Special Issue "Building Performance Analysis and Simulation"


A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ismet Ugursal
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax B3H 4R2, Nova Scotia, Canada
Website: http://www.dal.ca/faculty/engineering/mechanical/faculty-staff/our-faculty/professors/ismet-ugursal.html
E-Mail: ismet.ugursal@dal.ca
Phone: +1 902 494 2246
Fax: +1 902 423 6711
Interests: building stock modeling; building energy consumption and conservation; HVAC systems; energy efficient buildings; zero energy/emission buildings

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the complexity of energy and environmental systems in buildings increase, the need to assess a building’s performance from a variety of viewpoints, such as energy use and demand, comfort, day-lighting and renewable energy potential, increases. Owing to the complexity of the systems as well as the buildings themselves, the only way to conduct such assessments is by computer simulation. Thus, building performance analysis and simulation is now routinely required in new building/community planning and design, as well as for retrofit projects involving existing buildings/communities.

Considering the increasing use and importance of building performance analysis and simulation, Buildings has decided to devote a Special Issue to bring together articles that focus on this topic.

For this Special Issue of Buildings on “Building Performance Analysis and Simulation”, we are looking for original papers that report on topics such as:

  • software tools used in building performance analysis and simulation, including new approaches and software as well as critical/comparative evaluation of existing software
  • unique and interesting studies reporting on building performance analysis and simulation
  • studies that provide insight into building performance analysis and simulation
  • studies that report on the use of building performance analysis and simulation for policy making purposes

Original papers that address other related topics are also welcome.

The timeline for the special issue is as follows:

October 31, 2013: Abstracts/article proposals due (500 words maximum)
November 15, 2013: Notice of acceptance of proposals
February 28, 2014: Full manuscripts due

Papers will be published after acceptance following a full peer-review process.

Prof. Dr. V. Ismet Ugursal, PEng, FCSME
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • building performance analysis
  • building performance simulation
  • building performance modelling
  • building energy simulation
  • building energy simulation software
  • building performance metrics
  • building performance indicators
  • high performance buildings

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Displaying article 1-10
p. 762-763
Buildings 2014, 4(4), 762-763; doi:10.3390/buildings4040762
Received: 9 October 2014; Accepted: 13 October 2014 / Published: 17 October 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
p. 375-393
by , ,  and
Buildings 2014, 4(3), 375-393; doi:10.3390/buildings4030375
Received: 17 June 2014; in revised form: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
p. 355-374
by , , , ,  and
Buildings 2014, 4(3), 355-374; doi:10.3390/buildings4030355
Received: 5 March 2014; in revised form: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 25 June 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
p. 336-354
by  and
Buildings 2014, 4(3), 336-354; doi:10.3390/buildings4030336
Received: 17 April 2014; in revised form: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 25 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
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p. 266-294
by  and
Buildings 2014, 4(3), 266-294; doi:10.3390/buildings4030266
Received: 21 March 2014; in revised form: 4 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
p. 195-206
by ,  and
Buildings 2014, 4(2), 195-206; doi:10.3390/buildings4020195
Received: 13 March 2014; in revised form: 11 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 21 May 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
p. 95-112
by  and
Buildings 2014, 4(2), 95-112; doi:10.3390/buildings4020095
Received: 26 February 2014; in revised form: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
p. 43-59
by ,  and
Buildings 2014, 4(1), 43-59; doi:10.3390/buildings4010043
Received: 24 January 2014; in revised form: 27 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 13 March 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
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p. 27-42
by ,  and
Buildings 2014, 4(1), 27-42; doi:10.3390/buildings4010027
Received: 17 December 2013; in revised form: 20 February 2014 / Accepted: 21 February 2014 / Published: 5 March 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
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p. 674-688
by  and
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 674-688; doi:10.3390/buildings3040674
Received: 21 August 2013; in revised form: 27 September 2013 / Accepted: 29 September 2013 / Published: 4 October 2013
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Integrating Life Cycle Assessment into a BIM Workflow
Roderick Bates *, Stephanie Carlisle and Ryan Welch
While Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has emerged a consistent and reliable means of quantifying the embodied environmental impacts of materials and processes over their full life cycle, such assessments are rarely conducted for building projects, due to the significant cost, time, and skill required to perform a robust whole building LCA. In light of increasingly stringent energy codes that help reduce building operations energy consumption, possibly to near carbon- and energy-neutral levels within the next 20 years, the embodied environmental impact of building materials will become more significant, making the accessibility and pervasiveness of LCA practices necessary. The authors have responded to this challenge by developing a novel software application that allows project designers to conduct Life Cycle Assessment directly in the BIM (building information modeling) environment, utilizing the same model that is used for building design and other modes of building performance modeling and simulation, leveraging model details to generate accurate material quantities and environmental impact data. By generating LCA results in the same software in which design decisions and material selection occurs, the software offers the ability for LCA to become an integrated part of the design and decision making process. The outputs of this BIM-based methodology will be compared with those from the current LCA methodologies with respect to time required and accuracy of the output generated.  Differences between the demonstrated emerging technologies will also be highlighted, demonstrating the efficacy of a BIM-based approach.

Type of Paper: Article
Experimental and numerical analyses of newly developed massive wooden shear-wall systems
Pozza Luca 1,*, Scotta Roberto 1, Trutalli Davide 1, Polastri Andrea 2and Bertoni Paolo 3

1. Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering - University of Padua, Italy
2. Trees and Timber Institute of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR IVALSA) San Michele all’Adige, Italy
3. Cluster legno & tecnica TIS innovation park Bolzano, Italy
Constructive systems adopting massive wooden shear-walls are becoming widespread in construction practice, particularly for precast buildings. The adoption of such constructive system allows to reach excellent thermal and acoustic insulation performance due to the massiveness of the structure. The demonstration of their structural behaviour, especially towards the earthquake resistance is still to be given, since their resistance, stiffness, ductility and dissipative capacities still need to be fully assessed. Three different massive wooden shear-wall systems (Cross-Laminated-Glued-Wall, Cross-Laminated-Stapled-Wall and Layered Wall with dovetail inserts) were analysed by means of experimental tests and numerical simulations. The examined specimens differ mainly in the methodology used to assemble the layers of timber boards that compose the massive wall. In Cross-Laminated-Glued-Wall panels are realized with alternatively oriented perpendicular layers glued together. In Cross-Laminated-Stapled-Wall glue is replaced by metallic staples. In Layered Wall the layers of vertically oriented boards are joined by means of perpendicular dovetail inserts. Independently of their assembling such massive walls are connected to the basement by means of mechanical connectors, such as hold-down and angle brackets, fastened with nails or screws. The experimental tests were conducted in mechanical testing laboratories of CNR-IVALSA (TN). In accordance with the procedure prescribed by standard EN 12512 walls were tested under cyclic horizontal loading, under a constant vertical load. From the experimental load-displacement curve the mechanical properties of the examined specimens, (elastic stiffness, yielding point, ductility and hysteretic behaviour) were defined. The obtained results are reported and discussed. The same tests were reproduced using a nonlinear numerical model calibrated on the experimental results. The hysteretic response of the walls was reproduced using the K. Elwood model available in the library of OpenSees software. The so calibrated models were extended to the analysis of a complete three-storey plane model in order to obtain the seismic response of the three different case study systems. Nonlinear dynamic analyses were performed considering 15 artificially generated seismic records. The obtained results were used to assess the seismic performance of the examined wall systems in terms of behaviour factor q, according to the definition given by Eurocode 8 (CEN 2004). The so called “PGA approach” were used for the q-factor definition. Such approach computes the behaviour factor as the ratio between the PGA that leads the structure to the near-collapse condition and the PGA that was used to design the structure. The definitions of the design and collapse conditions are given for each shear-wall systems. A final discussion about the obtained results is reported.

Type of Paper: Article
A study of the performance evaluation of an inflow module in combined exhaust of small wind power system
Yong Woo Song 1,* and Jin Chul Park 2

1. Department of Architectureal Engineering, Chung Ang University, Korea
School of Architecture and Building Science, Chung Ang University, Korea
High-rise buildings that use large amounts of energy are becoming preferential targets in national energy-saving efforts. Because no obstacles exist in their surroundings, the applicability of renewable energy to high-rise buildings is high. Wind energy is considered to have the most superior applicability because of the wind acceleration related to the heights of buildings. However, winds occurring in downtown areas are not good sources of wind energy because they cannot be easily predicted and are not of sufficient strength. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the synergistic effects of air flows by harnessing exhaust winds applied with inflow modules for small wind power systems in high-rise apartments and evaluating the performance. To this end, a device to amplify exhaust winds was designed. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of the application were conducted. The results of this study are as follows: (1) The result of studying the application of exhaust systems on high-rise building in downtown areas and wind characteristic that exhaust system could be applied the outlet of rooftop and exhaust ducts for vertical shafts of kitchen and bath room. (2) An inflow module that can take in outside air to enhance exhaust performance was designed. The size of inflow module as flow ; under part is 500 mm, upper part is 400 mm obtain for Venturi effect. In additionally Inflow module was designed in a structure that could be stacked so that the height of the system could be adjusted to fit the wind environment in the relevant location. (3) Effects on outside air inflows and design of inflow module design of the appearance were evaluated using CFD simulation divided by one direction and multi direction. According to result of simulation, outside air inflows and discharge wind velocity of lower part in outlet were increased more than present outlet.

Type of Paper: Article
Exceedance Probability Analysis of Reinforced Masonry Shear Walls Based on ASCE 41 Performance Targets
J.W. van de Lindt *, J. Mazariegos
Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1372, USA
Reinforced masonry walls are used as the lateral force resisting system for buildings around the world. These structures, if detailed correctly perform well during earthquakes. However, if not detailed properly to resist earthquake loads and provide enough deformation capacity, they perform poorly and have resulted in casualties and economic loss. This paper presents the results of a study whose objective was to apply the seismic fragility methodology to reinforced masonry shear walls. Existing data from the George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) was used to develop hysteretic models of the masonry shear walls and quantify probabilities of exceedance for ASCE 41-06 performance requirements, which are based on peak transient drifts. Fragilities based on application of a suite of 22 earthquakes were developed for the peak transient drifts at roof level as defined in ASCE 41 for continued occupancy, life safety, and collapse prevention. Probabilities of exceedance ranged from 0.09 for immediate occupancy to near unity for collapse prevention indicating that exceedance of the ASCE 41 performance limits may be considered high for these particular wall designs.
words: fragility analysis; masonry walls; earthquake data; performance-based seismic design

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Review of analysis and simulation methods for different aspects of building performance
Author: Tarja Häkkinen *, Miimu Airaksinen, Pekka Tuomaala, Riikka Holopainen, Mia Ala-Juusela
The paper introduces and summarises different approaches for the definition and outline of building performance. The overall building performance and life cycle impacts are considered. The paper presents a critical review of analysis and simulation methods for different aspects of building performance. The focus of the paper is on indoor environment, energy performance and life cycle impacts.

Currently there are many tools for energy simulations, professionals are typically using dynamic simulations but also rough tools for first estimation exist. The tools have developed to very detailed ones and even small components in a building can be simulated realistically. The problem is more how the get reliable input values especially for the data concerning user behaviour but also the amount of users in the building. Due to the nature of simulations many detail level information is needed. The information typically exists in design drawings from different disciplines and often the information is transferred manually, which is very time consuming. Even though building information models exist, the information does not serve the information needed in simulation programs.

One important Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) aspect, especially when dealing with energy efficiency of buildings, is occupant thermal sensation and comfort. There are several methods available to evaluate thermal environment – each having their own advantages and limitations. For example traditional Fanger’s PMV method is quite straight forward method to be used, but it is limited to steady-state and uniform indoor environments only. In the other extreme there are more sophisticated methods, such as VTT Human Thermal Model (HTM), allowing spatial and temporal variations – and even individual characteristics, clothing, and activity levels of an occupant – to be included as boundary conditions for more detailed analysis and simulations. In addition, there are also other IEQ aspects - Indoor Air Quality, lighting, and acoustics – to be included in building performance analysis and simulation, and comprehensive integration of all these aspects will be crucial when designing future buildings being both energy efficient and having good IEQ.

The paper discusses and outlines the usability of different methods in different use situations and discusses the compatibility of different methods. The objective of the paper is also to study and describe the gap between the assessed and realized performance and the key parameters that affect the difference.  In addition the paper discusses the possibilities to do more detailed analyses on the one hand and to better consider the issues related to users, user preferences and ways of use.

Finally the paper discusses the need of different kinds of assessment and simulation methods in different stages of building processes and in different kinds of projects.

Type of Paper: Article
Cross-typology modeling of building stock energy use and GHG emissions
s: Greg Foliente *, Andrew Higgins, Seongwon Seo and Zhengen Ren
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Melbourne, Australia
(Note: This is an extended version for the purpose of abstract/paper suitability assessment only; the abstract in the final submitted paper will be sharper and shorter)
A sharper focus on the whole building stock is needed in order to achieve large-scale and significant reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By various estimates in different countries, existing buildings comprise more than ninety five percent of the building population (and even higher in some countries), and accounts for a significant part of any economy’s or region’s operating energy use and GHG emissions annually, for the life of these buildings. The impacts and costs of various actions or intervention schemes have previously been identified and assessed from a more qualitative perspective (e.g. ClimateWorks’ GHG abatement cost curve) to a more quantitative but general perspective (e.g. GBPN’s and ürge-Vorsatz‘s approach). The family of approaches known as bottom-up methods provides a more refined and flexible treatment of specific factors that affect overall energy and GHG emission estimates across the building stock. This paper reviews the latest developments in this area, with a special focus on modeling future scenarios based on specific stakeholder perspectives, and in particular, decisions and actions. Hence, the critical lens for this review is through a stakeholder’s decision-making typology. The paper presents a cross-typology framework with a matrix that consists of energy consumption and supply on one hand, and intervention schemes on the other. The latter includes both mandatory (i.e. “sticks”) and voluntary (i.e. “carrots” and “tambourines”) schemes. A number of case studies in Australia are briefly presented to illustrate this approach and demonstrate the range of applications and their value to different stakeholder groups at different geographic scales, decision-making contexts and planning horizons. Such a systematic approach to engage and inform or guide a broad range of stakeholders is needed now more than ever. Technical challenges and future research directions are identified.
Keywords: building stock; efficiency; greenhouse gas; carbon dioxide; energy modeling; simulation; spatial analysis; uptake; diffusion

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Establishing on-site IEQ Measurements: when buildings get measured
Mark B. Luther
Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, School of Architecture and Building, Deakin University, Geelong Waterfront Campus, Locked Bag 20000, Geelong Victoria 3220, Australia
Over ten years ago, under the auspices of government environmental initiatives indicating an interest on how our buildings actually do perform, the Mobile Architecture and Built Environment Laboratory (MABEL) was conceived. This project was an early attempt for Australia to gather on site (in situ) measurements on Indoor Environmental Quality aspects before many of the rating tools such as GreenStar (Green Building Counsel of Australia, LEED equivalent) were established, yet alone, their rating tools.

Looking back, the MABEL program was an opportunity to assemble the most significant state-of-the-art instrumentation of its time and to develop a methodology of on-site, ‘in the real space’, measurements of a building project. The intention was to provide a practical systematic method of evaluation to a range of IEQ measurements within reasonable limits of time and capability.  Included in this methodology was the realization of value the actual measurement would provide, given that it often was confined to a particular location, seasonal period, type and time of day. Perhaps similar to, yet totally different from, rating tools was the reliance upon and resorting to developed standards, national and international. These standards often provided rigorous and onerous procedures for a single IEQ measurement result, which would be totally unrealistic in characterizing the performance for a huge facility. Often the time constraints and the ‘laboratory’ type setup would restrict any reasonable assessment to be made in a practical manner. Another aspect regarding the procedure and standards for a particular IEQ parameter is that they often don’t even exist. Further to this point, was the innovation of new instrumentation so that an effective on-site collection of measurements could be taken for such a parameter. The developments of defining what could and should be measured, how it would be measured and what need to take place to do so were the essential challenges of the MABEL program. In hindsight, it could be said to have been a useful ‘scoping study’ for its 6-7 years of active existence. Furthermore, alongside the idea of a ‘scoping study’, and in lieu to what several may claim to be ‘valid’ IEQ measurement and assessment, a very narrow selection of findings from about 40+ projects are presented here. It is often realized, that there is no complete measurement standard, and it is discovered that the standards serve as a guide only, resulting in the development altogether of a newly proposed methodology. In reference to methodology, we need to begin with an understanding of the instrumentation, the equipment, the sensors themselves. Furthermore, in order to develop a procedure and legitimacy of the testing method we need to examine the results and their usefulness. It needs to be queried as to whether the rigor and time input of the testing procedure justifies the benefit of the outcome. It also needs to be considered as to what other information the particular measurement can be linked. For example the measurement of an air change rate (ACH) within a space is quite onerous. However, it is invaluable information when linked to comfort and CO2 levels within that space and how the HVAC system might accommodate a change in ACH.

This paper intends to provide and discuss essentially the three parts of development in a program for on-site IEQ measurement:

  • The first part is a brief overview and specification of the instrumentation comprising IEQ as developed by the MABEL facility.
  • A second part is the categorization regarding data processing, how it is calculated and reported. There remains endless potential for further analytical development of the data.
  • A third part is in advancing assessment calculations and their graphical presentation.

Finally, several unique findings are taken from various projects that can demonstrate the benefits of on-site performance measurement. The realization is in fact that there is always a component of ‘discovery’ and the unexpected learning that makes on-site performance measurement an invaluable resource to the industry of building.

Last update: 30 December 2013

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