Effects of vegetation on the thermal performance of a residence in an arid environment

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/190933
Title:
Effects of vegetation on the thermal performance of a residence in an arid environment
Author:
Kliman, Susan Schaefer,1963-
Issue Date:
2001
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The objectives of the study were to examine and quantify the relationship between vegetation and the thermal performance of residences in a hot arid environment. Also explored were structural and human influences on residential energy consumption. A primary goal was to determine how much energy savings could be realized through strategic planting of vegetation. This study sought to validate previous simulation and modeling studies that documented annual savings of 2-11% on residential cooling loads. Also examined was whether shrubs and grass could provide a benefit similar to that of trees, assessing the importance of evapotranspiration versus shading. An empirical study was conducted using 105 existing homes in the metropolitan area of Tucson, Arizona. Data included construction type, amenities, living habits of occupants, and energy consumption for heating and cooling over a two-year period. These data were analyzed with a combination of bivariate and multivariate analyses to examine direct correlations between specific variables and energy consumption and the relative importance of each variable. These analyses were unable to document any measurable savings in summer cooling loads as a result of vegetation adjacent to the house, and the presence of trees actually increased the winter heating load by 2%. While trees provide important shading benefits, and can reduce the direct solar gain through the windows of a house, analysis demonstrated that structural and human factors were the most important aspects in residential energy consumption. The size of the house is of primary importance. Houses with evaporative cooling consumed significantly less energy than those with air conditioning. Thermostat settings and habits regarding thermostat operation were the most critical human factors. Occupants who adjusted their thermostats a few degrees cooler in winter and warmer in summer realized measurable savings. Occupants who turned their heating and cooling equipment off when they were not home used significantly less energy for heating and cooling. These factors far outweighed any impact from vegetation on annual energy consumption. While trees should not be considered as a primary means of reducing annual energy consumption, properly placed vegetation can provide aesthetic benefits and increase the thermal comfort of the occupants.
Type:
Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic); text
Keywords:
Hydrology.; Landscape architecture and energy conservation.; Architecture and climate.; Dwellings -- Energy conservation.
Degree Name:
Ph. D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Arid Lands Resources; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Comrie, Andrew C.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleEffects of vegetation on the thermal performance of a residence in an arid environmenten_US
dc.creatorKliman, Susan Schaefer,1963-en_US
dc.contributor.authorKliman, Susan Schaefer,1963-en_US
dc.date.issued2001en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe objectives of the study were to examine and quantify the relationship between vegetation and the thermal performance of residences in a hot arid environment. Also explored were structural and human influences on residential energy consumption. A primary goal was to determine how much energy savings could be realized through strategic planting of vegetation. This study sought to validate previous simulation and modeling studies that documented annual savings of 2-11% on residential cooling loads. Also examined was whether shrubs and grass could provide a benefit similar to that of trees, assessing the importance of evapotranspiration versus shading. An empirical study was conducted using 105 existing homes in the metropolitan area of Tucson, Arizona. Data included construction type, amenities, living habits of occupants, and energy consumption for heating and cooling over a two-year period. These data were analyzed with a combination of bivariate and multivariate analyses to examine direct correlations between specific variables and energy consumption and the relative importance of each variable. These analyses were unable to document any measurable savings in summer cooling loads as a result of vegetation adjacent to the house, and the presence of trees actually increased the winter heating load by 2%. While trees provide important shading benefits, and can reduce the direct solar gain through the windows of a house, analysis demonstrated that structural and human factors were the most important aspects in residential energy consumption. The size of the house is of primary importance. Houses with evaporative cooling consumed significantly less energy than those with air conditioning. Thermostat settings and habits regarding thermostat operation were the most critical human factors. Occupants who adjusted their thermostats a few degrees cooler in winter and warmer in summer realized measurable savings. Occupants who turned their heating and cooling equipment off when they were not home used significantly less energy for heating and cooling. These factors far outweighed any impact from vegetation on annual energy consumption. While trees should not be considered as a primary means of reducing annual energy consumption, properly placed vegetation can provide aesthetic benefits and increase the thermal comfort of the occupants.en_US
dc.description.notehydrology collectionen_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.subjectHydrology.en_US
dc.subjectLandscape architecture and energy conservation.en_US
dc.subjectArchitecture and climate.en_US
dc.subjectDwellings -- Energy conservation.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineArid Lands Resourcesen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairComrie, Andrew C.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberReeves, Richard W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMatter, Fred S.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBonine, Michaelen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWaldorf, Brigitteen_US
dc.identifier.oclc222303489en_US
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