0.1.4. Course syllabus Energy Demand in Buildings

Course subject(s) Module 0.  Introduction to Energy Demand in Buildings


Welcome to the TU Delft course Energy Demand in Buildings! Thank you for joining us. In this syllabus you will find all the important information for this online course.

This is the first course in Buildings as Sustainable Energy Systems, in which you will learn how to design energy efficient, sustainable buildings whilst improving their thermal quality and indoor environment. The Program consists of four courses: Energy Demand in Buildings (course 1); Energy Supply Systems for Buildings (course 2) in which you will learn how to choose low carbon energy supply; Comfort and Health in Buildings (course 3) in which you will learn how to create a comfortable indoor environment; and Efficient HVAC Systems (course 4), which is about designing, controlling and optimizing HVAC systems. All four courses can be followed independently; however, knowledge is built up from course 1 to course 4.

All courses are based on a classic system engineering approach, meaning that you will also learn about the interactions between the different components of the building’s energy system. The system we look at is the physical building with its energy systems, occupants and HVAC systems. A classic system engineering approach also means that requirement analysis, modelling, and simulation play an important role. Once you’ve got a good understanding of the system itself and the interactions between components, you will be able to model it and simulate its functioning, in order to create and analyse alternative design concepts in terms of performances. This is our end goal for the full Program.

In the present course, Energy Demand in Buildings, you will discover how building design and occupancy determines the energy demand in buildings and learn how to (re)design low energy buildings. We will focus on the energy needs and thermal behavior of buildings. You will learn to answer questions like:

  • How does solar radiation impact the heating and cooling needs of a building?
  • Is there such a thing as an optimal window size, or optimum insulation or orientation?
  • What is the impact of ventilation on a building’s energy needs?
  • Why do architects sometimes design fully glazed atria oriented to the north?

Learning Objectives
This course’s main aim is to teach you how to increase the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. Building design strongly influences the quantity of heating, cooling and electricity needed during building operation. Therefore, a correct thermal design is essential to achieve low energy and low carbon buildings, with good indoor air quality.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  1. Use the energy chain approach to understand policy documents and energy efficient building concepts.
  2. Master the demand side of the energy chain to design buildings with a low energy demand.
  3. Estimate the most important heat losses and gains in a building.
  4. Determine energy demand for space heating and cooling using the energy balance approach.
  5. Estimate the heating energy demand for hot tap water and the electricity needs for appliances and lighting.
  6. Achieve a low energy demand by optimizing window size, insulation, orientation and ventilation while taking into account building occupancy.

Course structure

The course consists of 6 modules in total. Module 0 and 6 are opening / closing modules, and the 4 middle modules are course content modules.

Module 1 – Introduction, Energy chain and application to buildings
This module starts by introducing the current context and main challenges relating to energy use in buildings, as well as design principles and building concepts based on the energy chain. After the first module you will be able to understand the basic principles of the energy chain: demand, supply, and distribution; and how they relate to design principles for sustainable, comfortable and energy-efficient buildings and related policies. You will also be aware of what indoor comfort entails and will know about most important energy-efficient building concepts.

Module 2 – Heat losses and gains, and energy balance
Modules 2 and 3 are devoted to constructing knowledge about all steps needed to estimate buildings’ energy demand. In this module you will discover what type of heat losses and gains take place in buildings’ operations. You will learn how to estimate these energy flows using simple meteorological data and construction properties. You will acquire knowledge on how to estimate heat transfer caused by construction, ventilation, solar radiation, internal sources or heat storage in the construction. Finally, you will learn how to make an energy balance based on these energy flows to estimate heating and cooling demands on an hourly basis.

Module 3 – Yearly energy demand and peak load
After the third module you will be able to understand the difference between peak load and energy use and discover how to estimate the yearly energy demand for heating, cooling, hot tap water and the electricity demand for appliances. You will learn how to make hourly energy profiles and to determine the size of the needed heating and cooling equipment, which determines the costs of equipment.

Module 4 – Optimization of building design
In the final module you will learn how to apply the concepts introduced in previous modules, and optimize building design. You will find out about optimal window size and optimum insulation thickness in different climates. You will understand the thermal interactions between building components and be able to make informed decisions on how to increase the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings.

Creative Commons License
Energy Demand in Buildings by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/energy-demand-in-buildings/
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