Solar building envelope design, assessment, and optimization for conceptual designs in Australia

  • YEAR
    Mudiyanselage, Pabasara Wijeratne
    Samarasinghe, Tharushi
    Yang, Rebecca
    Wakefield, Ron
    2021 Symposium Abstracts
    Conference Papers


Approximately 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia are from non-residential buildings such as shops, hotels, restaurants, offices, industrial facilities, schools, and hospitals (Department of industry, science energy and resources 2021). Solar building envelope, also known as Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology, has been recognised as one of the most favourable Solar PV applications in buildings to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Warneryd and Karltorp 2020; Syed et al. 2020). Despite the advantages, BIPV design and analysis is a complex process that needs various BIPV design and analysis factors. This study explores a framework for Solar building envelope design, assessment, and optimization in Australia in the conceptual design phase.

This study employed a three-phase research process for developing the framework for BIPV design and analysis which include semi-structured interviews, questionnaire survey and model development and application and validation with a case study.

The semi-structured interviews, which revealed twenty-three (23) limitations and twelve (12) improvements related to current BIPV design and management practice in Australia. The questionnaire survey findings identified the methods, algorithms, and workflows of BIPV design and management to represents the real practice in Australia under 1. Building design and surface solar analysis 2. BIPV system energy output assessment 3. BIPV system cost-benefit assessment 4. BIPV system environmental assessment. 5. Structural, thermal, lighting and fire safety simulation 6. Optimisation of BIPV system designs. The results helped to develop a structured framework for BIPV design and management in Australia in the conceptual design phase. Two case studies in Victoria, Australia were used to apply and validate the framework. The framework was used to generate ten optimum BIPV rainscreen designs in case study 1 and seven optimum roof sheet BIPV designs and fourteen optimum skylight BIPV designs in case study 2.

Based on the research findings, the proposed framework provides a clear view on the technical, economic and environmental aspects of BIPV designs. The optimization process helped to identify several feasible BIPV design solutions which can be further examined in the conceptual design phase and select the best design suited to the project requirements. Therefore, the framework could help professionals in the building design and construction and BIPV industry to identify feasible BIPV design options in the early design phase. The research findings also suggests that that BIPV fa├žade and roof design parameters may vary based on project location, stakeholder requirements and building standards and codes.


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