01.11.17 - Buildings both influence and react to urban microclimate. To design more energy efficient cities, especially in the context of globally rising temperatures, it is essential to be able to model and link the processes involved in these interactions. In a recent paper published in PLOS ONE, Dr Dasaraden Mauree of the EPFL Solar Energy and Buildings Physics Laboratory describes a new multi-scale neighbourhood modelling method that couples a meteorological model (CIM) with the urban energy simulation model CitySim.

Energy consumption simulation tools working at the building or neighbourhood scale have in the past commonly been forced with climatic conditions collected outside of urban areas and averaged over several years. Since neither on-site prevailing climatic conditions nor interactions between buildings and the outdoor environment were taken into account, the results were less than accurate. The one-dimensional Canopy Interface Model (CIM) was developed to include a high-resolution vertical profile for wind, potential temperature and humidiy. This model has been coupled to the urban energy modelling tool CitySim to improve the climatic boundary conditions used in the calculation of the urban energy balance.

Validated through a series of experiments on the EPFL campus, the new multiscale modelling method has yielded some interesting results with regard to the sensitivity of building and urban forms to the local environment as well as with respect to Minergie certified buildings.

D. Mauree, S. Coccolo, J. Kaempf and J.-L. Scartezzini. Multi-scale modelling to evaluate building energy consumption at the neighbourhood scale, in PLoS ONE, vol. 12, num. 9, p. e0183437, 2017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183437

Author:Barbara SmithSource:Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory