Energy simulation (ES) computer programs have been and still are widely used in the design and analysis of building energy systems. However, most ES programs assume that the air in the indoor building space is well mixed. As a result such programs cannot accurately predict building energy consumption for buildings with non-uniform air temperature distributions in the indoor space. They also cannot predict variations in thermal comfort levels in different parts of the building. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), as a result, has become quite widely used in the design and evaluation of buildings energy systems in recent years. CFD can be used, for example, to predict the thermal comfort, natural lighting, natural ventilation, spread of smoke and contaminants in the building, and indoor air quality in a building. As a result it is proving to be an extremely valuable tool in the design of buildings and building systems. This, together with the fact that today’s commercial CFD software packages are relatively easy to use, has led to this quite widespread adoption of CFD methods in building energy analysis. Energy usage in buildings can be decreased by, for example, the use of daylighting (use of solar illumination in place of artificial lighting), by the use of natural ventilation, and by solar heating. CFD analysis provides a means of relatively accurately studying the effect of building design on the effectiveness of daylighting, natural ventilation, and solar heating. Another example of the use of CFD is in the study of the effect of various window blind arrangements on the building performance. In order for a CFD package to be used effectively in building energy analysis it should allow the use of a wide range of turbulence models, it should allow the incident solar radiation on the building to be found and used in the calculation of the indoor flow and temperature fields, it should allow the radiant heat exchange in the building to be incorporated into the calculation, and it should allow the effects of the thermal masses of the walls, floors, etc. to be easily incorporated into the calculation when they are deemed to be important. In this paper, the use of CFD methods in building energy analysis will be discussed as will some applications of CFD in building design. The use of CFD methods in developing design guidelines for particular types of buildings will also be briefly discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.