The Climate Adapted Design of Buildings: An Easy Way for the Optimization.

Bruno Keller, Tian Yuan, Eugen Magyari Chair of Building Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETHZ, Zurich Abstract: As has been shown elsewhere, the thermal dynamics of a room can be described in an excellent approximation by only three parameters: The generalized loss coefficient K, the time constant τ and the gain-to-loss factor γ. As a first step of a successive optimization, in all climates the loss factors must be kept as low as possible, in a second step a best combination of time constant (storage capacity etc.) and gain-to-loss-coefficient (windows size etc.) must be found. For this a new method has been developed: The free-run-temperature (FRT) of a room in a given climate is its most important characteristic and is completely defined by these three parameters. The more time this FRT of a room remains in the comfort range of internal temperatures: zero energy hours (ZEH), the less thermal energy and power is needed to operate it and thus the better a design is adapted to the climate. With these fundamentals the optimization of the climate adapted design is transformed into a simple maximization of the ZEH depending only on τ and γ: ZEH(τ,γ). Also the effect of a variable sun-shading as well as of internal sources can easily be included. Some examples are given. 1.Introduction The climate adapted optimization of buildings has a long history. It finally ended up in the use of very many-parametric simulation programs. The large amount of parameters makes an overall view difficult: the results are represented principally in a many dimensional space: as many dimensions as the number of parameters used. Human beings however are not able to imagine relations in spaces of more than three dimensions. Therefore no clear strategies could be formulated. The authors are convinced, not all of these many parameters to be of the same importance. A reasonable reduction of the number of parameters should be possible and may lead to a representation of only the most important relations but in a way, human beings can understand and imagine it. This in turn should allow to deduce clear strategies. Of course, any such reduction requires a simplification of the problem and thus a reduction in precision. Strategies however need not to be very precise but they should indicate the right direction for the initial design of buildings. The more sophisticated simulation programs could later then be used for the final fine adjustment. If the initial direction of design would have started in the wrong direction, this final adjustment however would make no sense at all. To cite Albert Einstein: “It is better to be roughly right than to be precisely wrong”. Especially in the very first steps of design a clear and simple strategy is necessary, but it needs not to be very precise. 2. The Fundamentals The simplest expression for the relation between gains, losses and storage capacity is given by the conservation of energy. This is fulfilled in any situation and looks as follows [1]: • The thermal input into the room: solar radiation I(t) across the transparent elements G, the internal sources PintS(t) and the heat release from the HVAC elements PHVAC(t), • minus the output from the room via the thermal loss factor K comprising the effect of the external surfaces and the air infiltration • result in a change dQ: loss or gain of the heat stored in the room elements:

dQ can be written as: dQ = C ⋅ dϑi using an appropriate storage capacity C of the room in J/m2K. These simplifications restrict the applicability a little. but for most rooms they are applicable. already some simplifications have been made: • The neglecting of the variability of the solar transmittance of the transparent elements due to the changing angle of the sun. the equation can be normalised to the external surface. Ui: U-value of element i.G ⋅ Isol + Pint S + PHVAC − K ⋅ ( ϑi − ϑe ) = Input Output dQ Room dt = Change (1) As the external surface of the room is the surface of heat exchange. m2 ⋅ s G . the solar temperature coefficient. With this equation. Atransp-I: area of the transparent part i gi: total solar energy transmission of element i.: ( c ⋅ρ )air ⎤ 1 ⎡ K= ⋅ ⎢ ∑ Ui ⋅ Ai + n ⋅ V ⋅ (3) ⎥ Aext ⎣ i 3600 ⎦ Ai: area of the external element i. K equals the generalized loss factor of the room including transmission as well as air infiltration. (for elements of high insulation level combined with massive parts the amplitude damping is such high that this effect can well be neglected) • The description or specification of the thermal state of the room by only one “mean” room temperature (corresponding roughly to the mean radiant temperature).s . volume of the room. its thermal inertia. describing the reaction of the (7) K room. [ τ] = h. G and C can principally also vary with time. describing the influence of (8) = γ . The parameters K. n: air exchange rate in 1/h V. as has been tested by comparison with well monitored real buildings [1]. • The neglecting of the heat transmission through the non-transparent elements when they are irradiated by the sun. The two factors G and K can easily be quantified: G equals the mean radiation transmission of the external surface: 1 (2) ⋅ ∑ g i ⋅ A transp−i G= A ext i Aext: total area of external surface. In other words. c*ρ: volumetric storage capacity of air For the change of the heat content of the room. the time development of the room temperature is determined by the influence G • of the weather: Φ meteo ( t ) = ϑe ( t ) + ⋅ I sol ( t ) (5) K P P (6) • and of the internal sources and the HVAC: int S + HVAC K K It is important to see the role of the two coefficients: C = τ . is the time constant of the room. [γ] = K K . The equation can be re-arranged: P ( t ) PHVAC ( t ) C dϑ ( t ) G ϑi ( t ) + ⋅ i = ϑe ( t ) + ⋅ I sol ( t ) + int S + (4) K dt K K K where the time dependence is now explicitly shown. but for reasons of simplicity they are kept constant at least for some time intervals.

For most real rooms. the Eigen-value equation must be solved for each storage layer and a series expansion results: t ∞ 2⋅β 1 (11) ϑ i ( t) = ∑ ⋅ ⋅ ∫ e − ( t − t ′ ) /τ k ⋅ [ϑ a ( t ′) + γ ⋅ I ( t ′)] ⋅ dt ′ 2 τ k −∞ k =1 1 + β + ( β ⋅ µ k ) R1 = reziprocal Biot-number with the layer resistance R and the discharge R 1 and the time resistance R1 determining the Eigen-values by the equation: µ k ⋅ tan µ k = β constants: with: β= τk = d2 d 1 R⋅C = ⋅d ⋅c⋅ρ ⋅ 2 = 2 2 µk µk a⋅µk λ (12) Thus a more complicated but principally similar solution results. the FRT to be a function of time. Furthermore the internal sources and the contributions of the HVAC system enter not as such but as P/K into the equation. τ ) .the solar radiation on the effect of the external temperature (similar to the “solar-air temperature” used in HVAC). Whenever the FRT risks to cross a comfort limit. the FRT to be the most important and only thermal room characteristic in a given climate. everywhere. the HVAC has to compensate for the weather to keep the temperature within the comfort limits. τ ) (14) ⎣ ⎦ for the necessary heating power. For thin storage layers: ⋅ π c ⋅ρ 2 this equation can easily be solved: t ( t − t ') − 1 ϑi ( t ) = ⋅ ∫ e τ ⋅ ⎡ϑe ( t ) + γ ⋅ I ( t ) ⎤ ⋅ dt ' (10) ⎣ ⎦ τ −∞ For layers of larger thickness. The Strategy From equations (10) one easily sees. From equations (4) and (9) one obtains For the lower comfort limit: dϑi P ϑi ( t ) = ϑmin (13) =0 ϑmin = ϑe ( t ) + γ ⋅ I ( t ) + h dt K or Ph = K ⋅ ⎡ ϑmin − ϑe ( t ) − γ ⋅ I ( t ) ⎤ = K ⋅ Π h ( γ . This means. It turns out. the parameter β is relatively large and then the equation reduces to the one for thin layers: (10) . Putting the internal sources and the HVAC contributions away. of course within the limits set by the approximations. 3. of the weather (5) and of the two parameters γ and τ alone: ϑi ( t. Since the basic equations are the results of the conservation of energy. For the necessary cooling power one obtains accordingly: . one obtains an equation for the temperature development of the room under the influence of the weather alone: the freerun-temperature (FRT) or natural temperature: dϑ ( t ) ϑi ( t ) + τ ⋅ i = ϑe ( t ) + γ ⋅ Isol ( t ) (9) dt σ T λ d≤ with σ = = penetration depth: C = c ⋅ ρ ⋅ d . In fact they form a so-called similarity class. γ. any two rooms with the same parameters γ and τ show exactly the same thermal behaviour. the deductions will be of a very general validity.

no heating or cooling power is needed. γ= 0. τ ) and E h.1/1).τ) can be shown and the best combinations of γ and τ read out: climate diagrams (CD). in any climate of the world. .c ( γ .c ( t ) ⋅ dt = K ⋅ Ω h.3/5). Thus the minimization problem is transformed to the maximization of the number of hours within the comfort range.c ( γ. the following procedure can be applied: As long as the FRT remains within the comfort limits. It is not sufficient just to turn in any climate the windows to the south side and make them as large as possible.c = K ⋅ Ω h.3 / 1 0.c and Eh.c ( γ.1: FRT Zurich south side for γ= 0. τ ) t1 t1 t2 t2 Pc = K ⋅ ⎡ ϑe ( t ) + γ ⋅ I ( t ) − ϑmax ⎤ = K ⋅ Π c ( γ . the zero energy hours: ZEH. passive solar approaches have mostly failed. τ ) (17) This goal can easily be attained by choosing K as small as possible within the limits set by architecture.c ( γ.c = ∫ Ph. The next step is the best adaptation of window size and quality: γ to the thermal inertia: τ of a room: the minimum of Π and Ω.1 m2K/W and τ = 100h without sun-shading (0. To find the minimum of Π and Ω. This gives for any climate and any kind of room the best design in a given climate [2].3 / 5 0. 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 0.c is reduced to the minimum of the two equations : Ph. τ ) ⎣ ⎦ (15) (16) Thus the minimum of Ph. Thus a room with a maximum of hours within the comfort limits will be the room with the least thermal power and thus also least thermal energy need.3/1) and with external sun-shading (0. The FRT can easily be computed for a given climate: year sets of hourly values of ϑe ( t ) and I(t) for any values of γ and τ and then the number of hours counted where the temperature is within the comfort limits.with Π h.c ( t ) ⋅ dt = K ⋅ ∫ Π h. economy and user needs and by minimizing the two functions Π and Ω. The energy needed for heating and cooling is easily computed from the powers: E h. They are functions of γ and τ only. it always helps to make the loss factor K as small as possible. This is the point.3 m2K/W without (0.c = K ⋅ Π h. τ ) being the temperature corrections needed to keep the room temperature within the comfort limits. The curves of ZEH or N0(γ. A reduction of heating energy is then often compensated by an increase in cooling energy.1 / 1 Fig. This is in a way the first step of approximation. This means.

2 0.h Climate Diagram South New York τ=100 8000 Hours/year 6000 4000 2000 0 0 0. One also sees. 200 and 400h New York South side. internal sun shading: SS=2 and external sun shading SS=5 One easily can read out the ranges of best γ and τ.4 0. These relations there disappear in the “dense jungle” of parameters. .4 0. one also can conclude • Without sun shading the time constant τ to have almost no effect./year 6000 4000 2000 0 0 0. if the choice of a best γ is critical: sharp peak or relatively tolerant: flat part of the curve.1 0. for no sun shading. not possible with multi-parametric simulation programs.3: ZEH N0(γ) for τ= 50. south side Computing these curves for various values of γ and τ yields an easy to interpret overview for the optimization: CD South New York N0 50h 8000 hrs. For the climate given here. • The sun shading to have an important effect.3 0. heating hours Nh and cooling hours Nc of New York. Three important conclusions for this climate.1 0. 100.3 0. • The time constant to become important only together with a variable sun shading. the effect of τ and the effect of sun shading.2: Zero energy hours N0.2 0.5 Gamma m2K/W Nh 100h Nc100h N0 100h Fig.5 Gamma m2K/W N0 50h SS 2 N0 50h SS 5 N0 100h N0 100h SS 2 N0 100h SS 5 N0 200h N0 200h SS 2 N0 200h SS 5 N0 400h N0 400h SS 2 N0 400h SS 5 Fig.

5 Glazing Partition Loss Factor W/m2K Glazing Partition l 2.41 0.65 0. It is a matter of a simple spread sheet program.77 1. .5/0. air infiltration 0.1 0.2 0 0 0.τ) the corresponding glazing partitions λ can be read out and the corresponding loss factors K determined from the graph K(λ): Glazing Partition 1 0.77 1.1 0.2 0.4. Ae. U-values of walls: 0.6 0.9 1.5/0.5 0 0.1 0.42 Fig. these values have to be led back to real parameters as window size. The practical optimization With the aid of the climate diagrams N0(γ.9 0.5 1.5/0.8/0.2 h-1.3 1.7 0.65 0. For the γ-range read out from the climate diagram N0(γ. the best choice for γ and τ can be taken.5 2.7 1. This can be done by reversing the equations for γ: (2).3 m2K/W 0. the corresponding curves of λ ( γ ) can be shown.4: Glazing partition λ as function of γ for four typical glazings (U/g) for a specific room Loss Factor K(λ) 1.5/0.42 Fig.4 0. For practical use however.3 0. V.τ).9/0. quality of the glazing etc. ggl.2 0.4 0.41 0.8/0. ggl. Uwall.4 0.8 0. (8) and K: (3).5: Resulting loss factor K for a room with V= 60 m3. For several types of glazings: Ugl.9/0. external wall area 12 m2.3 W/m2K. One obtains for the glazing partition λ: n ⋅ V ( c ⋅ρ )air γ ⋅ U wall + γ ⋅ ⋅ A gl Ae 3600 λ≡ = (18) Ae g gl + γ ⋅ U wall − γ ⋅ U gl and for the loss factor: n ⋅ V ( c ⋅ρ )air K = λ ⋅ U gl + (1 − λ ) ⋅ U wall + ⋅ (19) Ae 3600 The expressions (18) and (19) can easily be represented by a graph for a given room: n. Ugl.

importance or unimportance of sun shading etc. 2002. 28. 1996. If the result is not satisfactory go again to 1. even with 100% glazing partition only γ –values up to 0. All such principal and important conclusions can only be derived. Burmeister and B. Different climates all over the world could in this way be classified in γ-sensitive and unsensitive.Energy and Buildings. 11586. leading to an overall view of the world from the point of view of thermal energy and power need: How to design low energy buildings where. As already indicated. This will be presented in another contribution. [2] B. Dissertation Nr. In this way one always arrives at the best solution for any kind of room in any given climate. 2. 167-177 (1998). Keller: “Climate surfaces: A quantitative building-specific representation of climates“. one can derive a generally valid strategy for the optimization of a room: • a first step leads to the minimum of the loss factor and • the second step leads to the climate adapted tuning of γ and τ by means of climate diagrams. sensitivity to the windows size: γ. γ and τ. ETH Zürich.8 W/m2K and g= 0. with normal double gazings: U=2. Conclusions With the use of the conservation of energy applied to a simple room. pp. 113126Dresden . in sun shading requiring etc. Magyari and Y. Symposium for Building Physics . Tian:„Klimatisch angepasstes Bauen: Eine allgemeingültige Methode“ 11. 26-30 Sept. τ-sensitive and un-sensitive. If there is still any choice. because one has succeeded in the reduction of the necessary number of parameters to the very few but most important one: K.g with the lowest resulting loss factor. 4. with the aid of for any room easily computable diagrams λ(γ) and K(λ) one arrives at the practically relevant choices for the glazing partition λ and the loss factor K. E. The general validity of this procedure is assured by the only use of the generally valid conservation of energy. one of course would choose the combination: glazing quality U.. look at the climate diagram and choose γ. several further conclusions for a given climate can also be taken: importance of thermal inertia. τ and sun shading. Dresden. H. go to the λ(γ)-diagram and read out the glazing partition for several possible glazings.25 can be realized. It is of course limited by the assumptions or approximations set. Burmeister: „Die quantitative gebäuderelevante Darstellung von Klimadaten.77. 5. 3. Thus the practical recipe for a given room is the following: 1. Die Klimaflächen. Literature [1] H. go to the K(λ)-diagram and choose the glazing with the lowest value for K.In figure 4 one easily sees. Keller.“.

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