I know a lot about how the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) will perform once it's built because my computer told me all about it.
HOT2000 is a really useful - I would call it essential - free piece of software available from the Government of Canada.
Basically what you do is enter the walls of your house, including doors, windows, and other factors such as insulation value. Once the house's data is entered, you can run reports on how much energy the house will use. The cool thing is that, since it's Canadian software, there are weather data for all major Canadian cities, including Edmonton. So the program knows exactly what type of climate the MCNZH will be operating in.
The skeptics out there will no doubt question how accurate the program is. A 1999 study compared the simulated (by HOT2000) performance of 45 Canadian homes versus their actual energy consumption. "The average difference [between simulated and actual energy consumption ] for the entire sample was 16.1%". Hey, that's pretty good, especially when factors such as occupant behavior can vary so much.
I found running simulations on the MCNZH provided so much insight. Taking away one of the home's big south-facing windows, for example, costs about 400 kWh of energy per year. And, adding concrete floors to complement the huge windows decreases energy needs by about 1000 kWh per year.
If you know your way around a computer, you can learn how to use HOT2000. I've attached the MCNZH HOT 2000 (.HSE) file to use as a template. Also, one tougher part is how to enter really advanced windows into the program - there are some built-in values, but if you're building an eco-house you'll want the best windows that money can buy. I've attached the ".cod" file. To import the codes, just choose "Editors -> Code Editor", and then open the ".cod" file.
Happy simulating! (cross posted at raisingspaces.com)
HOT2000 in action.
|RNZ final May30,07.cod||2.32 KB|