This directed project analyzes the cost and benefit relationship of incorporating passive solar heating and cooling designs into a national home builder’s standard house plan. The orientation, glazing area, glazing type, and solar shading features of the home are all analyzed. The goal of this directed project is to determine if passive solar can make an impact on energy costs for a national home builder’s standard house plan. The focus of the study is on one standard home plan and analyzing what impact passive solar design changes can have on annual heating and cooling energy consumption. The construction costs of the design changes are calculated along with the payback period. These changes are designed to be easily reproducible and able to be applied to other homes in the regional market. The results are a very straight forward analysis that shows builders, developers, and homeowners what effects passive solar can have on standard home plans. The ultimate goal is to overcome the current barriers that have prevented widespread adoption of passive solar and bring it to the forefront of design in the mainstream residential construction market. The study utilized the residential energy simulation program called RESFEN 5.0. RESFEN 5.0 was used to calculate the annual heating and cooling loads for the simulated test home. The program allowed for variations in glazing areas, orientation, window types, shading effects, and most importantly energy costs. The conclusions of the study will show if there are certain design strategies could help to reduce the residential energy consumption for a standard national builder’s home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Passive Solar

Date of this Version



Building Construction Management

Department Head

Mark Shaurette

Month of Graduation



Master of Science

Head of Graduate Program

Mark Shaurette

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Daphene Koch

Advisor 2

Mark Shaurette

Advisor 3

Kirk Alter