The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Structural configuration and building energy performance

TitleStructural configuration and building energy performance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKrem M., Hoque ST, Arwade SR, Breña SF
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Start Page29
Date Published03/2013
KeywordsComfort, Efficiency, Morphology, Passive solar, Skyscraper, Sustainable

The civil engineering and architectural communities are highly focused these days on designing buildings that maximize utilization of energy available from natural resources through means such as passive solar heating and passive ventilation and minimizing the consumption of energy produced external to the building itself. Indeed, so-called net-zero-energy buildings, which would require no net energy input for their operation, have been identified as an aspirational goal for architects and engineers. It has been suggested that for each of the four major climate zones there exists an optimal building morphology, consisting of floor plan geometry and placement of the primary structural system for lateral loads, the structural core or wall, which contains major mechanical services and vertical transportation conduits. This paper presents a quantitative study of the effect of building morphology on energy performance in each of the four climate zones. The energy analysis is performed using Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2011. Four building morphologies are investigated, each representing a high-rise commercial building with equivalent area, height, and material use. For comparison, results are presented in terms of annual sensible heating and cooling loads. A three-dimensional rendering of how the different building types might respond under wind loads is presented to indicate how the environmental and structural performances become coupled when the building is designed only with environmental performance in mind.