A Graphical Method for Passive Building Energy Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
K. Subbarao, J. V. Anderson

Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, Colo. 80401

J. Sol. Energy Eng 105(2), 134-141 (May 01, 1983) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3266356 History: Received February 03, 1982; Online November 11, 2009


A new graphical approach which establishes the groundwork for a simplified building design method is presented. The admittances of each of the building elements to the major driving functions (principally outdoor temperature and solar radiation) are represented in the form of a two-dimensional vector, and the overall dynamic response of the building is obtained by vector addition. The interaction among components is shown to be naturally accounted for by a modification of the admittance of the component. Emphasis is placed on diagrammatic vector addition to quickly give the user an idea of the relative size of the dynamic contribution made by each component of the building. This is analogous to the addition of the steady-state heat loss coefficients through various elements of the building to form the overall heat loss coefficient. From the results of this addition and from a simple analysis of the weather, one can easily obtain (i) the elevation of the average indoor temperature above the average outdoor temperature, and (ii) the amplitude and phase of the diurnal (or any other frequency) fluctuation of the indoor air temperature. The former is a measure of the solar gain that actually reaches the indoor air, and the latter describe the various thermal masses in the building and their coupling to the indoor air and solar radiation. Thus, these values represent in a succinct yet thorough manner the interaction of the building and its environment.

Copyright © 1983 by ASME
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