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Comparison of U.S. and Swiss Homes and Lifestyles

[+] Author Affiliations
William J. Hutzel, Daphene C. Koch, Jason M. Kutch

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Rudolf Furter

HTA Lucerne, Horw, Switzerland

Paper No. ES2009-90136, pp. 253-260; 8 pages
  • ASME 2009 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the Heat Transfer and InterPACK09 Conferences
  • ASME 2009 3rd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Volume 2
  • San Francisco, California, USA, July 19–23, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4890-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3851-8
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


This case study compared U.S. and Swiss homes with the goal of identifying construction practices that are most beneficial in terms of energy efficiency and life cycle costs. The research was a collaboration between the Departments of Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) and Building Construction Management (BCM) at Purdue University and The Lucerne University of Applied Arts and Sciences (HTA Lucerne) in Switzerland. The first phase of this project compared U.S. and Swiss approaches to low energy residential buildings. Construction costs and annual energy consumption were estimated using homes with a similar size and layout, but with specific changes to one or more features that affect overall energy use. The results show that a Swiss-style low-energy home is not cost-effective for Indiana in the short term, but could become attractive after a relatively long (40+ year) period of home ownership. Recognizing that technology by itself will not minimize energy consumption, a second part of the project explored cultural norms that influence energy use. A survey of U.S. and Swiss college students was used to compare lifestyles and energy habits. It was found with a high level of confidence that Swiss students are more energy conscious than their U.S. counterparts.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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