Techno-economic assessment of solar technologies and integration strategies for the Canadian housing stock
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Energy security is probably one of the most challenging issues around the world. Therefore, the focus on methods of decreasing energy consumption and consequently its associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is intensified by policy decision makers. Residential buildings are one of the potential sectors that can reduce its energy consumption in various ways, such as: improving thermal characteristics of the building, using more energy efficient appliances and using renewable energy resources. Among these methods, integration of solar technologies to buildings provides one of the substantial opportunities for reducing energy consumption and the associated GHG emissions in Canada’s residential sector. Therefore, this research work was conducted to assess the impact of solar technologies and solar technology integration strategies on the end-use energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canadian residential sector by using a new state-of-the-art end-use energy and GHG emissions model of the Canadian residential housing stock. The new Canadian residential end-use energy and emissions model that is used in this project incorporates a 17,000 house database developed using the latest data available from the Energuide for Houses database, Statistics Canada housing surveys, and other available housing databases, and utilizes an advanced building energy simulation program as its simulation engine. A new neural network methodology is incorporated into the model to estimate the socio-economic and demographic dependencies of the energy consumption of discretionary end-uses such as appliances, lighting and domestic hot water, while a new approach is used to incorporate occupancy, appliance, lighting and domestic hot water load profiles into the model. A new method is used to calculate the GHG emissions from electricity consumption used in the residential sector based on the actual electrical generation fuel mix and the marginal fuel used in each province as a function of time of the year. Each solar technology is added to the eligible houses to examine the interrelated effects of integrated solar technologies and practices on the housing stock. The objective is to conduct realistic assessments of the cost effectiveness, energy savings and GHG emission reduction benefits of integrated solar technologies for the entire Canadian housing stock (CHS) as well as for different regions, house type, and fuel types. The integrated solar technologies and practices that are assessed include passive solar with added thermal storage and motorized blinds, solar DHW system, and photovoltaic electricity and heat generation systems. This project provides a comprehensive techno-economic and emissions assessment of integrated solar technologies and practices, and will be useful for developing national and regional policies and strategies related with integrating solar energy into the residential sector.