Coupling TABS with lightweight structures

Coupling TABS with lightweight structures

This research investigates a concept of combining a thermal space conditioning system with a lightweight structural floor element, which reduces initial embodied energy. The thermally active building system (TABS) approach addresses many of the constraints resulting from low GHG emissions design, such as providing an efficient method for harnessing a low-temperature renewable source. This can be achieved while also maintaining a high standard of occupant thermal comfort. However, the combination of a lightweight structure with complex geometry and a low-temperature renewable energy system results in a number of challenging design issues. These issues range from thermal loss management to complex system control.

To address the issues outlined, we propose a simulation framework based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD). We presented a systems model of a lightweight structural TABS. The study included a method for dealing with the complex geometrical and structural constraints associated with lightweight concepts. Further, we detailed the energy analysis of two lightweight structural TABS for a real project on a building-scale and a district-scale. Further, we supplement the TABS model with a comfort model of the associated conditioned room. In particular, we utilise existing full-scale experimental data to calibrate the unstructured numerical mesh. We employ a model of a lightweight TABS with simplified geometry to test a modelling approach of combining a system model with a comfort model. The high-resolution analysis framework will be used for the development of TABS for a lightweight structural floor, in terms energy performance and occupant thermal comfort.