A vital part of the Inter House team’s success comes from the ability of the constructed house to have a zero net average annual energy usage. This means that the energy system including the solar panels, inverter, and battery must strategically provide enough energy to power the appliances, heat and cool the house, and provide all other energy needs without requiring support from the neighborhood power grid.

Because of this, simulations and energy analysis can not only verify that this critical task is possible but also advise in decisions during the planning phase. Most of our simulation work used the BEopt Energy Simulation Program version Data from this program’s simulations combined with energy analysis and building material costs allow us to provide a recommendation on the insulation, HVAC system, and solar array. Data also shows that the constructed house will have sufficient photovoltaic power to achieve a net-zero energy usage on an annual basis.

Modeled in the figure below, data on the annual production of solar energy and a breakdown of energy use is shown. A large amount of the solar power is used to heat water especially during the colder months. An interesting part of the competition is that the solar panels are also tasked with recharging an electric car battery as though it were being driven every day, which explains why the miscellaneous section is so large.


Taylor Wagner
Energy Simulations, Water Systems