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Modelling Double Skin Facades

Modelling Double Skin Facades

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Published by eatonrob
A thesis submitted for the Degree:
MSc Energy Systems & the Environment
A thesis submitted for the Degree:
MSc Energy Systems & the Environment

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Published by: eatonrob on Nov 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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As mentioned, double-skin facades range from multi-storey types to single airflow windows, they can

also utilise differing types of components such as roller blinds or Venetian blinds, as well as having

key topography differences such as cavity depth. All of these factors can significantly affect the

thermo-fluid processes occurring in double-skin facades.

To accurately predict the thermal energy performance in the many possible different typologies

requires a simulation program capable of an appropriate resolution. Furthermore, thermo-fluid

processes in double facade systems are highly dynamic in nature and closely coupled in the heat and

mass transfer domains.

Figure 2 - Flowpath diagram for dynamic thermal processes in a double-skin facade

As a pre-requisite therefore a simulation tool should capable of describing and solving dynamic energy

and mass-flow equations for multi-zone. Programs such as ESP-r, EnergyPlus and TRNSYS are

prime candidates in the multi-zone category, capable of performing the necessary “whole-building”

assessments. Though these advanced simulation programs are by no means ideal and all face similar

obstacles regarding the level of resolution necessary to model some major thermodynamic flowpaths

in double-facades.

storage in wall

Internal LW radiation

External air

Cavity exhaust air

Convection to
adjacent air nodes


reflected solar

Incident direct
& diffuse solar


Wall conduction
through construction


Internal air node

Transmitted diffuse
radiation absorption

External convection
to ambient air node

reflected solar

direct solar absorption
& transmission

External LW
radiation to

At roller blind
when drawn

LW radiation
exchange with
adjacent surface

Facade elevation

3 Modelling Double-Skin Facades

Modelling Double-Skin Facades


Allan Dickson

In particular, the author believes that ESP-r offers an excellent opportunity for progression towards the

ideal state due to its open-source code and versatility arising from its traditional research based roots.

To this effect, ESP-r will be the program of choice for the remaining study into modelling double

facades. This study will inevitably take ESP-r to its limits in the challenge to best model double

facades; it shall define areas of weakness and propose remedial action where appropriate.

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