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Development of a Solar House Design Methodology and its Implementation into a Design Tool


Development of a Solar House Design Methodology and its Implementation into a Design Tool

O'Brien, WT (2011) Development of a Solar House Design Methodology and its Implementation into a Design Tool. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
OBrien_PhD_F2011.pdf - Accepted Version


Buildings consume on the order of 40% of energy in Canada and the developed world. It has been demonstrated that buildings can supplement a large fraction (or all) of their energy use by collecting solar energy. In order to design such buildings, an integrated design process should be used, in which they are designed as a system rather than as discrete subsystems. Otherwise, opportunities for cost-savings are missed. Energy-conserving and energy-collecting upgrades should be considered early in the design process when costs can be minimized and disruptions to construction avoided. The optimal solution to solar buildings typically balances energy efficiency measures and energy generation, since they both have diminishing returns.
Houses that offset their energy use with solar energy generation cannot justify the formality of the use of multiple designers because of the associated costs and potential cost savings. Therefore there is a need for a design methodology for solar houses and a corresponding design tool that can be used to support the process. It should enable the energy modeling of all relevant subsystems and provide guidance towards the near-optimal design space. The tool – called Ecos - will focus on early stage design and should enable the design of a near-optimal house within about an hour.
This thesis covers both a solar house design tool and the prerequisite work. There are four major interconnected parts of the work, including; a detailed energy model of a solar house; innovative ways of graphically representing performance data, a detailed design methodology, and finally the design tool itself.
Ecos provides two main types of graphical feedback: 1) visualization of the design space and 2) visualization of key performance metrics during solar design days. One of the methods to support efficient design is to provide quasi real-time feedback to the user. In order to provide real-time feedback to support an efficient design process, a combination of shortened simulation periods and regression models are used.
The final part of this thesis discusses recently built solar house and applies the current model in a re-design study to examine potential further reductions in energy use.

Divisions:Concordia University > Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science > Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:O'Brien, WT
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Building Engineering
Date:2 October 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Athientis, A and Kesik, T
ID Code:7679
Deposited On:21 Nov 2011 20:30
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:31
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