Special Subject: Energy in Buildings — Performance Assessment of Low-energy Buildings (summer)

Permission of Instructor


  • Workshop occurs in Summer 2020 but registration is for the Fall 2020 term.
  • Expected number of work hours per week: 9
  • To enroll, please contact the instructor or TA of the class first.

Progress toward meeting climate-change goals, making indoor thermal comfort more affordable and providing a resilient response to extreme heat events requires a combination of decarbonized energy sources, some amount of distributed supply, and improved building performance.  Estimating the energy consumption of conventionally designed buildings is straightforward: better thermal performance of enclosures and reduced power requirements for lights and equipment can be readily specified and assessed.  More effort is required to model more innovative and computationally complex features, including earth-tube preconditioning of outdoor air brought into a buildings, thermal chimneys for buoyancy -driven natural ventilation, passive downdraft evaporative cooling, ventilated slabs, chilled beams, thermally active building slabs and multi-zone wind-and buoyancy driven airflows.

The EnergyPlus building energy simulation program includes code and test files for each of these features but the code is not accessible through many design interfaces, including Rhino/grasshopper.  This course will explore the performance of a class-selected subset of these features through the EnergyPlus ep-launch user interface and then assess the feasibility of adding the relevant code to EnergyPlus input files derived through Rhino/grasshopper.  As determined by student interest and skills and available time, it may also introduce the option of running EnergyPlus through Eppy scripting in Python.