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Research Highlight

ZEBRAlliance Research Project Shows Promising Results

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John Shonder of ORNL, Jeff Spitler of OSU, Simon Rees of De Montfort University and Dan Fisher of OSU, worked together on the ZEBRAlliance project's research and model development for the FHX.
Energy efficient ground-source heat pumps and energy efficiency are on the way to becoming affordable and increasingly more desirable options for residential use, thanks to new facts gained from a collaborative research project called ZEBRAlliance. Research has recently been completed on four Tennessee homes built with the goal of decreasing the cost of residential ground-source heat pump installation.

The project’s goal is to show consumers how affordable and appealing energy-efficient homes can be. Schaad Companies, co-founder of the alliance, built four homes, each equipped with different energy-saving strategies, in an Oak Ridge, Tenn., subdivision.

ZEBRAlliance, a public/private partnership, was formed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Schaad Companies in 2008. ORNL provided product management, technical expertise, industry partners and the research on the homes.

The project looked at the efficiency of two technologies: a foundation heat exchanger and a ground- source integrated heat pump. Other experiments were conducted in the homes, including the evaluation of four building envelope strategies: structurally insulated panels, optimal value framing, double wall system and exterior insulation and finish system.

Read more about this project in this article from Geo Outlook/IGSHPA Volume 10, Number 3.