Modern residential building energy codes provide a component tradeoff mechanism by which builders can trade reductions in the efficiency of some building components in trade for corresponding improvement in other components. One common tradeoff approach is based on maintaining a building "UA value," which represents the building envelope's overall thermal conductance. The building UA is the sum of individual component UA values, each of which is calculated as the product of the component's U-factor and area. Current codes, however, provide little guidance on including slab-on-grade components in the overall UA calculation. This brief provides information on calculating effective slab UA values and provides recommended text for building codes.
This technical brief investigates potential clarifying text to be added to residential energy codes to make component tradeoff calculations involving slab-on-grade insulation easier for code users.