Students build eco-friendly home with radiant floor heating

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 15:19

A group of students from Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico are working together to create a net-zero home for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. Commercial Appeal reported that the students are combining resources, time and energy to build a home that will hopefully take first prize in the ultimate of green solar-powered home competition. 
According to the news source, the contest is held every two years because of just how long and intense the concept and construction process is for one of these structures. Students' final works are judged on performance, affordability and livability. 
The home created by the team of students from ASU and UNM incorporated the use multiple energy-efficient technologies to reduce the strain on the solar panels and energy storage system. Commercial Appeal reported that the team used a combination of radiant floor heating and cooling system that uses water-filled capillaries above the plaster ceiling to boost the sustainability of the house.
"It's an effective system," said Alia Taqi, an ASU graduate student on the decathlon team, according to the news source. "It works really well in dry climates, and it's a little more costly than a traditional HVAC cooling system. But, in the long run, it uses almost 40 percent less energy." 
A radiant floor heating improves energy efficiency because it reduces heat loss and concentrates warmth on the ground level so that people can get the most out of it. A traditional system uses forced hot air to transport heated or cooled air to impact the temperature inside a space, which requires more energy and is less effective. A radiant floor heating system uses the power of conduction to bounce heat from the floor to air molecules in a consistent manner.