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Optimizing energy efficiency and thermal comfort in building green retrofit

Highlights•A simulated-based energy-comfort optimization model is developed for building green retrofit.•Sensitive parameters influencing energy consumption and thermal comfort are identified.•A school building in China is chosen as a case to validate the developed model.•Multi-objective optimal solution for building green retrofit produces 4 % of energy savings.•It contributes to designers' decision-making and promoting green building development.AbstractBuilding green retrofit offers significant opportunities for enhancing energy efficiency and achieving green development goals. However, a conflicting criterion exists between energy conservation and thermal comfort improvement when making optimal design solutions for building retrofit. This study presents a simulation-based energy-comfort optimization model to facilitate evaluating various design alternatives and balancing multiple objectives in building green retrofit. A building simulation model is first established to measure energy consumption and comfort level. Then, a multi-objective optimization method (response surface method) is employed to identify critical building parameters and generates a set of alternative plans for building retrofit based on green building standards. After that, optimal design solutions with trade-offs between thermal comfort and energy demand are obtained. A school building in Wuhan city of China is chosen as a case to validate the developed model, and ten building parameters pertaining to energy demand and environmental comfort are considered in the optimization process. The results show that four parameters are significantly sensitive to energy efficiency and thermal comfort, including insulation thickness of the external wall, the heat transmission coefficient of the roof, solar heat gain coefficient of the external window, and window to wall ratio. The optimal combination of four parameters approximately produces 4 % of energy savings, as well as an improving level of environmental comfort. The study benefits designers and construction managers to determine optimal solutions for building retrofit to achieve better energy efficiency and comfort in green building development.


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