Simulation Software Application: Analyzing Energy Utilization Intensity of Architectural Design Options

By Payman Sadeghi and Michael D. Utzinger.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Architectural designs, in the past, were usually integrated with contextual climatic surroundings to enhance comfort conditions. Although modern architecture also aimed at increasing human comfort level, ecological consciousness was less considered in the process of architectural design. Today, integration of energy management into the early stages of architectural design, as a function of ecological/sustainable consciousness, is a paradigm of the contemporary architecture and of crucial concern. This paper intends to evaluate impact of different design options on the annual energy utilization intensity (EUI) of buildings. TRNSYS, transient systems simulation program, was used to simulate a sample module in a hypothetical building with six design options in three typical climate conditions of Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Phoenix. These six variables were: “Orientation”, “Amount of Glazing”, “Number of Panes”, “Shading”, “Wall Insulation”, and “Occupancy.” The result of the sixteen runs from the simulation program has been interpreted through a quantitative approach. Ultimately, the impact of each variable, for each of the three climates, will be elaborated in the three following sections: the module’s annual EUI, heating/cooling, and its associated economic analysis.

Keywords: TRNSYS, Simulation, Ecological Design Process, Architectural Design, Energy Utilization Intensity, Passive System

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.131-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.905MB).

Payman Sadeghi

PhD Student and Teacher Assistant, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), Milwaukee, USA

Payman Sadeghi is an architect whose primary scholarship is in the field of ecological and sustainable theory, design, and education. Payman is currently a second year PhD student in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UWM. He holds a Bachelor and Master in architecture from Qazvin Azad University. Currently, he is working on innovative sustainable passive systems to inform the process of ecological design in the field of architecture practice and education. Payman has practiced for almost ten years, and also specializes in community design. During his two-year design consulting position at the Community Design Solution Center at UWM, he participated in multiple community workshops and design charrettes. Payman’s areas of interest include ecological and sustainable design, green architecture, high-performance buildings, passive and active systems, innovative building technology, resilient urban design, architectural programming, ecological design process, and community design.

Michael D. Utzinger

Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), MILWAUKEE, USA

Michael received a Bachelor of Architecture form the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1973. In 1977 he entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study at the Solar Energy Laboratory. While researching passive solar buildings, he wrote computer simulation models of shading devices, windows and Trombe walls for the thermal simulation program TRNSYS, a program he still uses today. He received a Master of Science in Engineering in 1979. In 1980 he joined the Department of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. An architect and professional engineer, Michael has over 30 years experience in energy efficient high performance building design and research. He has been an energy and environmental consultant on a number of Wisconsin’s well-known green buildings such as Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, designed to be Net Zero. It was the first building to receive a LEED Innovation Point for Carbon Neutral Operation. He also wrote the LEED Innovation and Design Credit for carbon neutral building operation, which was accepted by the USGBC.