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Eindhoven, Netherlands August 11-14, 2003

BUILDING MORPHOLOGY, TRANSPARENCE, AND ENERGY PERFORMANCE

Werner Pessenlehner and Ardeshir Mahdavi Department of Building Physics and Human Ecology Vienna University of Technology Vienna, 1040 - Austria

ABSTRACT

Certain energy-related building standards make use of simple numeric indicators to describe a building's geometric compactness. Typically, such indicators make use of the relation between the volume of a built form and its surface area. The indicators are then used along with information on the thermal transmittance of the building enclosure elements to evaluate the degree to which a building design meets the relevant thermal insulation criteria. Using extensive parametric thermal simulations, this paper examines the reliability of such simple compactness indicators for energy-related evaluative assessments given that buildings with the same compactness attribute could differ in enclosure transparence, orientation, and morphology.

orientation of a building (e.g., south orientation versus west orientation) does not change its compactness, but may affect thermal performance given changes in insolation and shading conditions. Given these critical considerations, the present study examines the reliability of geometric compactness indicators for energy-related evaluative assessments based on extensive parametric thermal simulation studies. We explore, via variations of building morphology and transparence (the size and distribution of transparent enclosure components), the limitations of exclusive reference to shapes compactness in thermal performance assessment guidelines and standards. Specifically, we demonstrate the thermally relevant interdependencies between compactness and transparence for a specific climatic context and for a morphologically varied class of residential building shapes.

1. INTRODUCTION

Prescriptive building energy codes often set minimum requirements concerning thermal properties of building components. To account for the geometry of buildings in a simple manner, some energy-related building standards make use of simple numeric indicators that focus on building's geometric compactness (Heindl and Grilli 1991, Mahdavi et al. 1996, ÖNORM 2002). Typically, such indicators are derived based on the relationship between the volume of a built form and the surface area of its enclosure. The indicators are then used along with information on the thermal transmittance of the building enclosure elements to evaluate the degree to which a building design meets the relevant minimum thermal requirements. However, the usage of geometric compactness for such evaluative purposes could be criticized on multiple grounds. First, compactness does not capture the specific morphology (or the unique three-dimensional formal articulation and massing) of a building's shape, even though it could influence the thermal performance (e.g. via self-shading). Second, compactness does not capture the amount and distribution of the transparent components of the enclosure. Thus, corresponding radiative gains and losses are not accounted for. Third, changing the

2. APPROACH

2.1 Overview The research design for the present study involves the following steps: i) A sample of different building shapes is selected, providing morphological variance; ii) Different glazing scenarios are generated through variance in glazing area and orientation; iii) The resulting set is thermally analyzed via simulation; iv) The simulation results (energy load, overheating index) are discussed in the context of the sample's variance in morphology and transparence. 2.2 Shapes A modular geometry system was derived based on an elementary cube (3.5×3.5×3.5 m). To generate different building shapes, 18 such elements were used (see Figure 1). These elements were aggregated in different ways to create 54 morphological variations. Figure 2 illustrates this set according to their compactness.

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5 m VOLUME = 771. Given 12 shapes.71 RC = 0.98 From the sample shown in Figure 2 a subset of 12 shapes with distinct RC values was selected for the simulations (see Figure 3). the shapes were rotated four times in intervals of 90 degrees (Figure 5). it is given by: RC = 4.5 x 3. Gurtekin 2002a).02 SHAPE 11 RC = 0. 2).98 lc = 1.90 RELATIVE COMPACTNESS (RC) 0. Moreover. a total of 720 variations were thus generated for simulations. the glazing area was distributed across the enclosure in five different ways.18 ELEMENTS MODULE = 3.74 SHAPE 05 SHAPE 06 RC = 0. 1). A-1 (eq.e.76 0..66 lc1. in contrast to conventional compactness indicators such as characteristic length (lc) which depend on the shape's size (i. Subsequently.5 x 3. 6-1 (eq. RC and lc could be used .79 lc = 1. Since most buildings have orthogonal polyhedronal shapes. 25%.95 0. A-1 (eq.26 0.79 SHAPE 02 RC = 0. 3 glazing area options.82 SHAPE 01 RC = 0. 0.66 .17 SHAPE 07 RC = 0.09 0. In addition. absolute value of the volume): lc = V .74 lc = 1. V0.1018 1026 .69 lc = 1. V0. For sphere as the reference. thus arriving at the following definition of RC: RC = 6 .86 0. 3). three levels were considered. as previous studies have indicated that it better describes the subjective (perception-based) categorization of shape compactness by designers (Mahdavi u.66 SHAPE 09 SHAPE 10 RC = 0.82 lc = 1. Figure 4 – Illustration of the variation of the glazing percentage (fraction of gross floor area) Since our main morphological sample involves shapes of equal volumina. and 40% glazing.13 SHAPE 08 RC = 0.05 0. the amount of glazing and its distribution across the enclosure walls was changed.31 SHAPE 04 RC = 0. To specify compactness. we used the "Relative Compactness" (RC) indicator (Mahdavi u.66 .64 RC = 0. though.62 lc = 0.714 lc = 1. namely 10%. Concerning glazing area.69 0. Gurtekin 2002a). expressed as fraction of the gross floor area (Figure 4).76 lc = 1.21 0. lc can be easily derived from RC if necessary: lc = RC . 4). 10% 25% 40% RC is purely shape-dependent.66 .62 Figure 3 – The 12 shapes selected for simulation Figure 2 – All generated shapes To achieve variation in enclosure transparence.75 m3 interchangeably to characterize shape compactness.86 lc = 1. The RC of a shape is derived in that its volume to surface ration is compared to that of the most compact shape with the same volume. and 4 orientations. as per Table 1. we use cube as the reference shape. We prefer to use RC.98 SHAPE 12 RC = 0.90 lc = 1. V0. A-1 (eq.84 .50 0.64 lc = 0. 5 glazing distribution options.37 SHAPE 03 RC = 0. Figure 1 – Generation of shapes based on 18 cubical elements 0.

0. 0. The simulation results were expressed in terms of two performance indicators. as well as the number of people were assumed to be dependent on the time of day.00 17.60 0. building use (residential).m -3.70 0.65 0.96 for west and east).m-2. amounting to an average value of approximately 5 W.00 0. Air change rates were varied from 0. This reference temperature is currently applied in Austria for residential buildings (ÖNORM 1999). whereas dominantly north-oriented glazing results in the highest heating load.10 15.00 27.16 0.95 for 10% glazing. The latter was defined as the sum of hourly temperature differences between the room temperature and an overheating reference temperature (27o during day and 25o in the night). namely annual heating load (in kWh.1019 1027 .50 Heating Load (kWh.00 Relative Compactness (RC) Figure 6 – Simulated heating loads as a function of RC (all instances) . building volume (772 m3).m-2] 850 310 860 620 20 U [W. These results confirm the expectation that dominantly south-oriented glazing results in the lowest heating load. A further distinction of the results in terms of the distribution of glazing (see Figure 8 for 25% glazing area option) reveals still higher correlations (0.50 25. RESULTS Figure 6 shows (for all simulated instances) the relationship between heating load and RC.00 32. building construction. The respective correlation is fairly high (R2=0. even higher correlations emerge (R2=0. Larger glazing areas result in slightly lower heating loads (increased solar gains apparently outweigh increased transmission losses).20 1. and 0.94 for 25%. If the results are sorted according the glazing percentage (see Figure 7).a-1) 30.95 1.88).5 to 2 h-1 according to the time of the year.Table 1 – Variations of transparence Percentage of glazing facing: North East South West 25 25 25 25 55 15 15 15 15 55 15 15 15 15 55 15 15 15 15 55 2.m-2.50 20. 35.75 0.33 0. N W S O SOUTH N/E/S/W =15/15/55/15 % WEST N/E/S/W =15/15/15/55 % ROTATION IN INTERVALS OF 90 DEGREES Figure 5 – Glazing area distribution 2. The assumptions regarding thermal transmittance and surface density values of the primary building components of the model are summarized in Table 2.a-1). internal heat gains.50 Table 2 – Building components properties Building component Floor External wall Roof External floor Window Surface density [kg. 0.m-2.a-1) and overheating index (in Kh. and air change rates.4 Simulations Simulations were performed using the application NODEM (Mahdavi u. Lighting and equipment loads.K-1] 0.85 0. Mathew 1995).21 0.97 for uniform and north. Austria).00 22.90 for 40%). Variation Uniform North East South West UNIFORM N/E/S/W = 25/25/25/25 % NORTH N/E/S/W =55/15/15/15 % EAST N/E/S/W =15/55/15/15 % 3.90 0.3 Invariant assumptions A number of parameters were kept constant throughout the simulations.95 for south. namely location (Vienna.80 0.

60 0.95 1. If these results are grouped north Figure 10 – Simulated overheating as a function of RC and glazing distribution options (all instances with 40% glazing) .00 32.95 1.88 for south.70 0.80 0.75 0.50 2750 20. 25%.75 0.50 Overheating (Kh. and 0.m -3.00 Relative Compactness (RC) uniform east north south uniform east west south north west Figure 8 – Simulated heating loads as a function of RC and glazing distribution options (for 25% glazing option) 0 0.95 1. 25.50 3000 2750 2500 20.84 for north.85 0.00 27.50 based on the orientation of glazing (see Figure 10).00 22.80 0. 0.00 0 0.70 0. The higher occurrence of overheating for the south exposure (as compared to east and west) is mainly due to the longer duration of the south façade's solar exposure.75 0.75 0.35.85 0.87 for west.65 0.95 1.50 Overheating (Kh.65 0. and 40%) 35.a-1) 2250 2000 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 15.90 0. 0. the association between overheating and RC is relatively week.90 0. Since simulations for 10% and 25% glazing areas did not result in noteworthy overheating occurrences.00 Relative Compactness (RC) 10% 10% 25% 25% 40% 40% Figure 7 – Simulated heating loads as a function of RC and glazing percentage (10%.00 0.90 0.60 0.a-1) 30.93 for uniform.m -3. higher correlations emerge (0.80 0.60 0. only the results for 40% glazing are given in Figure 9 (R2=0.85 0.00 27.00 17.50 Heating Load (kWh.86 for east).50 Relative Compactness (RC) Heating Load (kWh.a-1) 2000 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 15.00 32.70 0.00 3000 22.65 0.80 0.60 0.00 Relative Compactness (RC) uniform east south uniform east west south north west While from the simulation results a significant association between heating load and RC can be inferred.50 Figure 9 – Simulated overheating as a function of RC (all instances with 40% glazing) 25.65 0.70 0. 0.a-1) 30.1020 1028 .85 0.00 2500 2250 17.90 0.59).00 0.

75 0.60 0. RC seems to capture geometry well.00 Relative Compactness (RC) Figure 12 – Deviation of simulated overheating results from regression-based predictions (for 40% glazing option) .90 0.1021 1029 . DISCUSSION A solid association between RC and heating load can be inferred from the sample of shapes considered in this study. we consider the errors that occur.4.65 0.75 0. implying that RC does not sufficiently capture those morphological properties of the design (such as self-shading) that could be relevant to the occurrence of overheating.70 0.60 0. Figure 9).70 0. Figure 7). when heating load and overheating predictions are made based on regression equations. the association is much weaker in this case.90 0. As expected. Moreover. Deviation from regression in % (Heating Load) 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% -15% -20% 0. Figure 12 illustrates the relative deviation of individual simulation results for overheating from the corresponding predictions made based on linear regression (cp. it did not occur for glazing areas under 30%). To further contrast the performance of RC in the case of heating load to its performance in the case of overheating.80 0.95 1.00 Relative Compactness (RC) Figure 11 – Deviation of simulated heating loads from regression-based predictions (for 40% glazing option) 125% 100% Deviation from regression in % (Overheating) 75% 50% 25% 0% -25% -50% -75% -100% -125% 0. Overheating is significantly affected by the amount of the glazing (in the present study. Deviations are in this case much larger and lie between -75% and +125%. given low Uvalue glazing systems.65 0.95 1. despite its negligence of the morphological variance of the sample. The deviation of the individual results from the general trend are generally large. the orientation of glazing has a clear influence on the resulting overheating. Distinctions regarding transparence (amount and orientation of glazing) allow to further refine this association.80 0.85 0. Moreover. While overheating tendency increases with increasing RC. but do not change its general trend. increased glazing area can – contrary to the conventional wisdom – reduce heating load. Figure 11 illustrates the relative deviation of individual simulation results for heating load (for 40% glazing area) from the corresponding predictions made based on linear regression (cp. whereby increased transmission losses through the enclosure are more than compensated by increased solar heat gains.85 0. Deviations lie in this case between -10% and +10%. a south-dominant glazing orientation results in significantly higher overheating than the north-dominated glazing orientation. More compact shapes result indeed in somewhat smaller heating loads.

Figure 15 illustrates the deviations of the simulated overheating values for the five shapes from predictions based on the regression equation of the original sample (cp. 2.1 Different shapes In the previous discussion.86 Figure 14 – Deviation of simulated heating loads (for the sample of five shapes with identical RC values) from regression-based predictions of the original sample (cp.5. we dealt with a sample of 12 shapes with distinct RC values.2.3. Sections 2. whereby the same glazing options and distributions were considered as in the previous study (cp. These results imply that regressionbased heating load predictions can reasonably rely on RC as geometry indicator. Figure 9). we selected (from figure 2) five morphologically distinct shapes with the same RC value of 0. A comparison of the error ranges of the sample of these five shapes with the error ranges of the original 12 shapes sample is presented in Table 3.1022 1030 . and in the case of overheating somewhat larger than the deviations of the original sample. Heating loads and overheating were computed for these shapes.86) Relative Compactness = 0. Deviation from regression in % (Heating Load) 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% -15% A -20% B C D E Relative Compactness = 0.4). Figure 6) 150% 125% Deviation from regression in % (Overheating) 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% -25% -50% -75% -100% -125% A B C D E A -150% B C D E Figure 13 – Sample of five distinct shapes with the same RC value (RC = 0.86 (Figure 13) for further simulation studies. ADDITIONAL EXPLORATIONS 5. The deviations resulting from shape variance are in the case of heating load in the same order of magnitude as the deviations of the original sample. To explore the potential effect of morphological variance not accounted for by RC. However. Figure 9) . 2. such predictions are not reliable in the case of overheating and are further compromised due to morphological attributes not captured by RC. Figure 14 illustrates the deviation of the simulated heating loads for these five shapes from predictions based on the regression equation of the original sample (cp. Figure 6).86 Figure 15 – Deviation of simulated overheating results (for the sample of five shapes with identical RC values) from regression-based predictions of the original sample (cp. despite morphological variance.

00 22. it uses the volume-dependent lc as the compactness indicator.50 HL = 27 .00 27. Figure 17 illustrates the same results as Figure 16 but instead of RC.95 1.m -3.90 0. We further assumed three possible volumina for each shape (the original volume of 772 m3.25 (eq.00 27. lc-0.50 25. even when dealing with shapes of different volumina.75 HL = 105 .00 Relative Compactness (RC) V 772 V 772 V 2680 V 2680 V 6174 V 6174 Figure 16 – Heating load of sample C as a function of RC (for three volume ranges and 25% glazing option) 35. RC-0.50 10. a new sample was generated based on a subset of the shapes in the original sample shown in Figure 3.00 0.00 1.00 12.85 0.50 Heating Load (kWh.50 25.50 2.00 22.2 Different volumina The original study dealt with shapes of the same volume (772 m3).50 15.00 0.Table 3 – Comparison of regression-based prediction errors: five shapes sample versus original sample Heating Load (kWh.50 15.50 10.00 32.1023 1031 . The simulations were performed for the 25% glazing option only.70 0.50 3.m -3.a-1) 35. We selected five shapes with distinct RC values.00 17. V-0.00 2. Figure 16 illustrates the simulated heating loads as a function of both RC and volume.00 12. as well as 2680 m3 and 6174 m3).00 17.50 20.00 3.75 .50 30.60 Deviation range for: 5 shapes sample Heating load Overheating -15 to +10 % -80 to +130% Original sample -15 to +12% -75 to +125% 5.50 20. To explore the implications of changes in volumina. 5) 1.80 0. Accordingly.50 Characteristic Length (lc) (eq. the association implied in figure 17 can be represented via the following (equivalent) equations: 0.a-1) 30.75 0. Since RC is not volume-dependent. 6) Figure 17 – Heating load of sample C as a function of lc (for the 25% glazing option) .00 32.65 0. These results imply that simulated heating loads (HL) can be reproduced via regression-based functions fairly well.

. B. 29. Synchronous generation of homologous representations in an active. The "LEK"-Concept and its Applicability for the Energy Analysis of Comercial Buildings. thermal mass.. glazing percentage. the reliability of simple indicators of building geometry such as compactness indicators RC and lc must be seen differentially. Proceedings. of IBPSA Conference. reliable and intuitive numeric indicators of geometry could be adopted as a design dimension of the "design-performance space". 1991. Adventures in the design-performance space. Volume 1. Grilli. A.g. Proceedings of the 16th European Meeting on Cybernetics and System Research.1024 1032 . multi-aspect design environment.. 1. Numbers. Wien. Likewise. R. P. Österreichisches Normungsinstitut. In this space. and glazing distribution was found to be significant. compactness) and semantic (thermal transmittance of the building enclosure. illuminance levels on working planes). 1996. each performance dimension accommodates the range of the values of a specific performance indicator (e. and Perception: Aspects and Dimensions of the Design Performance Space. Gurtekin 2002b).6. pp. 31(5). ÖNORM B 8110-1: Wärmeschutz im Hochbau – Anforderungen an den Wärmeschutz und Nachweisverfahren. Österreichisches Normungsinstitut.. . Design variables can capture various geometric (volume. On Establishing Standards for the Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient of Buildings. Wien. CIB-W67-Workshop 1991. However.. 269-274. Vienna. reverberation time in rooms. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference: Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture. ISBN 90-6814-141-4. B. P. pp 409-415. Mahdavi. pp 522528. 7. 2002a. orientation. the use of such indicators in energy standards (for heating load prediction and evaluation purposes) may be justified. The design-performance space can provide an effective context for the assessment and comparative evaluation of the performance of alternative building designs in the early stages of the design process. Dezember 1999. The association between the values of such indicators and simulated heating loads of buildings with various shapes. shape. Building and Environment. Mathew. A. Shapes. 1995. P. Gurtekin. Beyond their potential for relevant codes and standards. which denotes a virtual space defined by multiple design and performance dimensions (Mahdavi u. Mahdavi. A. Gurtekin.. Mathew. Mahdavi. CONCLUSION Given the context and boundary conditions of the present study. these indicators do not appear to capture the geometry of a building to the extent necessary for the predictive assessment of the overheating risk. ÖNORM 1999. REFERENCES Heindl. Austria. W.V. pp 291-300. energy use. Januar 2002. 2002b. Mahdavi. ÖNORM B 8110-3: Wärmeschutz im Hochbau – Wärmespeicherung und Sonneneinflüsse. 31(5). internal loads) features of design. ÖNORM 2002. Vienna. Accordingly. The Netherlands.. A. Brahme. each design dimension accommodates the range of possible values of a discretized design variable.

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