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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Ajla Aksamija

Second Advisor

Benjamin Weil

Third Advisor

Jon McGowan

Subject Categories

Architectural Technology


Climate change, along with corresponding weather extremes, are creating new and pressing problems for the built environment. Buildings are the largest contributor to climate change. The main hypothesis for this research work is that an automated dynamic façade can provide whole year thermal comfort in a passively heated and cooled building by using predictive modeling of short-term future weather conditions. The dynamic facade should be adaptable to different climates, weather extremes and climate change. Predictive simulation requires using a weather forecast to predict the performance of a building and then modify the shading and ventilation rate to optimize the building thermal comfort for a single day. The goal of the dissertation was to develop a method for designing dynamic predictive façades to maximize thermal comfort in most climates and weather conditions. The research for the dissertation was conducted through computer simulations in the 15 different climate zones of the United States (considering both historic climate data, as well as predicted climate change data for the years 2050 and 2080), and an experimental study. The computer simulations, using EnergyPlus and custom scripts, were used to optimize the façade for a scaled physical model of the façade and the individual building elements. EnergyPlus simulations were also used for the predictive modeling in the experimental study. A test cell with one of the designed façade systems and controls was studied during the winter, spring and summer and compared to simulation results. The results of both the simulation study and the test cell were similar so modifications to the predicted model and predicted control procedure can be studied further with simulation only. The simulations and the physical experiment results show that it is possible to achieve thermal comfort in a passively heated and cooled building in at least 10 of the 15 different climate zones in the United States.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.