Conclusions

Interviews with the occupants show that they are, in general, very satisfied. They especially appreciate the indoor air quality and the good ventilation. The technical systems are very easy to understand and manage (Boström et al, 2003; Ruud and Lundin, 2004).

The occupants have decided to keep their houses warmer than is common in traditionally heated houses at approximately 23°C during wintertime. The reason for this is not clear. In the case of the end units, some extra heating may be needed since the heat recovery of the ventilation was less than expected and the windows have a higher U-value than planned. Extra heating may be required if a higher indoor temperature is preferred and only a small household is living in the end unit.

The ventilation heat exchanger should be improved. The control system has not performed as expected during the monitoring period. The function of the defrosting system could also be enhanced.

The efficiency of the solar DHW system was only 37 per cent, instead of the expected 50 per cent. This is partially explained by the higher than planned heat losses from the storage tank. The tank was poorly insulated and larger than needed for the installed DHW system.

More household electricity is used than was expected. The occupants have more electrical appliances than assumed and these are less energy efficient than was anticipated.

The building costs are somewhat higher than the costs for a conventional house; but the payback time is very short. When these houses are mass produced, the costs will be the same or even lower than for conventional houses because they do not need a traditional heating system.

The design process was carried out in collaboration with the client, builder, architect, consultants and researchers. A series of seminars with different themes (for example, on windows, construction, ventilation systems and summer comfort) was attended by all of the parties involved. In this way, different alternatives were discussed and everyone was informed about final decisions and the reasoning behind them. During the construction phase, the architect Hans Eek visited the building site several times to explain the importance of air tightness and how to ensure correct construction. The houses have proved to be a good way of demonstrating that it is possible to plan affordable housing which requires very little energy and provides high comfort. They have inspired further developments of new high-performance housing in Sweden.

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