America's Houses Are Growing Bigger

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University of Nebraska at Omaha Gets Federal Energy Technology Grant
In September, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the University of Nebraska at Omaha was one of 21 research projects selected to advance energy efficiency and fossil energy technologies.

The UNO project will design, implement and validate a prototype monitor that tracks occupancy and control indoor environment services in buildings. Emphasis of the research is on:

  • evaluating feasibility, performance and economics associated with occupancy detection and indoor environment control based on multiple distributed occupancy detectors;
  • developing new algorithms based on network analysis; and
  • developing a prototype-control system based on the first two phases.

The prototype will be field-tested in a private office, an open-plan office and a classroom. The grant from the U.S. Department of Energy totaled $321,440. The University will provide $107,340 in matching funds.

According to the National Association of Home Builders and the Census Bureau, houses in America are getting ever larger. In the past 100 years, typical homes have grown from 800 square feet to more than 2,300 in 2002, a near quadrupling.

In 1900, a standard home measured just 40 feet x 20 feet, and families were a lot larger then. Over the next five decades, the typical home only increased to 983 square feet. Just 20 years later, typical homes added 500 square feet more. The next 20 years — in 1990 — yet another 500 square feet had been added. A typical home in 1990 now totaled nearly 2,100 square feet.
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