SAGE Publications

Application of computational fluid dynamics in building design: aspects and trends

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Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), as the most sophisticated airflow modelling method, can simultaneously predict airflow, heat transfer and contaminant transportation in and around buildings. This paper introduces the roles of CFD in building design, demonstrating its typical application in designing a thermallyconformable, healthy and energy-efficient building.  The paper discusses the primary challenges of using CFD in the building modelling and design practice. Furthermore, it analyses the developing trends in applying CFD to building design, by thoroughly reviewing the literatures in all the proceedings of the International Conference on Building Simulation, one of the most influential symposiums in the building simulation field.

Building, as one of the largest industries, has significant impacts on the environment and natural resources. In the United States, buildings account for one-third of the primary energy usage and two-thirds of all the electricity consumption [1]. The construction and operation of buildings generate tremendous pollution that directly and indirectly cause urban air quality problems and climate change. Poor design of buildings and systems not only wastes resources and energy and causes adverse impacts to the environment, but also creates uncomfortable and unhealthy indoor environments. Reports of symptoms and other health complaints due to poor indoor environments have been increasing in the last decade. It was estimated that potential annual savings and productivity gains could be $15 to $40 billion from reduced sick building syndrome symptoms, and $20 to $200 billion from direct improvements in worker performance that are unrelated to health [2].

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