Library: 1999, Environmental Energy Technologies Division Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Residential Fenestration Performance Analysis Using RESFEN 3.1

Date Published: February 1, 1999     Document Type: Report, Scoping study

This paper describes the development efforts of RESFEN 3.1, a PC-based computer program for calculating the heating and cooling energy performance and cost of residential fenestration systems. REFSEN Version 3.1 produces results based on actual hour-by-hour simulations. This approach has been facilitated by the exponential increase in the speed of personal computers in recent years. RESFEN 3.1 has the capability of analyzing the energy performance of windows in new residential buildings in 52 North American locations. The user describes the physical, thermal and optical properties of the windows in each orientation, solar heat gain reductions due to obstructions, overhangs, or shades, and the location of the house. The RESFEN program then models a prototypical house for that location and calculates the energy use of the house using the DOE-2 program. The user can vary the HVAC system, foundation type, and utility costs. Results are presented for the annual heating and cooling energy use, energy cost, and peak energy demand of the house, and the incremental energy use or peak demand attributable to the windows in each orientation. This paper describes the capabilities of RESFEN 3.1, its usefulness in analyzing the energy performance of residential windows and its development effort and gives insight into the structure of the computer program. It also discusses the rationale and benefits of the approach taken in RESFEN in combining a simple-to-use graphical front-end with a detailed hour-by-hour “simulation engine” to produce an energy analysis tool for the general public that is user-friendly yet highly accurate.