Mechanical Floor Plan
In pursuing this aspiration, the team compared the
energy efficiency of mechanical system designed for
the spacecraft with that of an average American home
and found the former was more efficient by a factor
of 100. Seeing the discrepancy as an opportunity, the
engineers segued their mechanical system design
for usage in applications involving residential and
commercial structures in the private sector.
“We have a different way of designing the mechanical
systems and then putting that together with the
building envelope,” said Rue, specifically highlighting
Energy Wise’s proprietary software, which he coauthored.
In 1979, the team established Watt Count Energy
Systems, which was subsequently chartered by NASA
in 1981, the same year in which it engineered its
first home. The company later changed its name to
EnergyWise Structures in 1990.
A “Systems Approach” Philosophy
“The first computer program we developed came
out in the early 1980’s,” Rue said. “It was crude, but it
Energy Wise’s software, in constant evolution since
its inception, is utilized in part to address what Rue
and the company see as a fundamental fallacy in the
building industry: the significance of R-values.
EnergyWise’s history with NASA is fundamental
to the company’s particular take on the design of
As it transitioned into the private sector, EnergyWise
conducted research on heat transfer as it pertains to