Multi-aspect energy performance of building form in eight U.S. climate zones
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This research examines how building massing and building form impacts on multiple levels of building energy usage and inspects sensitivity of form parameters against other components using a building energy simulation-based framework. Based on literature review, a new concept, Relative Compactness (RC) is implemented throughout the research as the leading form characteristic to evaluate and validate the energy performance impact of building massing and form parameters. From an architectural design perspective, the RC is coupled with window sizes, window distribution and orientation; they are collectively treated as defining building form. It was found that a decrease of RC shows strong correlation with the increase of building energy usage in comparison to a cubic form for major building types located in different climate zones. In the study of the building form, a comprehensive comparison of multiple energy saving measures is conducted to rank the energy saving potentials of various parameters, include HVAC system type, cooling EER, heating COP, lighting power density, daylighting sensor, occupancy sensor, window U-value window and roof R-value, in a building energy simulation-based model. Building form impacts energy usage significantly depending on the range of the parameters defined in this study, especially the window related properties including the unit U-value, window area and distribution over different building facade orientations. Overall, the energy saving variation of all the evaluated strategies is highly interactive, and one component could affect the total energy consumption greatly. It is important to make sure each aspect of a project guarantees a proper efficiency level to maximize its effect. The results are discussed and shown to vary by climate zone.
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