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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

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering | Architectural Technology | Computer Sciences | Environmental Design | Theory and Algorithms


Buildings have a considerable impact on the environment, and it is crucial to consider environmental and energy performance in building design. Buildings account for about 40% of the global energy consumption and contribute over 30% of the CO2 emissions. A large proportion of this energy is used for meeting occupants’ thermal comfort in buildings, followed by lighting. The building facade forms a barrier between the exterior and interior environments; therefore, it has a crucial role in improving energy efficiency and building performance.

In this regard, decision-makers are required to establish an optimal solution, considering multi-objective problems that are usually competitive and nonlinear, such as energy consumption, financial costs, environmental performance, occupant comfort, etc. Sustainable building design requires considerations of a large number of design variables and multiple, often conflicting objectives, such as the initial construction cost, energy cost, energy consumption and occupant satisfaction. One approach to address these issues is the use of building performance simulations and optimization methods.

This research first investigates and highlights the key research methods, issues and tools associated with building performance simulations and the optimization methods. Then a novel method for improving building facade performance is presented, taking into consideration occupant comfort, energy consumption and energy costs. The dissertation discusses development of a framework, which is based on multi-objective optimization and uses a genetic algorithm in combination with building performance simulations. The framework utilizes EnergyPlus simulation engine and Python programming to implement optimization algorithm analysis and decision support. The framework enhances the process of performance-based facade design, couples simulation and optimization packages, and provides flexible and fast supplement in facade design process by rapid generation of design alternatives. The dissertation describes the components and functionality of this framework in detail, as well as two-step optimization technique which is a new technique that combines GA and machine learning. The dissertation also presents results and validation techniques and provides conclusions of the study.