A. Mahdavi ,  D. Wolosiuk ,  C. Berger (2023)

Can photovoltaic systems' energy harvesting potential inform building design and retrofit decisions?

communication medium

Building Simulation 2023


Simulation methods can support both building design and building-integrated photovoltaic (PV) systems configuration. Related processes in this area typically start with a given building design, which is then considered in view of a fitting PV system configuration (i.e., type, size, orientation, local storage and/or grid export options). Simulation methods can specifically help with matching the temporal profiles of available solar energy and buildings' energy demand, which is especially relevant if a high level of energy self-sufficiency is targeted. However, the computational procedures in this area are rather one-way: Whereas relevant aspect of building designs (e.g., geometry and demand profile) inform the PV systems design, information on electricity generation potential via PV does not usually find its way back to building design decision making (e.g., building shape and orientation, transparent area fraction of the envelope, thermal mass). In this paper, we explore the potential of a bi-directional information flow between building design/retrofit decisions and PV system options. To this end, we illustrate how building design variables (e.g., orientation, glazing fraction) can be fine-tuned based on available PV system installation options. Thus, the proposed approach facilitates the exploration of the implications of PV-based energy generation options for building design decisions.

research topic

research groups



photovoltaic panels, building design support, bi-directional inference