Improving energy efficiency and temperature control in a passive-solar housing development

Victor Martinez, University of Texas at El Paso


Tierra Madre Community is a non-profit organization located in Sunland Park, NM. It is a model of creative energy-efficient construction alternatives consisting of 47 straw bale homes and a community center. This study will outline the steps taken towards the improvement of energy use and human comfort in the community of Tierra Madre. The first task was to collect utility data from residents. Electricity, Liquid Propane (LP) gas, and water bills were compiled into a database for further analysis. In addition, surveys were carried out among Tierra Madre residents to collect information regarding comfort, appliances, and lifestyle. Data collection was followed by monitoring of energy consumption in refrigerators. A refrigerator analysis tool was used to identify and later, replace refrigerators with a Savings to Investment Ratio (SIR) equal to or greater than 2. The temperature inside the homes was also recorded by means of a temperature logger to address problems concerning evaporative cooling performance. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Energy

Recommended Citation

Martinez, Victor, "Improving energy efficiency and temperature control in a passive-solar housing development" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAIEP10586.