Evaluation of buildings’ flexibility potential with respect to their embedded thermal mass

Master Thesis by Emmanouil Katsigiannis, March 2015

Abstract – Towards the mitigation of climate chance and the reduction of green-house-gas emissions,
cities, nowadays, persistently tend to increase the power generated from renewable energy
resources. The penetration of renewables, however, implies several side-effects. Renewable
energy sources such as wind and solar energy constitute inflexible energy sources, which are
difficult to manage within an energy system. In addition, the rapid urbanization and its sideeffects
in the energy sector, further deteriorates the situation. This combination of increasing
energy demand with inflexible ways to produce energy motivates researchers to come up with
innovative and effective solutions in order to deal with such challenging issue. Such solutions
constitute the concept of smart cities.
One way to deal with such mater is to explore possible means of energy storage in smart cities.
Considering that the building sector currently occupies a fundamental role to cities, the
investigation of available capacitances in the existing building stock would be a plausible
target. Moving towards this direction, it is essential to search for applicable technologies that
can create capacitances for energy storage in buildings. Subsequently, a city scale application
of such patterns could contribute more effectively to the mitigation of peak demands. .
The current project deals with the issue of peak load management by utilizing the existing
capacities of a building with respect to its heat demand. Such capacities are “hidden” in
buildings’ passive behaviour, which is directly linked with their construction.
In order to assess buildings thermal behaviour, an existing building case is implemented in a
building simulation tool named IDA ICE. Initially, this building model is validated with the
full-scale measurements conducted.
Based on the validated model, parameter variation with three different scenarios is carried out
in order to evaluate the possibility of short-term energy storage, which indicates the flexibility
potential of the examined building model. The first scenario is a proof of concept which
examines the effectiveness of the material used as thermal mass by comparing a heavy and a
light weight construction. The second scenario investigates how accurately the simulation of
building’s thermal behaviour is. Finally, the third scenario uses a preheating pattern in order to
quantify the time interval of the evaluated flexibility potential. Based on the outcome of the
project, it could be highlighted that heavy weight construction is proved as more effective for
storing amounts of heat within its thermal mass. Additionally, a heavily constructed building
combined with a preheating pattern could lead to significant a heat storage, which could
accomplish a significant peak load shifting.MSc Thesis Emmanouil Katsigiannis s121405 (final submitted)

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Proposal: Commissioning & BIM – DTU Building 202

DTU Campus Service is one of the frontrunner for commissioning and BIM. The newest project Building 202 is “state of the art” in these processes and there is a lot of knowledge to gain by being part of these processes.

We are looking for students that qualify

  • the commissioning process for the building
  • the BIM delivery process

If you having interested with respect to such processes, you will be part of the most ambitious building developments in our time in Denmark. We would prefer to have a team of students to do the work in combination.

We will be the right supervisors in close collaboration with DTU CAS, consultants and architects. Contact med for getting it started http://www.dtu.dk/Service/Telefonbog/Person?id=2685&cpid=1634&tab=1.

Tool supported integrated building designing – Theis Anderson

Project name: Tool supported integrated building designing

Project student: Theis Andersson

Project status: May – August 2013

Publication: Værktøj til Integreret design af bygning 303 (officiel aflevering)

Course type: Master project

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller, DTU Civil Engineering in cooperation with Campus Service, Rørdam og Møller Arkitekter and Alectia consultants.

Summary: The project aims at improving the integration of engineering support in the design process of architects at early stages. This is done in a real case where three buildings at the DTU Campus are connected by a new complex consisting of 2 prolongations of existing buildings and a connecting glass atrium. The goal is to improve the tool set for sustainable designing developed in the previous special project by Theis and demonstrate the applicability in the case study.

Vision talk: The project implements “tool supported integrated designing” into the development of a sustainable university campus, hereby supporting the vision of sustainability in general, but also the goal to enable architects to design their ideas based on engineering knowledge with minimal distribution in work flow.

Building certification picture

Sustainable building certification – Renovation or demolition? – Charlotte Schou

Project name: Sustainable building certification:  Inspiration, definition and documentation for a decision process between renovation versus demolition.

Project student: Charlotte Schou

Project status: March – August 2013

Publication: Specialerapport_FINAL

Course type: Master project

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller, DTU Civil Engineering & Peter Weitzmann, Cowi

Summary: The aim of the project is to define a method for deciding between renovation or demolishing of existing buildings. To have a well-defined set of criteria to build the decision on, sustainability certification schema are applied and supplied with characteristics of renovation that is not included in the certification schema. The method will be applied on real world case. The goal is to develop an method that visualized the many different aspects of the decision topology for a building owner to decide on. Hence communication of a wide range of different data will be one objective.

Vision talk: Decision support based on visualization of complex data, the application of advanced modelling and simulation tools to generate necessary information for the decision process and application of open standards are aspects from the overall vision that are addressed in this work.

Next step: The tool must be generalized and probably transformed into a web-application or even a mobile app. (Have you got the skills, than let’s hear from you).

3D building model picture

3D BIM for a comprehensive design proces – Theis Andersson

Project name: 3D BIM models – a more comprehensive design proces

Project student: Theis Andersen

Publication: En bedre sammenhæng i projektet (Danish, educational) (2013)

Course type: Special project, Autumn 2012

Supervisor: (Al)Fred Heller

Summary: The vision is to develop a web configuration tool through which customers are able to configure the building they want to buy. To be able to do so, the information describing the buildings, the products, characteristics and configuration options must be represented. This is done partly in a Building Information Model (BIM) in 3D CAD model within the tool Revit. The project defines a prototype building in Revit, informs the details in the BIM part and utilizes a set of components and computer programs to compute relevant information on e.g. price, scheduling, energy demand, indoor climate modelling and much more. For this purpose, the following components are applied:

  • Rockwool Energy Design (for the Danish building code computations) – alternatively Be10 can be used.
  • Sigma (for price calculations)
  • Navisworks (for planing)
  • Ecotect (for energy and indoor environment, daylight computations)

Most integration between the components has been possible, but the integration with Be10 did not work within newest versions, hence Rockwool Energy Design was applied instead.

Vision talk: Decision making towards a sustainable future demands interoperability between tools that generate and collect information on the decisions to be made. For building design, design tools must be supported dynamically by technical software from many different technical domains. It is not probable that there will be a single tool, handling all the computations. Hence a platform model is preferable.

Next step: The current project is a small step in a long process. There is a need for interoperability, getting the tools to work together in a automated way. The BIM data models are to be expanded, pricing more realistic and much more.  The whole integration with the web interface for configuration is not yet taken up. A simple way of doing so could be to dump the intermediate results and information in a file-tree to be utilized from a web solution.