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 gaintoloss 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 gaintolosscoefficient (windows size etc.) must be found. For this a new method has been developed: The freeruntemperature (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 sunshading 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 manyparametric 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 P _{i}_{n}_{t}_{S} (t) and the heat release from the HVAC elements P _{H}_{V}_{A}_{C} (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:
G
⋅
I
sol
+
P
int S
+
Input
P
HVAC
− K ⋅ϑ−ϑ =
i
e
(
)
dQ
Room
dt

Output
= Change
(1)
As the external surface of the room is the surface of heat exchange, the equation can be normalised to the external surface. The two factors G and K can easily be quantified:
G equals the mean radiation transmission of the external surface:
G
=
1
A
ext
⋅
∑
i
g
i
⋅
A
transp −
_{i}
(2)
A _{e}_{x}_{t} : total area of external surface;
g _{i} : total solar energy transmission of element i.
K equals the generalized loss factor of the room including transmission as well as air
infiltration.:
A _{t}_{r}_{a}_{n}_{s}_{p}_{}_{I} : area of the transparent part i
K
=
1
A
ext
⋅
⎡
⎢
⎣
∑
i
U
i
⋅
A
i
+
n
⋅
V
⋅
(
c ⋅ρ
^{)} air
3600
⎤
⎥
⎦
(3)
A _{i} : area of the external element i, U _{i} : Uvalue of element i, n: air exchange rate in 1/h V. volume of the room; c*ρ: volumetric storage capacity of air
For the change of the heat content of the room, dQ can be written as:
appropriate storage capacity C of the room in J/m ^{2} K. With this equation, 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 neglecting of the heat transmission through the nontransparent elements when they are irradiated by the sun, (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). These simplifications restrict the applicability a little, but for most rooms they are applicable,
as has been tested by comparison with well monitored real buildings [1]. The equation can be rearranged:
dQ = C ⋅ dϑ
i
using an
_{C}
d
ϑ
i
()
t
_{G}
K
P
int S
()
t
P
HVAC
()
t
+
where the time dependence is now explicitly shown. The parameters K, G and C can principally also vary with time, but for reasons of simplicity they are kept constant at least for some time intervals. In other words, the time development of the room temperature is
determined by the influence
ϑ
i
()
t
+
()
t
+
⋅
K
dt
= ϑ
e
⋅
I
sol
()
t
K
K
+
(4)
• of the weather:
Φ
meteo
( )
t
=ϑ
e
( )
t
+
G
⋅
K
I
sol
( )
t
(5)
• and of the internal sources and the HVAC:
P
int S
P
HVAC
+
K
K
(6)
It is important to see the role of the two coefficients:
C
K _{=} _{τ} , _{[}_{τ}_{]} = h,s ; is the time constant of the room, describing the reaction of the (7)
^{G}
_{K} =γ , []
γ =
room, its thermal inertia, s
m
2
⋅
K
; the solar temperature coefficient, describing the influence of (8)
the solar radiation on the effect of the external temperature (similar to the “solarair temperature” used in HVAC). Furthermore the internal sources and the contributions of the HVAC system enter not as such but as P/K into the equation. Putting the internal sources and the HVAC contributions away, one obtains an equation for the temperature development of the room under the influence of the weather alone: the free runtemperature (FRT) or natural temperature:
ϑ
i
()
t
+τ⋅
d
ϑ
i
() t
dt
=ϑ
e
For thin storage layers:
()
t
d
≤
()
+γ⋅ I t
sol
σ
with
σ=
this equation can easily be solved:
ϑ
i
()
t
=
1
τ
⋅
t
∫ e
−∞
−
(
t
−
t'
)
τ ()
t
⋅⎡ϑ
⎣
e
+γ⋅
I
()
t
⎦ ⎤ ⋅ dt'
⋅
(9)
⋅ρ = penetration depth: C = c ⋅ ρ ⋅ d ,
(10)
For layers of larger thickness, the Eigenvalue equation must be solved for each storage layer and a series expansion results:
ϑ
i
()
t =
∞
∑
k
= 1
2 ⋅
β
1 +
β
+
(
β µ
⋅
k
)
2
⋅
1
τ
k
⋅
t
∫
−∞
e
−
(
)
t −′ t /
τ
k
⋅
[
ϑ
a
()
t ′+
γ
⋅
()]
I t
′
⋅
d t
′
(11)
with:
β = ^{R} R ^{1} = reziprocal Biotnumber with the layer resistance R and the discharge
resistance R _{1} determining the Eigenvalues by the equation: µ
k
⋅ tan
µ
k
=
^{1}
β
and the time
constants: 

d 
2 
d 
d c 
1 
R ⋅ C 

τ 
k 
= 
2 
= 
λ 
⋅ 
⋅ 
⋅ 
ρ 
⋅ 
2 
= 
2 

a ⋅ 
µ 
k 
µ 
k 
µ 
k 
(12)
Thus a more complicated but principally similar solution results. For most real rooms, the parameter β is relatively large and then the equation reduces to the one for thin layers: (10) .
3. The Strategy From equations (10) one easily sees, the FRT to be a function of time, of the weather (5) and
of the two parameters γ and τ alone:
parameters γ and τ show exactly the same thermal behaviour. In fact they form a socalled similarity class. It turns out, the FRT to be the most important and only thermal room characteristic in a given climate. Since the basic equations are the results of the conservation of energy, the deductions will be of a very general validity, everywhere, of course within the limits set by the approximations. Whenever the FRT risks to cross a comfort limit, the HVAC has to compensate for the weather to keep the temperature within the comfort limits. From equations (4) and (9) one obtains For the lower comfort limit:
(13)
ϑ
i
(
t; γ, τ
)
. This means, any two rooms with the same
d ϑ
i = 0
dt
()
ϑ t =ϑ
i
+
P
h
K
ϑ min
= ϑ
e
()
t
+ γ ⋅
I
()
t
m in
P
h
= K ⋅⎡ϑ −ϑ t −γ⋅ I t _{⎤}_{=} K ⋅Π γ,τ
⎣
min
e
( )
( )
⎦
h
(
)
or
for the necessary heating power. For the necessary cooling power one obtains accordingly:
(14)
P
c
= K ⋅⎡ϑ t +γ⋅ I t −ϑ _{⎤}_{=} K ⋅Π γ,τ
e
()
()
max
⎦
c
(
(
)
⎣
being the temperature corrections needed to keep the room temperature within
(15)
with
the comfort limits. They are functions of γ and τ only.
The energy needed for heating and cooling is easily computed from the powers:
Π γ,τ)
h,c
E
h,c
t
2
t
2
= P t ⋅dt = K ⋅ Π t ⋅dt = K ⋅Ω γ,τ
h,c
h,c
h,c
∫
()
∫
()
(
t
1
t
1
)
(16)
Thus the minimum of P _{h}_{,}_{c} and E _{h}_{,}_{c} is reduced to the minimum of the two equations :
P
h,c
(
= K ⋅Π γ,τ
h,c
)
and
E
h,c
(
= K ⋅Ω γ,τ
h,c
)
(17)
This goal can easily be attained by choosing K as small as possible within the limits set by
architecture, economy and user needs and by minimizing the two functions Π and Ω.
This means, in any climate of the world, it always helps to make the loss factor K as small as
possible. This is in a way the first step of approximation.
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. This is the point, passive solar approaches have mostly failed. It is not sufficient just to turn in any climate the windows to the south side and make them as large as possible. A reduction of heating energy is then often compensated by an
increase in cooling energy. To find the minimum of Π and Ω, the following procedure can be applied: As long as the FRT remains within the comfort limits, no heating or cooling power is needed. 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. Thus the minimization problem is transformed to the maximization of the number of hours within the comfort range, the zero energy hours: ZEH.
The FRT can easily be computed for a given climate: year sets of hourly values of
I(t) for any values of γ and τ and then the number of hours counted where the temperature is within the comfort limits.
ϑ
e
()
t
and
Fig.1: FRT Zurich south side for γ= 0.1 m2K/W and τ = 100h without sunshading (0.1/1), γ= 0.3 m2K/W without (0.3/1) and with external sunshading (0.3/5).
The curves of ZEH or N _{0} (γ,τ) can be shown and the best combinations of γ and τ read out:
climate diagrams (CD). This gives for any climate and any kind of room the best design in a given climate [2].
Gamma m2K/W
Fig.2: Zero energy hours N _{0} , heating hours N _{h} and cooling hours N _{c} of New York, 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 

N0 50h SS 2 

N0 50h SS 5 

hrs./year 
6000 
N0 100h 

N0 100h SS 2 

4000 
N0 100h SS 5 

N0 200h 

2000 

N0 200h SS 2 

0 
N0 200h SS 5 

0 
0.1 
0.2 
0.3 
0.4 
0.5 
N0 400h 

N0 400h SS 2 

Gamma m2K/W 

N0 400h SS 5 
Fig.3: ZEH N _{0} (γ) for τ= 50, 100, 200 and 400h New York South side, for no sun shading, internal sun shading: SS=2 and external sun shading SS=5
One easily can read out the ranges of best γ and τ, the effect of τ and the effect of sun shading. One also sees, if the choice of a best γ is critical: sharp peak or relatively tolerant: flat part of the curve. For the climate given here, one also can conclude
• Without sun shading the time constant τ to have almost no effect,
• The sun shading to have an important effect,
• The time constant to become important only together with a variable sun shading.
Three important conclusions for this climate, not possible with multiparametric simulation
programs. These relations there disappear in the “dense jungle” of parameters.
4. The practical optimization With the aid of the climate diagrams N _{0} (γ,τ), the best choice for γ and τ can be taken. For practical use however, these values have to be led back to real parameters as window size, quality of the glazing etc. This can be done by reversing the equations for γ: (2), (8) and K: (3). One obtains for the glazing partition λ:
λ≡
A
gl
A
e
=
γ⋅
U
wall
+γ⋅
n
⋅
V
(
c ⋅ρ
^{)} air
⋅
A
e
3600
g
gl
+γ⋅
U
wall
−γ⋅
U
gl
(18)
and for the loss factor:
n
⋅
V
⋅
(
c ⋅ρ
^{)} air
K
=λ⋅ + −λ⋅
U
gl
1
(
)
U
wall
+
3600
The expressions (18) and (19) can easily be represented by a graph for a given room: n, V, U _{w}_{a}_{l}_{l} , U _{g}_{l} , g _{g}_{l} , A _{e} . It is a matter of a simple spread sheet program. For several types of glazings: U _{g}_{l} , g _{g}_{l} , the corresponding curves of λ(γ) can be shown. For the γrange read out
from the climate diagram N _{0} (γ,τ) the corresponding glazing partitions λ can be read out and the corresponding loss factors K determined from the graph K(λ):
A
e
(19)
Fig.4: Glazing partition λ as function of γ for four typical glazings (U/g) for a specific room
Loss Factor K(λ)
Glazing Partition
Fig.5: Resulting loss factor K for a room with V= 60 m ^{3} , Uvalues of walls: 0.3 W/m ^{2} K, air infiltration 0.2 h ^{}^{1} , external wall area 12 m ^{2} .
In figure 4 one easily sees, with normal double gazings: U=2.8 W/m2K and g= 0.77, even with 100% glazing partition only γ –values up to 0.25 can be realized.
If there is still any choice, one of course would choose the combination: glazing quality U,g with the lowest resulting loss factor. Thus the practical recipe for a given room is the following:
1. look at the climate diagram and choose γ, τ and sun shading.
2. go to the λ(γ)diagram and read out the glazing partition for several possible glazings.
3. go to the K(λ)diagram and choose the glazing with the lowest value for K.
4. If the result is not satisfactory go again to 1.
In this way one always arrives at the best solution for any kind of room in any given climate. The general validity of this procedure is assured by the only use of the generally valid conservation of energy. It is of course limited by the assumptions or approximations set.
5.
Conclusions
With the use of the conservation of energy applied to a simple room, 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. 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.
As already indicated, several further conclusions for a given climate can also be taken:
importance of thermal inertia, sensitivity to the windows size: γ, importance or unimportance
of sun shading etc
Different climates all over the world could in this way be classified in γsensitive and un sensitive, τsensitive and unsensitive, in sun shading requiring etc. 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. All such principal and important conclusions can only be derived, because one has succeeded in the reduction of the necessary number of parameters to the very few but most important one: K, γ and τ.
This will be presented in another contribution.
Literature [1] H. Burmeister: „Die quantitative gebäuderelevante Darstellung von Klimadaten. Die Klimaflächen.“. Dissertation Nr. 11586, ETH Zürich, 1996. H. Burmeister and B. Keller: “Climate surfaces: A quantitative buildingspecific representation of climates“.Energy and Buildings, 28, 167177 (1998).
[2] B. Keller, E. Magyari and Y. Tian:„Klimatisch angepasstes Bauen: Eine allgemeingültige Methode“ 11. Symposium for Building Physics , Dresden, 2630 Sept. 2002, pp. 113
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