Solar Energy, Vol.180, 690-706, 2019
Numerical study on the energy performance of building zones with transparent water storage envelopes
Researches on water wall passive solar technologies, especially the numerical study on the energy performance of building zones with Transparent Water Storage Envelopes (TWSEs), are reported in this paper. TWSE is a climatic adaptive building envelope consisting of visually transparent modular water containers, exterior shading devices, water supply and return pipes. It is an upgraded water wall that can serve both as an energy efficient facade and an auxiliary water cistern in a building. Currently the energy simulation involving transparent water walls cannot be explicitly done in all energy simulation programs because transparent envelopes are always predefined as the surfaces without thermal mass due to the embedded algorithms complied with ISO15099 standard. A numerical approach based on the integrated energy and computational fluid dynamics (IE&CFD) simulation was developed for solving the energy simulation problem related with TWSEs. A simplified optical model of TWSE was proposed and validated through light transmission testing. Meanwhile, cooling and heating loads of a zone with TWSEs and conventional glazing in summer and winter months were studied. The thermal performance of a TWSE relative to the conventional glazing was also investigated via the comparative thermal box testing. Based on the simulation and testing results, it reveals that TWSEs can exceed most high performance coated glazing with regard to solar radiation control, and they are also exceptional energy efficient transparent envelopes that can outperform the ASHRAE standard window and conventional glazing in terms of cooling and heating load reduction as long as being configured and operated properly according to their physical characteristics and outdoor climatic condition. Furthermore, the innovative technical paradigm of TWSEs, along with the numerical approach developed for their energy simulation, demonstrates a wide range of versatility to be implemented in research and practice for ultra low energy buildings.