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Energy consumption in the use phase of residential housing: a case study of rammed earth and wood framed construction in the northern Colorado Front Range




Jensen, Kirk E., author
Guggemos, Angela Acree, advisor
Dunbar, Brian H., committee member
Glick, Scott A., committee member
Ore, Janet, committee member

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This study investigated rammed earth (RE) housing energy consumption compared to the traditional wood frame structure (SB) typically used in residential construction in the northern Colorado Front Range (NoCOFR). There has not been a great deal of study of rammed earth and the relationship of energy consumption. Therefore, similar studies using direct observations and others using artificial neural networks (ANN) and computer statistical simulations have been used for comparing the results of this study as a validation. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the energy consumption used by both RE & SB during the use phase of the structure. While total energy use is important, this study focused on heating and cooling measured by data gathered from participant utility records. The claims, by proponents of rammed earth housing are that the inhabitants can save between 30-50% on energy consumption. The results of this focused study indicate that the energy consumption comparison is inconclusive given the limited number of rammed earth homes in the study due to the regional focus. However, as a result of this study and the communications between the researcher and the participants, it is clear that most people do not understand how their home functions. This highlights a need for further studies into how to continually educate homeowners about home system construction and the impacts construction type has on efficient operation of heating and cooling systems.


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vernacular architecture
rammed earth


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