Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Optimization of passive solar design and integration of building integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPV/T) system in northern housing


Canadian north, energy modeling, optimization, passive solar design, BIPV/T, northern housing


In the Canadian north, the cost of space heating is very high due to the harsh weather, its remoteness, lack of transportation, and dependency on the high cost of fossil fuel imported from the South. Since the North has an abundance of solar energy, significant energy savings with some added construction cost in houses could be achieved by applying high-performance building envelopes and solar design strategies. The objective of this paper is to investigate the potential of both passive and active solar design strategies in improving the energy efficiency of northern housing. Firstly, a reference house representing a typical single-family home in the North is modeled using EnergyPlus, and the key passive design parameters are optimized to minimize life-cycle cost. Then, the air-based building integrated photovoltaic/thermal (BIPV/T) system is applied to the optimized house and integrated with HVAC systems. It is found that optimal passive solar design can reduce the heating energy demand by 42% with an incremental cost of 8% for Yellowknife and by 27% without incurring an incremental cost for Kuujjuaq. Integrating BIPV/T with HVAC systems can reduce the defrost time of heat recovery ventilator (HRV), extend the working hours and improve the COP of air source heat pump (ASHP). The reduction in the total energy consumption is in the range of 1.4%-3.0% by integrating HRV and 0.3%-0.6% by integrating ASHP due to the mis-match of solar availability and heating energy demand. To maximize the utilization of solar energy available, the optimal use of thermal energy recovered from BIPV/T system in northern housing requires further investigation.


Tsinghua University Press