Many assumptions must be made about thermal zoning and interzonal airflow for modelling the performance of buildings. This is particularly important for solar homes, which are subjected to high levels of periodic solar heat gains in certain zones. The way in which these passive solar heat gains are distributed to other zones of a building has a significant effect on predicted energy performance, thermal comfort and optimal design selection. This article presents a comprehensive sensitivity analysis that quantifies the effect of thermal zoning and interzonal airflow on building performance, optimal south-facing glazing area, and thermal comfort. The effect of controlled shades to control unwanted solar gains is also explored. Results show that passive solar buildings, in particular, can benefit from increased air circulation with a forced air system because it allows solar gains to be redistributed and thus reduces direct gain zone overheating and total energy consumption.

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Keywords Airflow, Building energy simulation, Passive solar houses, Thermal comfort, Thermal zoning
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Journal Journal of Building Performance Simulation
O'Brien, W, Athienitis, A. (Andreas), & Kesik, T. (Ted). (2011). Thermal zoning and interzonal airflow in the design and simulation of solar houses: A sensitivity analysis. Journal of Building Performance Simulation, 4(3), 239–256. doi:10.1080/19401493.2010.528031