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The performance evaluation of a passive solar Visitors Information Center (VIC) has an actual yearly total energy use of 65,400 kwh (235,440 MJ) or, on a per unit floor areas basis, 12.5 kWh/ft2 yr (0.485 GJ/yr m2). This represents a 69% reduction in total energy consumption compared to a similar nonsolar building designed under the same energy conservation building code. The actual performance of the VIC is within 13% of the simulated performance used during the design phase. Passive systems are integrated with a complex set of energy flow controls and HVAC backup systems. Occupants are provided with multiple comfort options including task-oriented comfort systems.

The findings associated with this project suggest a new use of passive solar techniques to create a thermal cocoon for thermally sensitive spaces. In addition, results of the evaluation indicate that the occupant can significantly diminish the impact of energy conservation and passive solar benefits. The VIC experience indicates that occupant behavior can increase/decrease energy consumption by 30%.

Units: Dual