Project: Siegel House Case Study
a student from our class, examines
the sunspace in the Siegel House
Our study of the Siegel House occurred in six main parts.
- Planning in class before we went to Davis
- An exploratory tour of four candidate homes on the morning of our
visit to Village Homes
- An afternoon's study of the Siegel House where we took a careful
look around, interviewed the Siegels, and placed our sensors
- Discussing our preliminary findings
- Formulating hypotheses based on the work we'd done so far
- Analyzing our data and writing up this report
This page describes the first four parts of our investigation. The hypotheses
and analysis sections are presented on the following pages.
Planning for our Investigation
In the two weeks prior to visiting Village Homes, we devoted some class time to planning
our trip and our field studies. Professor Arens set the tone of the project by assigning
us a short time-schedule. He planned a 3 week monitoring period, and estimated that
analyzing the data and writing our reports would take another 3 weeks. This short time
schedule forced us to keep our investigations simple and manageable. It also is in keeping
with the Vital Signs emphasis on quick studies focusing on one or two issues, rather than
definitive, all-encompassing building investigations.
To that end, and because Davis is an hour's drive away from Berkeley, we decided to spend
only one day together as a group at Village Homes. We planned on visiting our candidate
houses on the morning of our field trip, then splitting up into groups and spending the
afternoon placing sensors in our houses and interviewing the residents. In one day we
would both perform our initial exploratory visits and get into the details of placing
sensors and interviewing occupants.
To keep our data collection and analysis simple, we planned on using only temperature
measurements to answer the hypotheses we would formulate. To acquire this data, we
borrowed 50 HOBO-XT Temperature Loggers
from Pacific Gas and Electric's Energy Center to
record temperature data in our houses.
Another tool we planned to use in analyzing our houses for this project was Energy-10.
It is a computer program that simulates the way buildings use energy. It was in final
testing at the time of this project and we wanted to use this project as an opportunity to
try out a new, easy-to-use energy modeling program as well as provide feedback to the
developers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
As part of our investigations, we were asked to find some way to test a hypothesis with
A Tour of Village Homes
investigators examine solar panels and
skylights on the roof of a house at Village Homes
We kicked-off the main part of our investigation with an all day field trip to Village
Homes on Saturday February 3, 1996. We spent the morning as planned; touring four houses,
getting a feel for their design and operation, and speaking with the owners of each. While
touring each house, as a group we identified issues that might be interesting to
investigate and discussed methods we might use to test our hypotheses.
An Afternoon's Study of the Siegel House
of our group in the
Siegel House living room
In the afternoon, we divided the class up into three groups, each assigned to one of the
houses from the morning tour.
In the Siegel House group, the main question that interested us was the efficacy of the
thermosiphon-loop passive solar design. Other topics we decided might be interesting to
study included the development of a stack effect in the two-story living room, the range
of temperatures in the sunspace, and the effect of the thermal mass in the sunspace slab
floor and the rock-filled tubes.
We set our temperature sensors to collect data over a three week period, February 4
through February 25, 1996. Though we did not have specific hypotheses to guide us as we
placed the sensors, we tried to place them so as to give us a wide range of data for use
in testing our hypotheses. The following figure displays the locations of the sensors.
(Click on the image for a more detailed view.)
Plan of the Siegel House with sensor locations indicated
To give us some accurate site data, Professor Arens set up a weather station to collect
ambient temperature and insolation data outside on the south patio. The weather data we
collected had some flaws, but after some analysis and
transformations, we feel comfortable using it.
Though it did not occur on the day of the tour, this seems the best place to include one
last fact. One and a half weeks into the data collection period, Susan, one of our group
members, went to re-interview the Siegels with some detailed questions, and placed two
additional sensors in their house to help give us a more complete set of data.