Practices

AN OPTIMIZATION PROCEDURE BASED ON THERMAL DISCOMFORT MINIMIZATION TO SUPPORT THE DESIGN OF COMFORTABLE NET ZERO ENERGY BUILDINGS

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The European standard EN 15251 specifies design criteria for dimensioning of building systems. In detail, it proposes that the adaptive comfort model is used, at first, for dimensioning passive means; but, if indoor operative temperature does not meet the chosen long-term adaptive comfort criterion in the “cooling season”, the design would include a mechanical cooling system. In this case, the reference design criteria are provided according to the Fanger comfort model. However, there is a discontinuity by switching from the adaptive to the Fanger model, since the best building variant, according to the former, may not coincide with the optimal according to the latter.
In this paper, an optimization procedure to support the design of a comfort-optimized net zero-energy building is proposed. It uses an optimization engine (GenOpt) for driving a dynamic simulation engine (EnergyPlus) towards those building variants that minimize, at first, two seasonal long-term discomfort indices based on an adaptive model; and if indoor conditions do not meet the adaptive comfort limits or the analyst’s expectations, it minimizes two seasonal long-term discomfort indices based on the Fanger model. The calculation of such indices has been introduced in EnergyPlus via the Energy Management System module, by writing computer codes in the EnergyPlus Reference Language.
The used long-term discomfort indices proved to provide similar ranking capabilities of building variants, even if they are based on different comfort models, and the proposed procedure meets the two-step procedure suggested by EN 15251 without generating significant discontinuities.

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