Building & Climate

Connecting Inside and Outside

Buildings are not independent systems –the indoor climate and physics of the building interact continuously with the outside microclimate. The scale of interaction extends to other neighboring buildings, especially in urban areas, through the modification of wind flow, solar access, and energy exchange.

Most modern buildings are no longer monolithic systems that exist independently from the environ-ment and consume energy to maintain their own metabolism. Today, buildings are designed with awareness of climatic conditions and often allow zones of smooth transitions between the inner parts of the building and the outdoors. To understand the microclimate conditions in these transition zones, the modelling system must factor in the dynamics of both the indoor and the outdoor system.

ENVI-met estimates the energy and exchange processes between the open space and indoor environment.

A group of buildings, together with urban surroundings such as green areas and traffic infrastructure, form a complex and dynamic landscape. This system includes construction materials with varying surface properties and color, and a vast range of open spaces like squares, parks and roadways.

In order to understand the contribution of individual buildings to the urban microclimate system and to assess the energy exchange between the interior of the building and the outside microclimate, all elements must be accounted for in an integrated simulation framework. The holistic and high-resolution approach of ENVI-met allows for the simulation of the microscale urban metabolism as a complex system and the energy fluxes at the individual façade element of a single building.

 

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Building Physics

Buildings constitute the interface between the indoor world and the outdoor climate. To understand how the dynamics of the urban climate impact a building’s energy consumption, an integrated model of building physics is essential.

Sustainable and resilient planning solutions require looking at the underlying processes at a variety of scales – from the reflectivity of a single construction material to the impact of a building arrangement at a neighborhood scale.

 

High-resolution simulation of façade temperatures and wind speed patterns with ENVI-met.

The trend towards urbanization has made it increasingly important to study the impact of urban climate on the thermal warming trends at a regional and global scale, as well as the impact on the energy consumption of buildings. Buildings can be seen as the atomic units of the urban metabolism – the energy exchange processes at the outer envelope of a building modifies local microclimate conditions that influence the broader urban climate.

ENVI-met analyses the energy performance of each building in the model domain in parallel with the calculation of the outdoor microclimate conditions. As wind and sun are the primary factors controlling the thermodynamics of a surface and the distribution of heat, the building model is directly coupled to the outdoor fluid dynamics model providing detailed wind data for each second of the day for each wall and façade segment of the building.

 

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