Risorse bibliografiche
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2020/2021
Scuola Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione
Docente Najafi Behzad
Cfu 8.00 Tipo insegnamento Monodisciplinare

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

The first aim of the present course is enhancing the student’s knowledge of building physics and employing it to calculate various loads of buildings, to determine the corresponding heating and cooling peak loads, and to assess their energetic performance. The obtained knowledge additionally helps the student to understand the concepts behind the data-driven approaches for simulating the energetic performance of buildings.  The second objective is giving the students a clear idea about the configurations and working principle of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, including both the centralized and decentralized architectures, and utilizing it in the design procedure of these units. The last aim of the course is providing a comprehensive perspective of solar thermal systems, their characteristics, and the alternative configurations for the integration of these units in buildings.  

Risultati di apprendimento attesi

A1. The student will understand the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation heat transfer phenomena, taking place in building’s components, which include both the opaque surfaces and fenestration and may also contain air gaps. The student will also obtain knowledge about the commonly employed models for simulating these phenomena.

A2. The student will acquire knowledge about the solar radiation and its characteristics and the methodologies for estimating the available solar irradiance on surfaces.

A3. The student will understand the humid air concepts and will obtain knowledge about the psychrometric fundamentals and the corresponding modelling methodology along with the use of psychrometric chart.

A4. The student will understand the concepts of internal gains, infiltration, and ventilation and learns about the methodology of determining the corresponding sensible and latent loads

A5. The student will obtain an understanding about the concept of thermal comfort and the reasons behind the choice of desired conditions in the winter and the summer.

A6. The student will understand the concept of delays and dynamic behaviour in buildings and the necessity of employing heat balance method for simulation of the yearly consumption of a building.

A7. The student will understand the fundamentals of data-driven building behaviour simulation

A8. The students will understand the working principle of centralized and decentralized heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and will acquire knowledge about the corresponding configurations.

A9. The student will obtain knowledge about the fundamentals of solar thermal systems, their configurations and the methodologies of integrating them in a building.


The student is able to apply the above-mentioned knowledge in order to:

B1. Calculate the loads owing to the heat exchange through opaque surfaces (walls and the roof) and the ground being given the characteristics of the corresponding layers

B2. Calculate the fenestration’s load also taking into account the solar irradiation’s effect and considering the properties of the windows

B3. Determine sensible and latent load corresponding to the internal gains, ventilation and infiltration

B4. Utilize the above-mentioned calculated items to determine the heating and cooling peak load of a building, being given its location and geometrical characteristics

B5. Implement the above-mentioned calculations using python programming language

B6. Impalement a simplified data-driven approach aimed at building behaviour simulation in Python

B7. Employ OpenStudio (EnergyPlus) software in order to calculate the yearly thermal consumption of a building.

B8. Perform calculations of psychrometric processes taking place in centralize Air-conditioning systems.

B9. In a simplified manner, design a centralized air-conditioning system for a space being given its peak load.


In an autonomous manner, the student will be able to:

C1. Determine the heating and cooling peak load of a building thus estimating the required size of the corresponding HVAC units and evaluate the suitability of the building’s existing systems.

C2. Utilize OpenStudio to estimate the yearly consumption of a building, and evaluate the effect of applying various energy saving recommendations, and proposing the most effective one.



Argomenti trattati

Topic 1: Fundamentals of building physics

In this part of the course, fundamentals of conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer are reviewed, and these concepts are next employed in the context of building physics. Next, the characteristics of solar radiation are explained, providing the student with the possibility of calculating the available irradiation at a specific location, wall direction and time. The concept of thermal comfort is next presented in detail, which enables the students to understand the reason behind the standard choices of desired internal condition in both heating and cooling cases. In the next step, psychrometric fundamentals and the governing equations of humid air are reviewed and the students will learn how to use the psychrometric chart in order to calculate the heat and moisture transfer in air-conditioning processes.

The students will then learn about the standard simplifications for calculating the heat transfer through the walls and windows and how to use the corresponding tables. The underlying physical phenomena behind the internal heat gains and infiltration are then presented and the standard methods for determining the corresponding values in buildings are introduced.

Finally, employing the previously presented concepts, the commonly used ASHRAE methods, for calculating the heating and cooling loads in residential buildings (RLF method) and non-residential dwellings (heat balance method) are presented.

Accordingly, the first part of the course is made up of the following sub-topics:

1.1 Review of conductive and convective heat transfer

1.2. Review of radiation heat transfer

1.3. Solar radiation

1.4. Heat transfer through walls and windows: simplifications

1.5. Heat Transfer through the ground and basement along with the thermal bridges (not included in the student evaluation)

1.6. Thermal Comfort

1.7. Psychrometric fundamentals

1.8. Heat gains and infiltration

1.9. Residential heating and cooling load calculation, ASHRAE RLF method

1.10. Non-Residential heating and cooling load calculation, ASHRAE Heat balance method

 *Simulation Tools:

Python programming language is employed for conducting the above-mentioned calculations in an automatic manner. After utilizing python for carrying out single objective tasks, the students will use this tool to implement the whole calculation procedure of the RLF method. GIT version control system and GitHub are utilized for sharing the corresponding codes.

OpenStudio (an EnergyPlus based tool) is also introduced and is then utilized for carrying out the heat balance method in order to calculate the heating and cooling load of commercial buildings.


Topic 2: Data-driven Building simulation

In this part of the course, data-driven methods, as alternative approaches for simulating the energetic performance of the buildings, are introduced. Python programming language is similarly employed for implementing the presented procedures.

 *Simulation Tools:

Python programming language is employed for implementing the data-driven modelling methodology.


Topic 3: Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems

This topic of the course is devoted to presenting different categories of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Accordingly, refrigeration fundamentals are first reviewed and next different heating and cooling systems are introduced. All-air system, as a commonly used centralized HVAC system, is extensively discussed and its corresponding components, operation principles, design criteria, and control methods are explained. Furthermore, commonly used decentralized HVAC systems including the window conditioner and the split systems along with their components and characteristics are presented in detail. Therefore, this subject includes the following sub-topics:

3.1 centralized heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems

3.2 decentralized heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems


Topic 4: Solar thermal systems

In this topic, fundamentals of solar thermal units are first introduced, and different types of solar thermal cycles, categories of solar thermal collector, storage units, various applications of solar thermal system, and their sizing procedure are next presented. Hence, this topic includes the following items:

4.1 Solar thermal unit configurations

4.2 Solar thermal collectors

4.3 Storage units for solar thermal systems

4.4 Applications of solar thermal systems

4.5 Sizing procedure and corresponding calculation for solar thermal units


The student should have passed a thermodynamic and heat transfer course and should have at least a basic understanding of conduction, convection, and radiation heat transfer phenomena and knowledge of psychrometric fundamentals. Previous programming experience will be helpful but is not required.

Modalità di valutazione

The evaluation is made based on the marks obtained in 4 different parts as follows:

  • Mid-term Exam: 7.5 marks 
  • Final Exam (2nd mid-term) 7.5 marks
  • Continuous assessment (weekly submissions): 7.5 marks *
  • Final Project: 7.5 marks *


The mid-term exam, will be focused on the lectures of Topic 1 and will include exercises related to expected learning outcomes B1 to B4 and theoretical questions related to learning outcomes A1 to A5. The final examination (2nd mid-term), will be dedicated to the lectures of Topic 3 and 4, and will include exercises related to learning outcomes B8 and B9 and theoretical questions related to learning outcomes A8 and A9.  Taking the mid-term exam is not obligatory; for students who pass the mid-term exam, the final examination will only include the topics of the 2nd mid-term. For the students who decide not to take the exam or are not able to pass it, the complete final exam (15 marks) will include the topics of both the first and the 2nd mid-term. It is noteworthy that the student can participate in the exam of the 2nd mid-term just in one session.


The continuous assessment includes weekly assignments, submitted by each individual student, in which the student will mainly utilize Python (learning outcome B5) to implement procedures that are similar to those employed during the lessons to solve the problems manually. The starting point of the submission or a similar procedure implemented in Python will be explained in the class. A few assignements also include a part developed using OpenStudio (learning outcomes B7 and C2). The final project is dedicated to the implementation of data-driven building performance simulation in python, which is related to learning outcomes A7 and B6. For exceptionally high-level projects, a bonus mark might also be considered.


*The student should pass the written part of the course (minimum mark: 18/30) in order to have the marks associated with the continuous assessment and the final project considered. 

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaYunus A. Cengel, Afshin J. Ghajar, Heat and Mass Transfer: Fundamentals and Applications, Anno edizione: 2014, ISBN: 978-0073398181

Only chapter 3, Steady state heat conduction , chapter 11 fundamentals of thermal radiation, and chapter 12 radiation Heat Transfer, Chapter 16 Heating and Cooling of Buildings

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaYunus A. Cengel , Michael A. Boles, Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach, Anno edizione: 2014, ISBN: 978-0073398174

Only Chapter 14 Gas -vapor mixture and air-conditioning

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHugo S. L. Hens, Building Physics - Heat, Air and Moisture: Fundamentals and Engineering Methods with Examples and Exercises, Anno edizione: 2017, ISBN: 78-3433031971
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHugo S. L. Hens, Applied Building Physics: Boundary Conditions, Building Peformance and Material Properties, Anno edizione: 2010, ISBN: 978-3433029626
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaASHRAE, ASHRAE Handbook -- Fundamentals (SI) , Anno edizione: 2013
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaAshrae, 2015 ASHRAE Handbook -- HVAC Applications, Anno edizione: 2015
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaJohn A. Duffie ,William A. Beckman, Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, Anno edizione: 2016, ISBN: 978-0471698678

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 80:00 120:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese
Disponibilità di materiale didattico/slides in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese
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