The Woods is a 30-home, high- performance, energy efficient sustainable community built by Habitat for Humanity (HFH). With support from Tacoma Public Utilities, Washington State University (part of the Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction) is researching the energy performance of these homes and the ductless heat pumps (DHP) they employ. This project provides Building America with an opportunity to: 

  • Field test HVAC equipment, ventilation system air flows, building envelope tightness, lighting, appliance, and other input data that are required for preliminary Building Energy Optimization (BEopt™) modeling and ENERGY STAR® field verification;
  • Evaluate cost data from HFH and other sources related to building-efficiency measures that focus on the DHP/hybrid heating system and heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system;
  • Evaluate the thermal performance and cost benefit of DHP/hybrid heating systems in these homes from the perspective of homeowners;
  • Compare the space heating energy consumption of a DHP/electric resistance (ER) hybrid heating system to that of a traditional zonal ER heating system;
  • Conduct weekly "flip-flop tests" to compare space heating, temperature, and relative humidity in ER zonal heating mode to DHP/ER mode.