RDH Building Science
    RDH Building Science

A study was performed to understand the energy consumption in low-rise wood-frame multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) and townhouse buildings in southwest British Columbia. Low-rise MURBs are an important building type as they make up a growing proportion of housing stock in cities across North America.

Through this study, energy data was collected from electricity and gas utilities for 20 low-rise buildings (four storeys and less) and three townhouse complexes. This data was calendarized and weather normalized to determine average annual and monthly energy consumption for analysis and comparison. Two buildings were chosen from the data set for detailed analysis, one low-rise (four-storey) and one townhouse complex. The buildings were selected based on characteristics typical of low-rise MURBs in southwest BC. The purpose of the detailed analysis was to assess opportunities to improve the energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in existing low-rise MURBs using whole building energy modelling.

This paper details the energy consumption trends observed through the data analysis, and the energy modelling results of the buildings chosen for detailed study. These results are also compared to results from a similar study which evaluated the energy use in mid- to high-rise non-combustible MURBs. The work presented here will improve our understanding of energy consumption in low-rise MURBs, and characterize opportunities for energy savings in these buildings.

Presented at the 15th Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology.

View slides here.

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