IIIT-Hyderabad professor writes first-of-its-kind Building Energy Simulation workbook

Buildings are responsible for a large amount of energy consumption and carbon emission across the globe. Efforts to improve building energy efficiency have been taking place globally. Energy simulation can help to design and construct energy-efficient buildings.

Building energy simulation is the use of a physics-based software to predict the energy use of a building by making a virtual model of the building and taking it through the weather conditions varying from few days to an entire year. Building Energy simulation can also help in peak load reduction and sizing of various building equipment. The integrated approach to design using building energy simulation helps in achieving efficiency cost-effectively.

The use of energy simulation in the building design process is important, and various software tools are available. However, it is difficult to use them as there is a steep learning curve and the user should be able to understand and appreciate the building physics behind these tools. Students and researchers wanting to learn energy simulation need systematic exercises and examples but there is lack of workbooks in the market. A book that helps students learn in an interactive way using examples and exercises on energy simulations is the need of the hour.

Building Energy Simulation: A Workbook Using DesignBuilder, by Dr Vishal Garg and co-authors, published in 2017, is the first workbook of this kind globally that teaches the skill of building energy simulation through the use of examples and will prove to be of immense value to students of the subject.

Dr Vishal Garg

Dr. Vishal Garg is the associate professor and head of the Center for IT in Building Science, International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad, India. His current research interests are in the areas of energy simulation and cool roofs. He teaches building automation and controls, energy simulation and lighting design and technology. He has conducted several national and international workshops on intelligent buildings, green buildings and energy simulation.

The book describes various components and systems of a building and their effect on energy consumption, with the help of an energy simulation tool. It explains simulation input parameters, along with how to do analysis of the simulation output. With minimal use of mathematical equations, the basics of building physics and energy simulation are explained using words, illustrative examples, charts, tables, and figures. Starting with energy simulation tutorials as an introduction, the reader is guided through chapters on building geometry, materials and constructions, openings and shading, lighting and controls, heating/cooling design, HVAC systems (unitary and central), simulation parameters, natural ventilation and energy code compliance.

Much of the value in the book is in the structured hands-on tutorials which guide readers step by step towards solutions to a number of common simulation problems. Each tutorial starts by explaining the learning objectives and what exactly will be learnt. Then a more specific “problem” explanation is followed by the “solution” consisting of a set of steps which, when followed, provide answers to the problem.

Building Energy Simulation

This book covers natural ventilation modelling, this will help the users to design passive/mixed mode buildings. Energy Code compliance modeling can help user to design their building as per codes such as ECBC. Whole building performance method is generally used when tradeoff between different building components is needed for code compliance. The book explains manually setting up baseline building HVAC systems with some detailed guidance on setting the appropriate number of chillers, chilled water supply temperature reset, economizers, unmet hours etc.

According to Dr. Mahabir Bhandari, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA, “this book would be helpful in understanding the building energy modeling through a step by step understanding of various building components that affect the overall building energy consumption. Use of Graphic User Interfaces would help in widespread use of EnergyPlus, a flagship simulation engine funded by US Department of Energy.”

P C Thomas, Team Catalyst Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia also explained that “a student who chooses to work systematically through the exercises documented in the book will have a good grasp of the fundamentals of building energy simulation. The approach used in the book to teach the skill of building energy simulation through the use of examples will be of immense value to students of the subject.”