Introduction to building performance modeling and simulation - 2010-04-16

van Treeck, Christoph Alban; Rank, Ernst (Thesis advisor); Hauser, Gerd (Thesis advisor); Hensen, Jan (Thesis advisor)

(2010, 2022)
Habil / Postdoctoral Thesis (Non-german Habil)

Habilitationsschrift, Technische Universität München, 2010


The book on hand provides a basic introduction to the modeling and to the numerical simulation of the energy performance and the thermal quality performance of buildings. It is the conceptual idea to explain the physical background and the numerical techniques which form part of the core of building performance simulation. The knowledge is provided with minimum semantics in terms of creating the particular modules of a geometry-based thermal multizone model step by step. The book addresses students at the graduate or PhD level. At the beginning, a short historical review is given, the different scales and levels in building simulation are explained, and the related simulation community and its communication channels are introduced. Motivated by the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, we provide an overview of the energy efficient building design including a few examples for active and passive measures towards sustainable building design. Prior to introducing numerical techniques, a general picture is drawn of the relevant heat balances and energy flow paths in a building. Using a static balancing approach, a calculation example is given for a sample building model. External and internal boundary conditions are summarized, including the weather data acquisition, the pressure and temperature distribution at the building surface, heat transfer coefficients for free and forced convection, as well as the impacts of the urban environment and the climate change to the prediction methods. Detailed material is provided on how to numerically calculate the respective heat and mass flows in a building. This includes heat conduction in solids, internal long wave radiation processes, solar radiation, and optical and thermal properties of windows. Numerical techniques are introduced, such as finite difference methods, numerical integration to calculate view factors, the radiosity method, and a simplified raytracing algorithm. A zone model finally integrates the respective multi physics heat transfer into a single model. Air flows between spaces are treated by a nodal network method. A geometric model thereby forms the basis of the discussed discretization methods. We therefore recapitulate the basic geometrical representation of objects and explain the issue of integration in terms of linking building information modeling and building performance simulation. Validation tests are performed with the developed model in terms of the VDI 6020/6007 benchmark definitions. For the thermal quality performance assessment, information is provided on the human energy balance and thermoregulation, the conditions for thermal comfort, the relevant prediction methods for both steady state uniform and inhomogeneous transient conditions, models to include peoples’ expectation and behavioral adaptation, and the relevant comfort envelopes and calculation methods. Examples clarify the application of the respective models in simulation.


  • Institute of Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Building [312410]
  • University Library [021000]