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Issue Date: 26-Feb-2016
Authors: Costanzo, Vincenzo
Title: Cool Roofs for improving thermal performance of existing EU office buildings
Abstract: Cool materials are characterized by having a high solar reflectance - which is able to reduce heat gains during daytime - and a high thermal emissivity that enables them to dissipate the heat absorbed throughout the day during night. Despite the concept of cool roofs - i.e. the application of cool materials to roof surfaces - is well known in US since 1990s, many studies focused on their performance in both residential and commercial sectors under various climatic conditions for US countries, while only a few case studies are analyzed in EU countries. The present thesis work aims at analyzing the thermal benefits due to their application to existing office buildings located in EU countries. Indeed, due to their weight in the existing buildings stock, as well as the very low rate of new buildings construction, the retrofit of office buildings is a topic of great concern worldwide. After an in-depth characterization of the existing buildings stock in the EU, the thesis gives an insight into roof energy balance due to different technological solutions, showing in which cases and to what extent cool roofs are preferable. A detailed description of the physical properties of cool materials and their availability on the market provides a solid background for the parametric analysis carried out by means of detailed numerical models that aims at evaluating cool roofs performance for various climates and office buildings configurations. With the help of dynamic simulations, the thermal behavior of representative office buildings of the existing EU buildings stock is assessed in terms of thermal comfort and energy needs for air conditioning. The results, which consider several variations of building features that may affect the resulting energy balance, show how cool roofs are an effective strategy for reducing overheating occurrences and thus improving thermal comfort in any climate. On the other hand, potential heating penalties due to a reduction in the heat fluxes passing through the roof are taken into account, as well as the aging process of cool materials. Finally, an economic analysis of the best performing models shows the boundaries for their economic convenience.
Appears in Collections:Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione

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