Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 26

Search results for: EnergyPlus

26 Performance of Neural Networks vs. Radial Basis Functions When Forming a Metamodel for Residential Buildings

Authors: Philip Symonds, Jon Taylor, Zaid Chalabi, Michael Davies


With the world climate projected to warm and major cities in developing countries becoming increasingly populated and polluted, governments are tasked with the problem of overheating and air quality in residential buildings. This paper presents the development of an adaptable model of these risks. Simulations are performed using the EnergyPlus building physics software. An accurate metamodel is formed by randomly sampling building input parameters and training on the outputs of EnergyPlus simulations. Metamodels are used to vastly reduce the amount of computation time required when performing optimisation and sensitivity analyses. Neural Networks (NNs) are compared to a Radial Basis Function (RBF) algorithm when forming a metamodel. These techniques were implemented using the PyBrain and scikit-learn python libraries, respectively. NNs are shown to perform around 15% better than RBFs when estimating overheating and air pollution metrics modelled by EnergyPlus.

Keywords: neural networks, radial basis functions, metamodelling, python machine learning libraries

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25 Dynamic Modeling of Energy Systems Adapted to Low Energy Buildings in Lebanon

Authors: Nadine Yehya, Chantal Maatouk


Low energy buildings have been developed to achieve global climate commitments in reducing energy consumption. They comprise energy efficient buildings, zero energy buildings, positive buildings and passive house buildings. The reduced energy demands in Low Energy buildings call for advanced building energy modeling that focuses on studying active building systems such as heating, cooling and ventilation, improvement of systems performances, and development of control systems. Modeling and building simulation have expanded to cover different modeling approach i.e.: detailed physical model, dynamic empirical models, and hybrid approaches, which are adopted by various simulation tools. This paper uses DesignBuilder with EnergyPlus simulation engine in order to; First, study the impact of efficiency measures on building energy behavior by comparing Low energy residential model to a conventional one in Beirut-Lebanon. Second, choose the appropriate energy systems for the studied case characterized by an important cooling demand. Third, study dynamic modeling of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system in EnergyPlus that is chosen due to its advantages over other systems and its availability in the Lebanese market. Finally, simulation of different energy systems models with different modeling approaches is necessary to confront the different modeling approaches and to investigate the interaction between energy systems and building envelope that affects the total energy consumption of Low Energy buildings.

Keywords: physical model, variable refrigerant flow heat pump, dynamic modeling, EnergyPlus, the modeling approach

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24 Study on Natural Light Distribution Inside the Room by Using Sudare as an Outside Horizontal Blind in Tropical Country of Indonesia

Authors: Agus Hariyadi, Hiroatsu Fukuda


In tropical country like Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, most of the energy consumption on building is for the cooling system, the second one is from lighting electric consumption. One of the passive design strategy that can be done is optimizing the use of natural light from the sun. In this area, natural light is always available almost every day around the year. Natural light have many effect on building. It can reduce the need of electrical lighting but also increase the external load. Another thing that have to be considered in the use of natural light is the visual comfort from occupant inside the room. To optimize the effectiveness of natural light need some modification of façade design. By using external shading device, it can minimize the external load that introduces into the room, especially from direct solar radiation which is the 80 % of the external energy load that introduces into the building. It also can control the distribution of natural light inside the room and minimize glare in the perimeter zone of the room. One of the horizontal blind that can be used for that purpose is Sudare. It is traditional Japanese blind that have been used long time in Japanese traditional house especially in summer. In its original function, Sudare is used to prevent direct solar radiation but still introducing natural ventilation. It has some physical characteristics that can be utilize to optimize the effectiveness of natural light. In this research, different scale of Sudare will be simulated using EnergyPlus and DAYSIM simulation software. EnergyPlus is a whole building energy simulation program to model both energy consumption—for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and plug and process loads—and water use in buildings, while DAYSIM is a validated, RADIANCE-based daylighting analysis software that models the annual amount of daylight in and around buildings. The modelling will be done in Ladybug and Honeybee plugin. These are two open source plugins for Grasshopper and Rhinoceros 3D that help explore and evaluate environmental performance which will directly be connected to EnergyPlus and DAYSIM engines. Using the same model will maintain the consistency of the same geometry used both in EnergyPlus and DAYSIM. The aims of this research is to find the best configuration of façade design which can reduce the external load from the outside of the building to minimize the need of energy for cooling system but maintain the natural light distribution inside the room to maximize the visual comfort for occupant and minimize the need of electrical energy consumption.

Keywords: façade, natural light, blind, energy

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23 Designing Energy Efficient Buildings for Seasonal Climates Using Machine Learning Techniques

Authors: Kishor T. Zingre, Seshadhri Srinivasan


Energy consumption by the building sector is increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world and leading to more building-related CO₂ emissions into the environment. In buildings, the main contributors to energy consumption are heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting, and electrical appliances. It is hypothesised that the energy efficiency in buildings can be achieved by implementing sustainable technologies such as i) enhancing the thermal resistance of fabric materials for reducing heat gain (in hotter climates) and heat loss (in colder climates), ii) enhancing daylight and lighting system, iii) HVAC system and iv) occupant localization. Energy performance of various sustainable technologies is highly dependent on climatic conditions. This paper investigated the use of machine learning techniques for accurate prediction of air-conditioning energy in seasonal climates. The data required to train the machine learning techniques is obtained using the computational simulations performed on a 3-story commercial building using EnergyPlus program plugged-in with OpenStudio and Google SketchUp. The EnergyPlus model was calibrated against experimental measurements of surface temperatures and heat flux prior to employing for the simulations. It has been observed from the simulations that the performance of sustainable fabric materials (for walls, roof, and windows) such as phase change materials, insulation, cool roof, etc. vary with the climate conditions. Various renewable technologies were also used for the building flat roofs in various climates to investigate the potential for electricity generation. It has been observed that the proposed technique overcomes the shortcomings of existing approaches, such as local linearization or over-simplifying assumptions. In addition, the proposed method can be used for real-time estimation of building air-conditioning energy.

Keywords: building energy efficiency, energyplus, machine learning techniques, seasonal climates

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22 Short-Term Operation Planning for Energy Management of Exhibition Hall

Authors: Yooncheol Lee, Jeongmin Kim, Kwang Ryel Ryu


This paper deals with the establishment of a short-term operational plan for an air conditioner for efficient energy management of exhibition hall. The short-term operational plan is composed of a time series of operational schedules, which we have searched using genetic algorithms. Establishing operational schedule should be considered the future trends of the variables affecting the exhibition hall environment. To reflect continuously changing factors such as external temperature and occupant, short-term operational plans should be updated in real time. But it takes too much time to evaluate a short-term operational plan using EnergyPlus, a building emulation tool. For that reason, it is difficult to update the operational plan in real time. To evaluate the short-term operational plan, we designed prediction models based on machine learning with fast evaluation speed. This model, which was created by learning the past operational data, is accurate and fast. The collection of operational data and the verification of operational plans were made using EnergyPlus. Experimental results show that the proposed method can save energy compared to the reactive control method.

Keywords: exhibition hall, energy management, predictive model, simulation-based optimization

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21 The Design and Implementation of a Calorimeter for Evaluation of the Thermal Performance of Materials: The Case of Phase Change Materials

Authors: Ebrahim Solgi, Zahra Hamedani, Behrouz Mohammad Kari, Ruwan Fernando, Henry Skates


The use of thermal energy storage (TES) as part of a passive design strategy can reduce a building’s energy demand. TES materials do this by increasing the lag between energy consumption and energy supply by absorbing, storing and releasing energy in a controlled manner. The increase of lightweight construction in the building industry has made it harder to utilize thermal mass. Consequently, Phase Change Materials (PCMs) are a promising alternative as they can be manufactured in thin layers and used with lightweight construction to store latent heat. This research investigates utilizing PCMs, with the first step being measuring their performance under experimental conditions. To do this requires three components. The first is a calorimeter for measuring indoor thermal conditions, the second is a pyranometer for recording the solar conditions: global, diffuse and direct radiation and the third is a data-logger for recording temperature and humidity for the studied period. This paper reports on the design and implementation of an experimental setup used to measure the thermal characteristics of PCMs as part of a wall construction. The experimental model has been simulated with the software EnergyPlus to create a reliable simulation model that warrants further investigation.

Keywords: phase change materials, EnergyPlus, experimental evaluation, night ventilation

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20 Analysis of Thermal Comfort in Educational Buildings Using Computer Simulation: A Case Study in Federal University of Parana, Brazil

Authors: Ana Julia C. Kfouri


A prerequisite of any building design is to provide security to the users, taking the climate and its physical and physical-geometrical variables into account. It is also important to highlight the relevance of the right material elements, which arise between the person and the agent, and must provide improved thermal comfort conditions and low environmental impact. Furthermore, technology is constantly advancing, as well as computational simulations for projects, and they should be used to develop sustainable building and to provide higher quality of life for its users. In relation to comfort, the more satisfied the building users are, the better their intellectual performance will be. Based on that, the study of thermal comfort in educational buildings is of relative relevance, since the thermal characteristics in these environments are of vital importance to all users. Moreover, educational buildings are large constructions and when they are poorly planned and executed they have negative impacts to the surrounding environment, as well as to the user satisfaction, throughout its whole life cycle. In this line of thought, to evaluate university classroom conditions, it was accomplished a detailed case study on the thermal comfort situation at Federal University of Parana (UFPR). The main goal of the study is to perform a thermal analysis in three classrooms at UFPR, in order to address the subjective and physical variables that influence thermal comfort inside the classroom. For the assessment of the subjective components, a questionnaire was applied in order to evaluate the reference for the local thermal conditions. Regarding the physical variables, it was carried out on-site measurements, which consist of performing measurements of air temperature and air humidity, both inside and outside the building, as well as meteorological variables, such as wind speed and direction, solar radiation and rainfall, collected from a weather station. Then, a computer simulation based on results from the EnergyPlus software to reproduce air temperature and air humidity values of the three classrooms studied was conducted. The EnergyPlus outputs were analyzed and compared with the on-site measurement results to be possible to come out with a conclusion related to the local thermal conditions. The methodological approach included in the study allowed a distinct perspective in an educational building to better understand the classroom thermal performance, as well as the reason of such behavior. Finally, the study induces a reflection about the importance of thermal comfort for educational buildings and propose thermal alternatives for future projects, as well as a discussion about the significant impact of using computer simulation on engineering solutions, in order to improve the thermal performance of UFPR’s buildings.

Keywords: computer simulation, educational buildings, EnergyPlus, humidity, temperature, thermal comfort

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19 Optimized Passive Heating for Multifamily Dwellings

Authors: Joseph Bostick


A method of decreasing the heating load of HVAC systems in a single-dwelling model of a multifamily building, by controlling movable insulation through the optimization of flux, time, surface incident solar radiation, and temperature thresholds. Simulations are completed using a co-simulation between EnergyPlus and MATLAB as an optimization tool to find optimal control thresholds. Optimization of the control thresholds leads to a significant decrease in total heating energy expenditure.

Keywords: energy plus, MATLAB, simulation, energy efficiency

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18 Use of Shipping Containers as Office Buildings in Brazil: Thermal and Energy Performance for Different Constructive Options and Climate Zones

Authors: Lucas Caldas, Pablo Paulse, Karla Hora


Shipping containers are present in different Brazilian cities, firstly used for transportation purposes, but which become waste materials and an environmental burden in their end-of-life cycle. In the last decade, in Brazil, some buildings made partly or totally from shipping containers started to appear, most of them for commercial and office uses. Although the use of a reused container for buildings seems a sustainable solution, it is very important to measure the thermal and energy aspects when they are used as such. In this context, this study aims to evaluate the thermal and energy performance of an office building totally made from a 12-meter-long, High Cube 40’ shipping container in different Brazilian Bioclimatic Zones. Four different constructive solutions, mostly used in Brazil were chosen: (1) container without any covering; (2) with internally insulated drywall; (3) with external fiber cement boards; (4) with both drywall and fiber cement boards. For this, the DesignBuilder with EnergyPlus was used for the computational simulation in 8760 hours. The EnergyPlus Weather File (EPW) data of six Brazilian capital cities were considered: Curitiba, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Campo Grande, Teresina and Rio de Janeiro. Air conditioning appliance (split) was adopted for the conditioned area and the cooling setpoint was fixed at 25°C. The coefficient of performance (CoP) of air conditioning equipment was set as 3.3. Three kinds of solar absorptances were verified: 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 of exterior layer. The building in Teresina presented the highest level of energy consumption, while the one in Curitiba presented the lowest, with a wide range of differences in results. The constructive option of external fiber cement and drywall presented the best results, although the differences were not significant compared to the solution using just drywall. The choice of absorptance showed a great impact in energy consumption, mainly compared to the case of containers without any covering and for use in the hottest cities: Teresina, Rio de Janeiro, and Campo Grande. This study brings as the main contribution the discussion of constructive aspects for design guidelines for more energy-efficient container buildings, considering local climate differences, and helps the dissemination of this cleaner constructive practice in the Brazilian building sector.

Keywords: bioclimatic zones, Brazil, shipping containers, thermal and energy performance

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17 Informed Urban Design: Minimizing Urban Heat Island Intensity via Stochastic Optimization

Authors: Luis Guilherme Resende Santos, Ido Nevat, Leslie Norford


The Urban Heat Island (UHI) is characterized by increased air temperatures in urban areas compared to undeveloped rural surrounding environments. With urbanization and densification, the intensity of UHI increases, bringing negative impacts on livability, health and economy. In order to reduce those effects, it is required to take into consideration design factors when planning future developments. Given design constraints such as population size and availability of area for development, non-trivial decisions regarding the buildings’ dimensions and their spatial distribution are required. We develop a framework for optimization of urban design in order to jointly minimize UHI intensity and buildings’ energy consumption. First, the design constraints are defined according to spatial and population limits in order to establish realistic boundaries that would be applicable in real life decisions. Second, the tools Urban Weather Generator (UWG) and EnergyPlus are used to generate outputs of UHI intensity and total buildings’ energy consumption, respectively. Those outputs are changed based on a set of variable inputs related to urban morphology aspects, such as building height, urban canyon width and population density. Lastly, an optimization problem is cast where the utility function quantifies the performance of each design candidate (e.g. minimizing a linear combination of UHI and energy consumption), and a set of constraints to be met is set. Solving this optimization problem is difficult, since there is no simple analytic form which represents the UWG and EnergyPlus models. We therefore cannot use any direct optimization techniques, but instead, develop an indirect “black box” optimization algorithm. To this end we develop a solution that is based on stochastic optimization method, known as the Cross Entropy method (CEM). The CEM translates the deterministic optimization problem into an associated stochastic optimization problem which is simple to solve analytically. We illustrate our model on a typical residential area in Singapore. Due to fast growth in population and built area and land availability generated by land reclamation, urban planning decisions are of the most importance for the country. Furthermore, the hot and humid climate in the country raises the concern for the impact of UHI. The problem presented is highly relevant to early urban design stages and the objective of such framework is to guide decision makers and assist them to include and evaluate urban microclimate and energy aspects in the process of urban planning.

Keywords: building energy consumption, stochastic optimization, urban design, urban heat island, urban weather generator

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16 Tuning of the Thermal Capacity of an Envelope for Peak Demand Reduction

Authors: Isha Rathore, Peeyush Jain, Elangovan Rajasekar


The thermal capacity of the envelope impacts the cooling and heating demand of a building and modulates the peak electricity demand. This paper presents the thermal capacity tuning of a building envelope to minimize peak electricity demand for space cooling. We consider a 40 m² residential testbed located in Hyderabad, India (Composite Climate). An EnergyPlus model is validated using real-time data. A Parametric simulation framework for thermal capacity tuning is created using the Honeybee plugin. Diffusivity, Thickness, layer position, orientation and fenestration size of the exterior envelope are parametrized considering a five-layered wall system. A total of 1824 parametric runs are performed and the optimum wall configuration leading to minimum peak cooling demand is presented.

Keywords: thermal capacity, tuning, peak demand reduction, parametric analysis

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15 Learning Predictive Models for Efficient Energy Management of Exhibition Hall

Authors: Jeongmin Kim, Eunju Lee, Kwang Ryel Ryu


This paper addresses the problem of predictive control for energy management of large-scaled exhibition halls, where a lot of energy is consumed to maintain internal atmosphere under certain required conditions. Predictive control achieves better energy efficiency by optimizing the operation of air-conditioning facilities with not only the current but also some future status taken into account. In this paper, we propose to use predictive models learned from past sensor data of hall environment, for use in optimizing the operating plan for the air-conditioning facilities by simulating future environmental change. We have implemented an emulator of an exhibition hall by using EnergyPlus, a widely used building energy emulation tool, to collect data for learning environment-change models. Experimental results show that the learned models predict future change highly accurately on a short-term basis.

Keywords: predictive control, energy management, machine learning, optimization

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14 Energy Efficient Shading Strategies for Windows of Hospital ICUs in the Desert

Authors: A. Sherif, A. El Zafarany, R. Arafa


Hospitals, everywhere, are considered heavy energy consumers. Hospital Intensive Care Unit spaces pose a special challenge, where design guidelines requires the provision of external windows for day-lighting and external view. Window protection strategies could be employed to reduce energy loads without detriment effect on comfort or health care. This paper addresses the effectiveness of using various window strategies on the annual cooling, heating and lighting energy use of a typical Hospital Intensive Unit space. Series of experiments were performed using the EnergyPlus simulation software for a typical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) space in Cairo, located in the Egyptian desert. This study concluded that the use of shading systems is more effective in conserving energy in comparison with glazing of different types, in the Cairo ICUs. The highest energy savings in the West and South orientations were accomplished by external perforated solar screens, followed by overhangs positioned at a protection angle of 45°.

Keywords: energy, hospital, intensive care units, shading

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13 Geometric Simplification Method of Building Energy Model Based on Building Performance Simulation

Authors: Yan Lyu, Yiqun Pan, Zhizhong Huang


In the design stage of a new building, the energy model of this building is often required for the analysis of the performance on energy efficiency. In practice, a certain degree of geometric simplification should be done in the establishment of building energy models, since the detailed geometric features of a real building are hard to be described perfectly in most energy simulation engine, such as ESP-r, eQuest or EnergyPlus. Actually, the detailed description is not necessary when the result with extremely high accuracy is not demanded. Therefore, this paper analyzed the relationship between the error of the simulation result from building energy models and the geometric simplification of the models. Finally, the following two parameters are selected as the indices to characterize the geometric feature of in building energy simulation: the southward projected area and total side surface area of the building, Based on the parameterization method, the simplification from an arbitrary column building to a typical shape (a cuboid) building can be made for energy modeling. The result in this study indicates that this simplification would only lead to the error that is less than 7% for those buildings with the ratio of southward projection length to total perimeter of the bottom of 0.25~0.35, which can cover most situations.

Keywords: building energy model, simulation, geometric simplification, design, regression

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12 Applying Renowned Energy Simulation Engines to Neural Control System of Double Skin Façade

Authors: Zdravko Eškinja, Lovre Miljanić, Ognjen Kuljača


This paper is an overview of simulation tools used to model specific thermal dynamics that occurs while controlling double skin façade. Research has been conducted on simplified construction with single zone where one side is glazed. Heat flow and temperature responses are simulated in three different simulation tools: IDA-ICE, EnergyPlus and HAMBASE. The excitation of observed system, used in all simulations, was a temperature step of exterior environment. Air infiltration, insulation and other disturbances are excluded from this research. Although such isolated behaviour is not possible in reality, experiments are carried out to gain novel information about heat flow transients which are not observable under regular conditions. Results revealed new possibilities for adapting the parameters of the neural network regulator. Along numerical simulations, the same set-up has been also tested in a real-time experiment with a 1:18 scaled model and thermal chamber. The comparison analysis brings out interesting conclusion about simulation accuracy in this particular case.

Keywords: double skin façade, experimental tests, heat control, heat flow, simulated tests, simulation tools

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11 A Low Order Thermal Envelope Model for Heat Transfer Characteristics of Low-Rise Residential Buildings

Authors: Nadish Anand, Richard D. Gould


A simplistic model is introduced for determining the thermal characteristics of a Low-rise Residential (LRR) building and then predicts the energy usage by its Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system according to changes in weather conditions which are reflected in the Ambient Temperature (Outside Air Temperature). The LRR buildings are treated as a simple lump for solving the heat transfer problem and the model is derived using the lumped capacitance model of transient conduction heat transfer from bodies. Since most contemporary HVAC systems have a thermostat control which will have an offset temperature and user defined set point temperatures which define when the HVAC system will switch on and off. The aim is to predict without any error the Body Temperature (i.e. the Inside Air Temperature) which will estimate the switching on and off of the HVAC system. To validate the mathematical model derived from lumped capacitance we have used EnergyPlus simulation engine, which simulates Buildings with considerable accuracy. We have predicted through the low order model the Inside Air Temperature of a single house kept in three different climate zones (Detroit, Raleigh & Austin) and different orientations for summer and winter seasons. The prediction error from the model for the same day as that of model parameter calculation has showed an error of < 10% in winter for almost all the orientations and climate zones. Whereas the prediction error is only <10% for all the orientations in the summer season for climate zone at higher latitudes (Raleigh & Detroit). Possible factors responsible for the large variations are also noted in the work, paving way for future research.

Keywords: building energy, energy consumption, energy+, HVAC, low order model, lumped capacitance

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10 A Hybrid Simulation Approach to Evaluate Cooling Energy Consumption for Public Housings of Subtropics

Authors: Kwok W. Mui, Ling T. Wong, Chi T. Cheung


Cooling energy consumption in the residential sector, different from shopping mall, office or commercial buildings, is significantly subject to occupant decisions where in-depth investigations are found limited. It shows that energy consumptions could be associated with housing types. Surveys have been conducted in existing Hong Kong public housings to understand the housing characteristics, apartment electricity demands, occupant’s thermal expectations, and air–conditioning usage patterns for further cooling energy-saving assessments. The aim of this study is to develop a hybrid cooling energy prediction model, which integrated by EnergyPlus (EP) and artificial neural network (ANN) to estimate cooling energy consumption in public residential sector. Sensitivity tests are conducted to find out the energy impacts with changing building parameters regarding to external wall and window material selection, window size reduction, shading extension, building orientation and apartment size control respectively. Assessments are performed to investigate the relationships between cooling demands and occupant behavior on thermal environment criteria and air-conditioning operation patterns. The results are summarized into a cooling energy calculator for layman use to enhance the cooling energy saving awareness in their own living environment. The findings can be used as a directory framework for future cooling energy evaluation in residential buildings, especially focus on the occupant behavioral air–conditioning operation and criteria of energy-saving incentives.

Keywords: artificial neural network, cooling energy, occupant behavior, residential buildings, thermal environment

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9 Modeling Approach for Evaluating Energy Performance of a Large-Scale Housing Stock

Authors: Azzam H. Alosaimi, Benjamin Jones


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is located in the middle east and accounts for 80% of the Arabian Peninsula. Its population is 34.2 million persons and growing at 1.7% per year. The KSA economy is developed and had a per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$23,139 in 2019. Its major source of economy is oil produced by burning fossil fuels and accounting for +90% of the KSA exports revenues and 40% of the GDP. The KSA's economy was radically changed in 1973 due to the global oil crisis. This increased worldwide oil demands and resulted in lifting the kingdom's financial limitations. The government has continued to make considerable profits from oil sales and has invested it in power production, telecommunications, commerce, social development, and infrastructure projects to promote long-term economic growth. The fundamental source of electricity in the KSA is petroleum and is delivered to the citizens through public networks. Most of the electrical energy demands, +70%, are consumed by the buildings stock, and more than 50% of it is used by the residential stock alone; industrial and commercial sectors are responsible for 18 and 12%, respectively. Most of the residential stock energy is utilized by cooling, especially during summer due to harsh weather conditions. Therefore, this study will develop a tool eligible to evaluate the sensitivity of reducing electricity use, peak energy demands, and CO₂ emission rates of the KSA housing stock through thermal envelope modifications. Modeling the energy performance of large-scale housing stock is a complex task and requires data validation. It has two major types of modeling approaches; Top-down and Bottom-up. A bottom-up approach was employed to construct the energy baselines and to evaluate variables sensitivity utilizing Energyplus software. The results show that the housing stock can reduce about 20-25% of its total energy demands and around 10-15% of its contribution to carbon emissions.

Keywords: carbon emissions, energy demands, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas, sensitivity analysis

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8 Conduction Transfer Functions for the Calculation of Heat Demands in Heavyweight Facade Systems

Authors: Mergim Gasia, Bojan Milovanovica, Sanjin Gumbarevic


Better energy performance of the building envelope is one of the most important aspects of energy savings if the goals set by the European Union are to be achieved in the future. Dynamic heat transfer simulations are being used for the calculation of building energy consumption because they give more realistic energy demands compared to the stationary calculations that do not take the building’s thermal mass into account. Software used for these dynamic simulation use methods that are based on the analytical models since numerical models are insufficient for longer periods. The analytical models used in this research fall in the category of the conduction transfer functions (CTFs). Two methods for calculating the CTFs covered by this research are the Laplace method and the State-Space method. The literature review showed that the main disadvantage of these methods is that they are inadequate for heavyweight façade elements and shorter time periods used for the calculation. The algorithms for both the Laplace and State-Space methods are implemented in Mathematica, and the results are compared to the results from EnergyPlus and TRNSYS since these software use similar algorithms for the calculation of the building’s energy demand. This research aims to check the efficiency of the Laplace and the State-Space method for calculating the building’s energy demand for heavyweight building elements and shorter sampling time, and it also gives the means for the improvement of the algorithms used by these methods. As the reference point for the boundary heat flux density, the finite difference method (FDM) is used. Even though the dynamic heat transfer simulations are superior to the calculation based on the stationary boundary conditions, they have their limitations and will give unsatisfactory results if not properly used.

Keywords: Laplace method, state-space method, conduction transfer functions, finite difference method

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7 Energy Efficient Building Design in Nigeria: An Assessment of the Effect of the Sun on Energy Consumption in Residential Buildings

Authors: Ekele T. Ochedi, Ahmad H. Taki, Birgit Painter


The effect of the sun and its path on thermal comfort and energy consumption in residential buildings in tropical climates constitute a serious concern for designers, building owners, and users. Passive design approaches based on the sun and its path have been identified as a means of reducing energy consumption as well as enhancing thermal comfort in buildings worldwide. Hence, a thorough understanding regarding the sun path is key to achieving this. This is necessary due to energy need, poor energy supply, and distribution, energy poverty, and over-dependence on electric generators for power supply in Nigeria. These challenges call for a change in the approach to energy-related issues, especially in terms of buildings. The aim of this study is to explore the influence of building orientation, glazing and the use of shading devices on residential buildings in Nigeria. This is intended to provide data that will guide designers in the design of energy-efficient residential buildings. The paper used EnergyPlus to analyze a typical semi-detached residential building in Lokoja, Nigeria using hourly weather data for a period of 10 years. Building performance was studied as well as possible improvement regarding different orientations, glazing types and shading devices. The simulation results show some reductions in energy consumption in response to changes in building orientation, types of glazing and the use of shading devices. The results indicate 29.45% reduction in solar gains and 1.90% in annual operative temperature using natural ventilation only. This shows a huge potential to reduce energy consumption and improve people’s well-being through the use of proper building orientation, glazing and appropriate shading devices on building envelope. The study concludes that for a significant reduction in total energy consumption by residential buildings, the design should focus on multiple design options rather than concentrating on one or few building elements. Moreover, the investigation confirms that energy performance modeling can be used by building designers to take advantage of the sun and to evaluate various design options.

Keywords: energy consumption, energy-efficient buildings, glazing, thermal comfort, shading devices, solar gains

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6 Effect of Using PCMs and Transparency Rations on Energy Efficiency and Thermal Performance of Buildings in Hot Climatic Regions. A Simulation-Based Evaluation

Authors: Eda K. Murathan, Gulten Manioglu


In the building design process, reducing heating and cooling energy consumption according to the climatic region conditions of the building are important issues to be considered in order to provide thermal comfort conditions in the indoor environment. Applying a phase-change material (PCM) on the surface of a building envelope is the new approach for controlling heat transfer through the building envelope during the year. The transparency ratios of the window are also the determinants of the amount of solar radiation gain in the space, thus thermal comfort and energy expenditure. In this study, a simulation-based evaluation was carried out by using Energyplus to determine the effect of coupling PCM and transparency ratio when integrated into the building envelope. A three-storey building, a 30m x 30m sized floor area and 10m x 10m sized courtyard are taken as an example of the courtyard building model, which is frequently seen in the traditional architecture of hot climatic regions. 8 zones (10m x10m sized) with 2 exterior façades oriented in different directions on each floor were obtained. The percentage of transparent components on the PCM applied surface was increased at every step (%30, %40, %50). For every zone differently oriented, annual heating, cooling energy consumptions, and thermal comfort based on the Fanger method were calculated. All calculations are made for the zones of the intermediate floor of the building. The study was carried out for Diyarbakır provinces representing the hot-dry climate region and Antalya representing the hot-humid climate region. The increase in the transparency ratio has led to a decrease in heating energy consumption but an increase in cooling energy consumption for both provinces. When PCM is applied to all developed options, It was observed that heating and cooling energy consumption decreased in both Antalya (6.06%-19.78% and %1-%3.74) and Diyarbakır (2.79%-3.43% and 2.32%-4.64%) respectively. When the considered building is evaluated under passive conditions for the 21st of July, which represents the hottest day of the year, it is seen that the user feels comfortable between 11 pm-10 am with the effect of night ventilation for both provinces.

Keywords: building envelope, heating and cooling energy consumptions, phase change material, transparency ratio

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5 Dynamic Building Simulation Based Study to Understand Thermal Behavior of High-Rise Structural Timber Buildings

Authors: Timothy O. Adekunle, Sigridur Bjarnadottir


Several studies have investigated thermal behavior of buildings with limited studies focusing on high-rise buildings. Of the limited investigations that have considered thermal performance of high-rise buildings, only a few studies have considered thermal behavior of high-rise structural sustainable buildings. As a result, this study investigates the thermal behavior of a high-rise structural timber building. The study aims to understand the thermal environment of a high-rise structural timber block of apartments located in East London, UK by comparing the indoor environmental conditions at different floors (ground and upper floors) of the building. The environmental variables (temperature and relative humidity) were measured at 15-minute intervals for a few weeks in the summer of 2012 to generate data that was considered for calibration and validation of the simulated results. The study employed mainly dynamic thermal building simulation using DesignBuilder by EnergyPlus and supplemented with environmental monitoring as major techniques for data collection and analysis. The weather file (Test Reference Years- TRYs) for the 2000s from the weather generator carried out by the Prometheus Group was considered for the simulation since the study focuses on investigating thermal behavior of high-rise structural timber buildings in the summertime and not in extreme summertime. In this study, the simulated results (May-September of the 2000s) will be the focus of discussion, but the results will be briefly compared with the environmental monitoring results. The simulated results followed a similar trend with the findings obtained from the short period of the environmental monitoring at the building. The results revealed lower temperatures are often predicted (at least 1.1°C lower) at the ground floor than the predicted temperatures at the upper floors. The simulated results also showed that higher temperatures are predicted in spaces at southeast facing (at least 0.5°C higher) than spaces in other orientations across the floors considered. There is, however, a noticeable difference between the thermal environment of spaces when the results obtained from the environmental monitoring are compared with the simulated results. The field survey revealed higher temperatures were recorded in the living areas (at least 1.0°C higher) while higher temperatures are predicted in bedrooms (at least 0.9°C) than living areas for the simulation. In addition, the simulated results showed spaces on lower floors of high-rise structural timber buildings are predicted to provide more comfortable thermal environment than spaces on upper floors in summer, but this may not be the same in wintertime due to high upward movement of hot air to spaces on upper floors.

Keywords: building simulation, high-rise, structural timber buildings, sustainable, temperatures, thermal behavior

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4 Thermal and Visual Comfort Assessment in Office Buildings in Relation to Space Depth

Authors: Elham Soltani Dehnavi


In today’s compact cities, bringing daylighting and fresh air to buildings is a significant challenge, but it also presents opportunities to reduce energy consumption in buildings by reducing the need for artificial lighting and mechanical systems. Simple adjustments to building form can contribute to their efficiency. This paper examines how the relationship between the width and depth of the rooms in office buildings affects visual and thermal comfort, and consequently energy savings. Based on these evaluations, we can determine the best location for sedentary areas in a room. We can also propose improvements to occupant experience and minimize the difference between the predicted and measured performance in buildings by changing other design parameters, such as natural ventilation strategies, glazing properties, and shading. This study investigates the condition of spatial daylighting and thermal comfort for a range of room configurations using computer simulations, then it suggests the best depth for optimizing both daylighting and thermal comfort, and consequently energy performance in each room type. The Window-to-Wall Ratio (WWR) is 40% with 0.8m window sill and 0.4m window head. Also, there are some fixed parameters chosen according to building codes and standards, and the simulations are done in Seattle, USA. The simulation results are presented as evaluation grids using the thresholds for different metrics such as Daylight Autonomy (DA), spatial Daylight Autonomy (sDA), Annual Sunlight Exposure (ASE), and Daylight Glare Probability (DGP) for visual comfort, and Predicted Mean Vote (PMV), Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfied (PPD), occupied Thermal Comfort Percentage (occTCP), over-heated percent, under-heated percent, and Standard Effective Temperature (SET) for thermal comfort that are extracted from Grasshopper scripts. The simulation tools are Grasshopper plugins such as Ladybug, Honeybee, and EnergyPlus. According to the results, some metrics do not change much along the room depth and some of them change significantly. So, we can overlap these grids in order to determine the comfort zone. The overlapped grids contain 8 metrics, and the pixels that meet all 8 mentioned metrics’ thresholds define the comfort zone. With these overlapped maps, we can determine the comfort zones inside rooms and locate sedentary areas there. Other parts can be used for other tasks that are not used permanently or need lower or higher amounts of daylight and thermal comfort is less critical to user experience. The results can be reflected in a table to be used as a guideline by designers in the early stages of the design process.

Keywords: occupant experience, office buildings, space depth, thermal comfort, visual comfort

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3 Energy Refurbishment of University Building in Cold Italian Climate: Energy Audit and Performance Optimization

Authors: Fabrizio Ascione, Martina Borrelli, Rosa Francesca De Masi, Silvia Ruggiero, Giuseppe Peter Vanoli


The Directive 2010/31/EC 'Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 may 2010 on the energy performance of buildings' moved the targets of the previous version toward more ambitious targets, for instance by establishing that, by 31 December 2020, all new buildings should demand nearly zero-energy. Moreover, the demonstrative role of public buildings is strongly affirmed so that also the target nearly zero-energy buildings is anticipated, in January 2019. On the other hand, given the very low turn-over rate of buildings (in Europe, it ranges between 1-3%/yearly), each policy that does not consider the renovation of the existing building stock cannot be effective in the short and medium periods. According to this proposal, the study provides a novel, holistic approach to design the refurbishment of educational buildings in colder cities of Mediterranean regions enabling stakeholders to understand the uncertainty to use numerical modelling and the real environmental and economic impacts of adopting some energy efficiency technologies. The case study is a university building of Molise region in the centre of Italy. The proposed approach is based on the application of the cost-optimal methodology as it is shown in the Delegate Regulation 244/2012 and Guidelines of the European Commission, for evaluating the cost-optimal level of energy performance with a macroeconomic approach. This means that the refurbishment scenario should correspond to the configuration that leads to lowest global cost during the estimated economic life-cycle, taking into account not only the investment cost but also the operational costs, linked to energy consumption and polluting emissions. The definition of the reference building has been supported by various in-situ surveys, investigations, evaluations of the indoor comfort. Data collection can be divided into five categories: 1) geometrical features; 2) building envelope audit; 3) technical system and equipment characterization; 4) building use and thermal zones definition; 5) energy building data. For each category, the required measures have been indicated with some suggestions for the identifications of spatial distribution and timing of the measurements. With reference to the case study, the collected data, together with a comparison with energy bills, allowed a proper calibration of a numerical model suitable for the hourly energy simulation by means of EnergyPlus. Around 30 measures/packages of energy, efficiency measure has been taken into account both on the envelope than regarding plant systems. Starting from results, two-point will be examined exhaustively: (i) the importance to use validated models to simulate the present performance of building under investigation; (ii) the environmental benefits and the economic implications of a deep energy refurbishment of the educational building in cold climates.

Keywords: energy simulation, modelling calibration, cost-optimal retrofit, university building

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2 Techno-Economic Assessment of Distributed Heat Pumps Integration within a Swedish Neighborhood: A Cosimulation Approach

Authors: Monica Arnaudo, Monika Topel, Bjorn Laumert


Within the Swedish context, the current trend of relatively low electricity prices promotes the electrification of the energy infrastructure. The residential heating sector takes part in this transition by proposing a switch from a centralized district heating system towards a distributed heat pumps-based setting. When it comes to urban environments, two issues arise. The first, seen from an electricity-sector perspective, is related to the fact that existing networks are limited with regards to their installed capacities. Additional electric loads, such as heat pumps, can cause severe overloads on crucial network elements. The second, seen from a heating-sector perspective, has to do with the fact that the indoor comfort conditions can become difficult to handle when the operation of the heat pumps is limited by a risk of overloading on the distribution grid. Furthermore, the uncertainty of the electricity market prices in the future introduces an additional variable. This study aims at assessing the extent to which distributed heat pumps can penetrate an existing heat energy network while respecting the technical limitations of the electricity grid and the thermal comfort levels in the buildings. In order to account for the multi-disciplinary nature of this research question, a cosimulation modeling approach was adopted. In this way, each energy technology is modeled in its customized simulation environment. As part of the cosimulation methodology: a steady-state power flow analysis in pandapower was used for modeling the electrical distribution grid, a thermal balance model of a reference building was implemented in EnergyPlus to account for space heating and a fluid-cycle model of a heat pump was implemented in JModelica to account for the actual heating technology. With the models set in place, different scenarios based on forecasted electricity market prices were developed both for present and future conditions of Hammarby Sjöstad, a neighborhood located in the south-east of Stockholm (Sweden). For each scenario, the technical and the comfort conditions were assessed. Additionally, the average cost of heat generation was estimated in terms of levelized cost of heat. This indicator enables a techno-economic comparison study among the different scenarios. In order to evaluate the levelized cost of heat, a yearly performance simulation of the energy infrastructure was implemented. The scenarios related to the current electricity prices show that distributed heat pumps can replace the district heating system by covering up to 30% of the heating demand. By lowering of 2°C, the minimum accepted indoor temperature of the apartments, this level of penetration can increase up to 40%. Within the future scenarios, if the electricity prices will increase, as most likely expected within the next decade, the penetration of distributed heat pumps can be limited to 15%. In terms of levelized cost of heat, a residential heat pump technology becomes competitive only within a scenario of decreasing electricity prices. In this case, a district heating system is characterized by an average cost of heat generation 7% higher compared to a distributed heat pumps option.

Keywords: cosimulation, distributed heat pumps, district heating, electrical distribution grid, integrated energy systems

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1 Micro-Oculi Facades as a Sustainable Urban Facade

Authors: Ok-Kyun Im, Kyoung Hee Kim


We live in an era that faces global challenges of climate changes and resource depletion. With the rapid urbanization and growing energy consumption in the built environment, building facades become ever more important in architectural practice and environmental stewardship. Furthermore, building facade undergoes complex dynamics of social, cultural, environmental and technological changes. Kinetic facades have drawn attention of architects, designers, and engineers in the field of adaptable, responsive and interactive architecture since 1980’s. Materials and building technologies have gradually evolved to address the technical implications of kinetic facades. The kinetic façade is becoming an independent system of the building, transforming the design methodology to sustainable building solutions. Accordingly, there is a need for a new design methodology to guide the design of a kinetic façade and evaluate its sustainable performance. The research objectives are two-fold: First, to establish a new design methodology for kinetic facades and second, to develop a micro-oculi façade system and assess its performance using the established design method. The design approach to the micro-oculi facade is comprised of 1) façade geometry optimization and 2) dynamic building energy simulation. The façade geometry optimization utilizes multi-objective optimization process, aiming to balance the quantitative and qualitative performances to address the sustainability of the built environment. The dynamic building energy simulation was carried out using EnergyPlus and Radiance simulation engines with scripted interfaces. The micro-oculi office was compared with an office tower with a glass façade in accordance with ASHRAE 90.1 2013 to understand its energy efficiency. The micro-oculi facade is constructed with an array of circular frames attached to a pair of micro-shades called a micro-oculus. The micro-oculi are encapsulated between two glass panes to protect kinetic mechanisms with longevity. The micro-oculus incorporates rotating gears that transmit the power to adjacent micro-oculi to minimize the number of mechanical parts. The micro-oculus rotates around its center axis with a step size of 15deg depending on the sun’s position while maximizing daylighting potentials and view-outs. A 2 ft by 2ft prototyping was undertaken to identify operational challenges and material implications of the micro-oculi facade. In this research, a systematic design methodology was proposed, that integrates multi-objectives of kinetic façade design criteria and whole building energy performance simulation within a holistic design process. This design methodology is expected to encourage multidisciplinary collaborations between designers and engineers to collaborate issues of the energy efficiency, daylighting performance and user experience during design phases. The preliminary energy simulation indicated that compared to a glass façade, the micro-oculi façade showed energy savings due to its improved thermal properties, daylighting attributes, and dynamic solar performance across the day and seasons. It is expected that the micro oculi façade provides a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing alternative to glass facades. Recommendations for future studies include lab testing to validate the simulated data of energy and optical properties of the micro-oculi façade. A 1:1 performance mock-up of the micro-oculi façade can suggest in-depth understanding of long-term operability and new development opportunities applicable for urban façade applications.

Keywords: energy efficiency, kinetic facades, sustainable architecture, urban facades

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