This investigation presents the thermal analysis of an experimental, low energy consuming home for low-income families, located in Puerto Rico, where the prevailing climate is hot and humid. The objective of this analysis is to aid in the design of energy efficient homes, which in turn will reduce energy consumption in the Island. This investigation compares the analysis of this experimental house, specifically designed for the tropics, to a similarly sized, conventionally built low-cost home. Different construction materials are evaluated in conjunction with the use of either natural ventilation or air conditioning. The impact of natural ventilation is analyzed, with results for the inside temperature and interior heat removal presented and compared. Additional energy saving strategies are evaluated, including solar thermal energy for domestic hot water production, daylighting and the use of energy efficient lights. The annual energy consumption of the proposed experimental home is calculated and compared with the energy consumption of the conventional house. The thermal load of the house is calculated through the use of mathematical simulations of the dynamic annual cooling load using well-known software such as Energy-Plus for a TMY for San Juan, Puerto Rico. Results for the inside temperature of the experimental house, the heat loss due to natural ventilation, the cooling load when air conditioning is used, and energy consumption are presented and compared with the conventional house. Results indicate that the experimental house is 30% more energy efficient when all the energy saving strategies are considered.

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