Dynamic thermal models: reliability for domestic building design

This paper describes a three year UK initiative—Applicability Study 1-to enhance the usability and credibility of detailed thermal simulation programs with particular reference. to the design of passive solar dwellings. Researchers at Leicester Polytechnic and the Building Research Establishment are working with ESP, HTB2 and SERIRES. The aims are to identify the problems for which these programs can be used reliably and those for which they cannot, to provide guidance on the best modelling techniques, indicate the uncertainty inherent in predictions, identify the attributes of programs which are necessary to obtain reliable results, and indicate areas in which additional theoretical or experimental research is needed. The results to date show that good agreement in some design trends can be obtained provided a high level of quality control is exercised and program users have a good understanding of the theoretical basis of the programs. There were, however, some situations in which the programs still predicted significant differences in the trends in energy consumption as the building design changed. These may be explained by the different algorithms employed by the detailed thermal simulation programs and errors in them.