Advanced spreadsheet based methodology for the dynamic thermal modelling of buildings
Thermal analysis of buildings was carried out using simplified design tools, prior to the widespread use of computers. Since the early 1980's, the rapid growth of computational power has lead to the introduction of many building dynamic thermal simulation software programs. The accurate performance of many of these programs has lead to the view that manual calculation methods should only be used as indicative design tools. The CIBSE admittance method is based on the fundamentals of building heat transfer, its calculations procedures being simplified for use on hand held calculators. Manual calculation methods must be developed for use on more powerful calculators, if greater accuracy is required. Such calculators are available in the form of computer spreadsheet programs. The computational power of the computer spreadsheet program, combined with suitable mathematical thermal modelling techniques, has thus far, remained unexploited. This thesis describes the development of a powerful manual thermal design method, for application on a computer spreadsheet program. All the modes of building heat transfer are accurately modelled. Free-running or plant-controlled spaces can be simulated. In the case of a single zone, the accuracy of the new manual dynamic thermal model is comparable with commercially available software programs. The level of mathematical modelling complexity is limited only by computer power and user ability. The Iterative Frequency Domain Method (IFDM) and the Adiabatic Iterative Frequency Domain Method (AIFDM) are alternative mathematical simulation techniques developed to form the core of the Thermal Analysis Design Method. In the IFDM and AIFDM, the frequency domain and numerical iteration techniques have been integrated to produce a thermal simulation method that can model all non-linear heat transfer processes. A more accurate formulation of sol-air temperature, a window sol-air temperature and an accurate reduced internal long-wave radiant exchange model is a sample of further innovations in the thesis. Many of the developments described in the thesis, although designed for the computer spreadsheet environment, may also be employed to enhance the performance of some of the current dynamic thermal models of buildings.