November, 2014


The Solar Decathlon, a biennial collegiate competition to design, build, and operate a solar-powered demonstration house, is scheduled to take place in October 2015, perhaps in Austin, Texas. This paper presents a thorough climate analysis to facilitate the initial design of a moderately sized, solar-powered home. Data and analyses were conducted using ClimateTool1 and includes climate extremes, degreedays, moisture gram-days, a psychrometric chart, wind roses, direct and diffuse solar radiation surface orientation data, as well as optimized fixed and movable inclination angles. Since the demonstration house will be repurposed after the
competition, this paper also considers the effects of global warming on building design. Using IPCC climate scenario data from Meteonorm, this research has shown that global climate change may not pose a significant challenge for buildings in Austin, TX and may in fact reduce the annual amount of mechanical heating and cooling.
Keywords: ClimateTool, Solar Decathlon, Austin, climate, climate change

ClimateTool Analysis for Austin, TX: Implications for the 2015 Solar Decathlon & Beyond
Joshua Lee

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