Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Numerical analysis of horizontal temperature distribution in large buildings by thermo-aeraulic zonal approach


building simulation, mesh grid discretization, thermo-aeraulic zonal model, large building, spatial temperature distribution


The commercial and public services sectors including shopping centers, worship buildings, theatres, and other types, account for more than 20% of the electricity consumption in the world. These building typologies are characterized by large spaces and high and temporary occupation. Besides, the horizontal temperature distribution in these buildings becomes one of the important parameters on occupant's comfort and energy efficiency. In the present study, a thermo-aeraulic zonal model using TRNSYS and CONTAM simulation tools is developed to analyze the spatial temperature distribution in a large building. Parametric studies relating to mesh discretization of building volume are performed to optimize the computational time and convergence. Extensive computational simulation is carried out to analyze the impact of building height, internal loads, natural ventilation and climatic conditions on the spatial temperature distribution, building energy performance, and thermal comfort. The developed simulation model in this study is effective to predict the horizontal temperature distribution with reasonable computation time compared to CFD simulations. The results show that the internal heat gains lead to an increase in the horizontal temperature gradient which should not be negligible especially in the case of large buildings. On the other side, natural night ventilation can reduce the peak tempearture in building by 3 ℃ for normal occupation building with limited internal gains. Furthermore, good spatial temperature distribution can decrease annual building energy needs about 32%. It can be helpful for architects and building developers to make an optimal choice regarding to building envelope and HVAC design.