Journal article

Numerical simulation study of BIPV/T double-skin facade for various climate zones in Australia: effects on indoor thermal comfort

Sustainable building design and construction Thermal environment Building simulation Australia

Maintaining indoor thermal comfort is crucial for the health and productivity of building occupants. Building envelope plays a major role in influencing the impact of outdoor climate and controlling the indoor thermal conditions.

In this paper, comparative analysis of indoor comfortable temperature for four different types of building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPV/T) building models in a range of climate zones in Australia was conducted using TRNSYS simulation tool. In terms of system operational mode, the four types of BIPV/T building facade systems include a building-integrated photovoltaic single-skin facade (SSF), non-ventilated BIPV/T double-skin facade (BIPV/T-DSF), naturally ventilated BIPV/T-DSF and fan-assisted BIPV/T-DSF. In addition to the operational modes of the facade systems, two types of semi-transparent PV glazing with different visible light transmittance (VLT) were respectively applied to the models as external window glazing. The numerical results showed that the naturally ventilated BIPV/T-DSF with lower VLT (27%) PV glazing maintained a relatively better indoor temperature for the hot climatic conditions compared to the other operational modes, while the non-ventilated BIPV/T-DSF with higher VLT PV glazing (37.5%) offered more comfortable indoor temperature (i.e. 20 to 26 °C for office hours) for the cold climates in Australia. On the other hand, the naturally ventilated BIPV/T-DSF could basically maintain comfortable indoor temperatures from 22 to 27 °C during office hours without mechanical systems for the peak summer times for cool temperate climates in Australia. Moreover, it was found that the thermal insulation effect of semi-transparent PV glazing hardly affected indoor operative temperature in the ventilated modes of the BIPV/T-DSF. According to the sensitivity analysis, the change of U-value of internal window of the DSF would significantly lead to the change of indoor thermal comfort in both ventilated operational modes, but very few changes for the non-ventilated DSF. The variation of cavity depth had distinct impact on the indoor thermal comfort for fan-assisted DSF but slightly affected that of other modes. In addition, the changes of opening ratio for the ventilating louvers and fan airflow rate of the DSF also had a degree of influence on indoor thermal comfort for naturally ventilated DSF and fan-assisted DSF respectively.

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