Exergy as a measure of sustainable retrofitting of buildings
Energy simulation
Multi-objective optimization
Genetic algorithm (NSGA-II)
Building energy models (BEMs)
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This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Fernández-Bandera, C. (Carlos); Muñoz-Mardones, A.F. (Ana Fei); Du, H. (Hu); et al. "Exergy as a measure of sustainable retrofitting of buildings". Energies. 11 (11), 2018, 3139
This study presents a novel optimization methodology for choosing optimal building retrofitting strategies based on the concept of exergy analysis. The study demonstrates that the building exergy analysis may open new opportunities in the design of an optimal retrofit solution despite being a theoretical approach based on the high performance of a Carnot reverse cycle. This exergy-based solution is different from the one selected through traditional efficient retrofits where minimizing energy consumption is the primary selection criteria. The new solution connects the building with the reference environment, which acts as “an unlimited sink or unlimited sources of energy”, and it adapts the building to maximize the intake of energy resources from the reference environment. The building hosting the School of Architecture at the University of Navarra has been chosen as the case study building. The unique architectural appearance and bespoke architectural characteristics of the building limit the choices of retrofitting solutions; therefore, retrofitting solutions on the façade, roof, roof skylight and windows are considered in multi-objective optimization using the jEPlus package. It is remarkable that different retrofitting solutions have been obtained for energy-driven and exergy-driven optimization, respectively. Considering the local contexts and all possible reference environments for the building, three “unlimited sinks or unlimited sources of energy” are selected for the case study building to explore exergy-driven optimization: the external air, the ground in the surrounding area and the nearby river. The evidence shows that no matter which reference environment is chosen, an identical envelope retrofitting solution has been obtained.

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