our life.

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