The paper studies the ventilated façade as a potential alternative to conventional coating technologies for the thermal insulation of building’s external walls. The ventilated façade is modeled by means of a CFD approach that accounts for the full 3D-geometry of the building, the walls thickness and materials’ thermal properties. The effects of the windows on the heat losses and in the performance of the ventilated façade are modeled in order to accurately characterize the thermal behavior of the system. The solar radiative heat transfer during two representative days of the year is considered in the analysis and a multiband thermal radiation is adopted to capture the different nature of radiative heat exchange according to the light wavelengths.

The numerical approach enables to estimate the thermo-fluid dynamic behavior of the system and the temperature distribution and the velocity flow field within the air gap between the walls are addressed and their influence on the heat transfer through the building’s external walls is determined. The CFD analysis is employed to compare different configurations of the ventilated façade for improving the thermal insulation of the building; the performance of each scenario is determined in terms of electric energy and fuel consumption for the air conditioning and the heating system. Thus, the potential saving of the energy cost for ambient thermal conditioning is evaluated.

The analysis investigates the effects on the energy efficiency of different geometrical features of the system such as the height of the building and the air gap thickness and theoretical correlations are derived in order to estimate the best tradeoff between the energy efficiency of the building and the investment of the ventilated façade configuration.

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