Thermal Analysis of Buildings

Prerequisites: 6205 or equivalent; access to a newer laptop, working knowledge in Rhino and Ecotect Weather ToolThis seminar will introduce students to manual and computer-based calculation methods to evaluate the thermal/energy performance of buildings. The course will also discuss non-technical aspects of using whole building energy simulation during building design, retrofitting and operation. The primary simulation tool used will be the EnergyPlus simulation engine combined with the DesignBuilder interface. We will also be using a new Rhino Toolbar – developed at the GSD – that can be used for parametric energy modeling using Rhinoceros, Grasshopper and EnergyPlus.The course is divided into three sections. During the first part students will learn about the assumptions underlying modern energy simulation engines and build a series of increasingly complex models that explore key design decisions such as building orientation, form, use of solar shading, natural ventilation, daylighting and thermal mass. In order to better understand when to switch from manual to computer-based calculation methods, students will compare the predicted energy use based on both methods for one of the DOE Commercial Building Benchmark Models.During the second part of the course students will model and design a single family dwelling. Starting with a standard, square building students will initially be tasked to reduce the energy use of the building though enhanced massing, formgiving and shading options. In a second set of iterations students will be allowed to use any combination of energy saving measures. During the final part we will discuss the use of energy models in contemporary practice. Students will work in groups to investigate and present the use of an energy model in a series of recent case study projects. The class format will consist of weekly lectures, software tutorials and discussions. A series of homework assignments and group projects with further deepen and complement what has been covered in class. Enrollment is limited to twenty students.