This work aims at developing a closed-form correlation between key building design variables and its energy use. The results can be utilized during the initial design stages to assess the different building shapes and designs according to their expected energy use. Prototypical, 20-floor office buildings were used. The relative compactness, footprint area, projection factor, and window-to-wall ratio were changed and the resulting buildings performances were simulated. In total, 729 different office buildings were developed and simulated in order to provide the training cases for optimizing the correlation’s coefficients. Simulations were done using the VisualDOE TM software with a Typical Meteorological Year data file, Kuwait City, Kuwait. A real-coded genetic algorithm (GA) was used to optimize the coefficients of a proposed function that relates the energy use of a building to its four key parameters. The figure of merit was the difference in the ratio of the annual energy use of a building normalized by that of a reference building. The objective was to minimize the difference between the simulated results and the four-variable function trying to predict them. Results show that the real-coded GA was able to come up with a function that estimates the thermal performance of a proposed design with an accuracy of around 96%, based on the number of buildings tested. The goodness of fit, roughly represented by R2, ranged from 0.950 to 0.994. In terms of the effects of the various parameters, the area was found to have the smallest role among the design parameters. It was also found that the accuracy of the function suffers the most when high window-to-wall ratios are combined with low projection factors. In such cases, the energy use develops a potential optimum compactness. The proposed function (and methodology) will be a great tool for designers to inexpensively explore a wide range of alternatives and assess them in terms of their energy use efficiency. It will also be of great use to municipality officials and building codes authors.

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