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Lessons 1: House Size

Families with multiple children may need a larger house than a smaller family. But how does house size affect energy efficiency?

Doing the science

  1. Start the Sunny Shelter Simulation by clicking on the "Sim" tab.
  2. Make the following selections:
    • House Size: Small
    • Sheltering: Not Earth Sheltered
    • Window Direction: North Facing
    • Window Size: Small
    • Window Tint: Absent
    • Thermal Mass: Low
    • Material R-value: 10
    • Season: Summer
  3. Click on the Design House Now button.
  4. The Energy Usage Thermometer is to the right of the image. Record the value in Table 1 below.
  5. Click the Design Menu button to return to the main screen.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 only changing House Size to Medium and Large until your table is completed.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 only changing Season to Winter.

Table 1.

House Size




Summer Energy Reading

Winter Energy Reading

Do You Understand?

  1. Did the amount of energy used change when you changed only the size of the house?

  2. A lower energy reading means more efficiency. Looking at your results in Table 1, infer the most likely reason that house size affects energy usage.

  3. Was there a relationship between house size, season, and energy use? If so, discuss the relationship.