Loughborough University
Thesis-2000-Wren.pdf (25.77 MB)

Computer simulation of intelligent building facades

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posted on 2010-11-25, 10:30 authored by Duncan E. Wren
The economic and environmental benefits secured through the increased integration of photovoltaic (PV) technology into the built environment are undeniable and provide the principal motivation for this research. Present delays in the technology transfer of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) can be attributed to the following; material cost, performance guarantee, increased installation complexity and unfamiliar technology. It is well understood that the temperature of a PV material receiving solar irradiation, will increase with solar intensity, while reducing in electrical efficiency. It therefore makes economic sense to minimise the increase in PV material temperature and maximise electrical energy yield. Through the addition of a convecting fluid, flowing over the surface of heated PV material, heat transfer will be induced. With the added benefit of warm air capture from an integrated photovoltaic/thermal (PVT) collector, the economic benefits are increased. But, to ensure maximum utilisation of both thermal and electrical energy production, a significantly more complex control system has to be employed than that for a PV system on its own. Modelling the energy flows within a multifunctional PVT building facade presents a problem of considerable complexity. Previous work in this area has centred on performing finite element analysis of the system in order to find solutions to complex algorithms. It requires considerable computational power to perform these calculations and often the results produced are much more detailed than required. Within this thesis, a fully operational PVT facade model is presented, giving the potential for improved multifunctional facade design. This new model has been developed into a software program for use within the TRNSYS environment. By using the TRNSYS software, a detailed building model has been created and integrated with the new PVT facade model. Simulations were then undertaken to evaluate the energy transfers between internal and external environments and the electrical and thermal energy capturing capabilities of the facade. Simulated results have been evaluated against experimental data taken from a fully operational PVT facade. The results conclude that the presented model simulates the energy flows around, through and within the facade (radiative, conductive, convective and electrical) very well. Performance enhancing development work is due to take place on the operational facade analysed in this work, very soon. This new facade model will be used as a tool to evaluate the proposed changes to the building prior to this development work being undertaken.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© Duncan E. Wren

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en

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    Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering Theses


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