Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Optimal design and operation of thermally activated wall in the ultra-low energy buildings in China


thermally activated building system (TABS), thermally activated wall (TAW), ultra-low energy buildings, sensitivity analysis, thermal characteristics, design charts


The deployment of thermally activated building systems (TABS) in buildings has increased to reduce energy consumption and peak loads whilst improving indoor comfort. Previous studies provided important references for the design and operation of TABS in several buildings and various climates. However, guidelines for the use of TABS design and operation in China’s buildings and climates, where TABS-related parameters can be analysed and optimised under various weather conditions, are still insufficient. Firstly, this study investigated the relationship between the design (e.g. pipe spacing S and wall area A) and operation parameters (e.g. the flow rate v and water inlet temperature Tinlet) and the heat flux using a mathematical model of a thermally activated wall (TAW) system. Results indicated that the water inlet temperature Tinlet and the indoor temperature Tin significantly affected the heat transfer rate of the TAW system. Secondly, a TAW system testbed was set up to conduct experiments for the validation of the simulation model developed in COMSOL. Lastly, a TAW design chart was presented to provide climate-based guidelines for TAW applications in buildings located in the cold regions, which could be expanded to other climates in China.


Tsinghua University Press