Thermal performance modelling: design strategies for improved thermal performance in selected NZ houses

  • YEAR
    Sullivan, James
    Novak, Evzen
    Donn, Michael
    2012 Conference Papers
    Buildings and energy


This study was a joint research project between Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture and Design and the Wellington-based architectural practice Studio Pacific Architecture. It is a continuation of a previous study. The aim of the study was to determine the best methods of improving the thermal performance of new houses and to provide empirical evidence to back up the selection of any particular startegy. The thermal performance of nine Studio Pacific designed case study houses was modelled for three differing New Zealand locations. A range of construction and design variations were systematically assessed. Twenty combinations of insulation, glazing, and mass were modelled, as well as a number of variable design changes including orientation, level of glazing, shading, ventilation and more. This allowed the identification of the most effective options. Comparison of the houses enabled a better understanding of how different situations effect the effectiveness of design decisions. Options were evaluated not only on their effect on heating energy use, but also on their effect on passive performance. A series of recommendations for significantly improving the thermal performance of new house designs is made.


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