This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 26, 2003

Conferences on Residential Energy Efficiency Begin

The Affordable Comfort Conference, an annual training event for building professionals on technical aspects of how to remodel, repair, build, and diagnose homes, will take place March 31-April 5 in Kansas City, MO. Affordable Comfort, based in Waynesburg, PA, organizes trainings and conferences on construction, remodeling, repair, and operation. The annual conference targets builders, contractors, policy makers, and affordable housing and weatherization professionals. This year's conference also offers several free sessions for homeowners and consumers on reducing high energy bills and increasing comfort and health in the home For descriptions of consumer workshops in Spanish and English and for more details on the conference, see the Affordable Comfort Web site.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center's fifth annual Green Building Conference will take place March 30-April 1 at the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, MD. The conference focuses on resource-efficient design, construction, and operation of homes, and claims to be the only national green building conference that targets the mainstream residential building industry. Educational sessions will cover energy efficiency, smart growth, innovative building technologies, indoor air quality, sustainable site design, and trends in green building.

The NAHB Research Center is a not-for-profit subsidiary of NAHB. NAHB has 190,000 members, including 50,000 builders who build more than 80 percent of American homes. The Research Center conducts research, analysis, and demonstration programs in all areas relating to home building. The conference hopes to reach remodelers, engineers, developers and planners, architects, manufacturers, local officials, and trade contractors. For more information on the conference, visit the NAHB Research Center Web site.

For an example of research the NAHB research center conducts, see its recently released report comparing the performance of residential water heaters. In conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NAHB researchers tested the performance of electric storage tank and demand, or tankless, water heaters in two types of plumbing distribution systems in a high water-use home and in a low water-use home. (Tankless water heaters heat water on demand rather than maintaining heated water in a storage tank.)

The researchers used the Transient Energy System Simulation Tool (TRNSYS) to develop a simulation model to estimate energy consumption for each system as well as simulate other system designs. The study suggests optimal combinations for energy efficiency, and preliminary analyses showed the potential for significant energy savings based on a combination of demand water heaters and parallel piping configurations. See the summary and the complete study on NAHB's Web site.