Politecnico di Torino (logo)

Ferrara, Maria

Modeling zero energy buildings : technical and economical optimization.

Rel. Marco Filippi, Enrico Fabrizio, Francesco Causone, Joseph Virgone. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura costruzione citta', 2013


This thesis was born in the context of new challenges imposed by the recast of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, concerning nearly Zero Energy Buildings and cost optimal level research. The aim of the work is to provide useful method and tools that could support technical and cost optimal level research, providing an easy and fast way to explore various place-based building configuration with a huge number of simulations, as requested by European Standard and guidelines. The work has been supported by the Région Rhône Alpes COOPERA-2012 project “Modélisation des bâtiments zéro-énergie : optimisation technico-économique”, whose partners are the university laboratory CETHIL-Centre Thermique de Lyon, the Energy Department of Politecnico di Torino, the enterprise “Maison et residence CORBIOLI" of Rhone-Alpes Region, the competent office “Echo Energies Solutions” of Lyon. The main part of the working activity has been carried out at the CETHIL laboratory, in Lyon.

The first part of the work consists in a deep study of the regulatory framework composed by Directives, Standards and guidelines at the European level, and regulations and labels at the French national level. Then the attention moved to computer tools, the use of which is able to help designers and researchers to deal with the new challenges. In particular, among the building simulation software, the use of TRNSYS -Transient System Simulation Tool- has been explored. With regard to the optimization theme, the genetic algorithms methodologies for optimization have been studied within the software GenOpt - Generic Optimization program. Then, possibilities for coupling of the software have been researched through a bibliographic study on previous works and experiences described in some scientific papers and through a personal research activity.

The second part of the thesis concentrates on a case-study. The so-called “Corbioli House” is a high-performance single-family house situated in the Rhone Alpes region of France. The house was built as an exhibition pavilion of nZEB and was monitored with several temperature sensors and a weather station. In teamwork with other French students, the building and its complex energy system (composed by a reversible air/air heat pump, a mechanical ventilation system and a geothermal pre-heating system) have been modelled using TRNSYS. Then theresults of the model, in terms of indoor temperatures and energy consumptions, have been compared to the real data obtained from the monitoring system, so that the model has been calibrated and validated.

The so-adjusted model was then used to carry out the main part of the work, concerning optimization. With regard to technical optimization, some elements of the building envelope have been chosen and set as parameters, such as the insulation thickness, the window type and dimension, the solar protection dimension, the inertial mass. Using GenOpt a parametric study has been performed, in order to evaluate the impact of variation of each parameter on heating, cooling and total energy needs of the house (without taking into account the energy system efficiency), starting from four different initial performance scenarios. The same parametric study has been done on two other building prototypes, similar to the first one except for the envelope. Finally the obtained results (concerning the massive internal insulated envelope, the massive external insulated envelope and the light wooden envelope) have been compared.

As a further step, a cost function based on French market prices has been created for each parameter of each envelope system. Besides the heat pump, three energy systems (a gas condensation boiler, a wood boiler and an all-electrical radiator system) have been created in TRNSYS, together with its cost function. Finally, the three envelope systems with related parameters have been combined with the four energy systems and, with the help of GenOpt optimization algorithm, twelve cost-optimal curves (based on the Global Cost Method) have been obtained and compared, evaluating strength and weaknesses of each building configuration.

Relatori: Marco Filippi, Enrico Fabrizio, Francesco Causone, Joseph Virgone
Soggetti: A Architettura > AD Bioarchitettura
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura costruzione citta'
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3436


Abstract (English)



List of figures

1 Introduction: COOPERA Project

1.1 Context

1.2 Objectives and actors

2 Regulatory framework

2.1 ZEB and Cost Optimality in European Directives

2.1.1 EPBD

2.1.2 EPBD recast

2.1.3 Cost optimal methodology

2.2 French regulation towards nZEB

2.2.1 French RT 2012

2.2.2 Evolution of labels

2.2.3 Experiences and future developements in France

3 Simulation and optimization tools

3.1 Building simulation software

3.1.1 The used tool: TRNSYS

3.2 Optimization software

3.2.1 The used tool: GenOpt

3.2.2 Setting a complex optimization problem

3.3 Using TRNSYS with GenOpt

3.3.1 Template files

3.3.2 Project files

4 The Maison Corbioli as a case study: description

4.1 Elements for a bioclimatic conception

4.1.1 The shape

4.1.2 Insulation

4.1.3 Passive energy gains

4.1.4 Inertia wall

4.1.5 Airtighness

4.2 Energy systems

4.2.1 T-ZEN system

4.2.2 Puits canadien

4.2.3 Photovoltaic panels

5 The Corbioli House as a case study: monitoring and model

5.1 Monitoring

5.1.1 Instrumentation

5.1.2 Occupancy simulation

5.1.3 Results

5.2 TRNSYS model

5.2.1 Boundary conditions model

5.2.2 Building model

5.2.3 Energy system model

5.2.4 Canadian well model

5.3 Comparison between results from monitoring and simulation

6 Technical evaluation and optimization

6.1 Corbioli House 1.0: massive structure with internal insulation

6.1.1 Parameters

6.1.2 Results of parametric study

6.1.3 Corbioli House 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3: modifying the initial configuration ..

6.1.4 Optimal configuration of Corbioli House 1.0

6.2 Corbioli House 2.0: massive structure with external insulation

6.2.1 Parameters

6.2.2 Optimal configuration of Corbioli House 2.0

6.3 Corbioli House 3.0: light wooden structure

6.3.1 Parameters

6.3.2 Optimal configuration of Corbioli House 3.0

6.4 Evaluation and comparison of envelope systems

7 Financial optimization

7.1 Building construction cost functions

7.1.1 Opaque envelope of Corbioli House 1

7.1.2 Opaque envelope of Corbioli House 2

7.1.3 Opaque envelope of Corbioli House 3

7.1.4 Transparent envelope: window types

7.1.5 Other building elements related to set parameters

7.2 Energy systems models and costs

7.2.1 Energy system 1: reversible heat pump and mechanical ventilation

7.2.2 Energy system 2: traditional all-electrical system

7.2.3 Energy system 3: condensing boiler and air-conditioning fans

7.2.4 Energy system 4: wood-pellet boiler and air-conditioning fans

7.3 Results of economical optimizations

7.3.1 Corbioli Houses 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

7.3.2 Corbioli Houses 1.2, 2.2, 3.2

7.3.3 Optimization of envelope with energy system 2

7.3.4 Corbioli Houses 1.3, 2.3, 3.3

7.3.5 Optimization of envelope system with energy system 3

7.3.6 Corbioli Houses 1.4, 2.4, 3.4 201

7.3.7 Optimization of envelope system with energy system 4

7.3.8 General optimization of envelope 1 201

7.3.9 General optimization of envelope 2 201

7.3.10 General optimization of envelope 3 201

8 Conclusions and future developments 209



ClimaMED paper


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