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Building and Environment 42 (2007) 32853297 www.elsevier.com/locate/buildenv

Thermal mass activation by hollow core slab coupled with night ventilation to reduce summer cooling loads
Stefano Paolo Corgnati, Andrea Kindinis
Department of Energy (DENER), Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy Received 4 July 2006; accepted 28 August 2006

Abstract This study deal with the analysis of the effectiveness of free cooling ventilation strategies coupled with thermal mass activation to reduce peak cooling loads. A numerical simulation of the temperatures distribution of an ofce placed in Milan, Italy, during the month of July, is conducted on a Simulinks dynamical model. No air-conditioned system is present but two different free cooling systems are analysed and compared. Both systems act a primary ventilation during the day and a night ventilation during the non-occupancy period but the rst is a traditional mixing ventilation system, the other is a thermal mass activation system, i.e. the outdoor ventilation air, before entering the room, ows through the ducts of the hollow core concrete ceiling slab. The performances of the two systems are investigated by means of time prole analyses of indoor operative temperatures and by means of frequency temperature distributions during the occupancy period. The cooling performances are measured by two different discomfort indexes: one represents the discomfort time percentage during occupation period, the other the discomfort weighted on the distance of calculated operative temperature from the acceptable temperature interval. This paper, in last analysis, tries to highlight the possibilities on cooling loads reduction and on thermal comfort increase in Mediterranean climate, connected to new strategies for thermal mass activation and night ventilation. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Thermal mass activation; Night ventilation; Cooling loads; Thermal comfort

1. Introduction In the last years the demand for thermal comfort is considerably increased in all European countries especially during the summer period. In consequence of a greater demand, highest summery energetic consumptions follow. In order to rationalize energy consumptions and, at the same time, to follow the new possibilities offered by the technology, it appears useful the development of free cooling strategies for the temperature control or just to reduce the thermal summery loads in rooms, especially in ofce buildings, in which it is possible to use, during the
Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 011 5644507; fax: +39 011 5644499.

E-mail address: stefano.corgnati@polito.it (S.P. Corgnati). 0360-1323/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2006.08.018

night, high air ow rates without disturbing for drat and noise. Moreover the ofce buildings present, usually, high energetic density levels for the relatively recent capillary diffusion of computer and other electrical equipments and especially for the absence, until few years ago, of an integrated approach among architectural, structural and energetic aspects in building design. The association of building thermal mass and free cooling systems considerably improves the temperature control parameters and can reduce the energy demand for microclimatic control. Unfortunately there are just few building elements able to exalt the proper attitude of heat storage, the thermal mass being usually hidden inside of the structures.

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Nomenclature ACH [h1] air change rates per hour s [m] width S [m2] total area Snet [m2] net area r [kg/m3] density cw [J/(kgK)] specic heat

l U ta [1C] t0,m [1C] te [1C] ts [1C] Dst

[W/(mK)] conducibility [W/(m2K)] thermal transmittance indoor air temperature average operative temperature outdoor air temperature ceiling temperature standard deviation

One of these elements is represented by the hollow core concrete slab, usually adopted as a panel oor for buildings. The cylindrical ducts put inside, in order to lighten the oor slabs, are the ideal form to exchange thermal energy between the air owing through it and the concrete. In North European countries the passive cooling through the hollow core slab systems demonstrated their efciency to reduce cooling loads and to obtain thermal comfort without air conditioning systems. In the Mediterranean countries this technology is less used mainly for two reasons. Firstly, while in the north of Europe hollow core slabs are the most used kind of oor, in the Mediterranean countries just a little percentage of the building oor are made of hollow core slabs. The second reason is that the northern climates are characterized by lower outdoor temperature in summer. But it is not obvious that this kind of cooling system works in the southern climates as much as in the northern climates. The aim of this paper is to investigate the activation of building thermal mass by means of outdoor air ventilation, exalting the effect of night ventilation. Object of the study is the indoor temperatures distribution in a typical open space ofce room in Milan (Italy), all along the hottest month of July. No air conditioned system is considered, but two different mixing ventilation systems are compared, the rst traditional (i.e. the outdoor ventilation air is supplied directly in the ambient), the other characterised by the concrete slab mass activation developed through the hollow core concrete ceiling slab (i.e. the ventilation outdoor air ows through the ducts of hollow core concrete slabs before entering the room). Both systems provide daily and night ventilation and attempt to maintain, as it is possible, thermal comfort conditions during the occupation period. The performance of the analysed ventilation systems also referred to the ofce room just ventilated with primary ventilation air during the occupation period, in order to give a clear idea of the thermal stress exposition of the ofce during July. In order to evaluate the capability of the ventilation systems coupled with the building thermal mass to internal thermal loads variation, the temperatures distributions are calculated for three different levels of endogenous internal gains: 30, 45 and 60 W/m2. The study was carried out through dynamical simulations by a developed dedicated software Simulinks, a tool

of the commercial software Matlabs. From the test reference year meteorological data of July, air and surface temperatures (oor, ceiling, internal walls, and windows) were obtained minute-by-minute. In order to give synthetic results and an evaluation of the ventilation system efciency, two different comfort indexes were evaluated: one represents the discomfort time percentage during occupation period, the other the discomfort weighted on the distance of the calculated operative temperature from the acceptable temperature interval. The simulation results provide information about the possibilities of introducing new strategies for thermal mass activation by outdoor ventilation through the hollow core concrete slabs in Mediterranean countries. 2. A literature review The high daily variation of solar radiation, outdoor temperature and internal loads during the summer, imply, year after year, greater energy consumption. In particular during peak periods, in order to maintain thermal comfort, it is necessary to remove all excess heat from indoor immediately after entered or produced; this requires oversized cooling systems, which are able to handle great cooling loads for short periods. The building thermal mass can be usefully utilised in order to reduce peak cooling loads, indoor temperature shifting, and so, energy demand in the summer season. The materials constituting the building fabric have high heat capacity, so the building can itself work as thermal storage and help to remove the thermal loads. In the last 25 years, for a renewed interest in summer thermal efciency in building, a lot of studies tried to quantify the role of building fabric on the indoor comfort temperatures and on the summer cooling loads. At the same time, among the different instruments to activate the building thermal mass, one of more protable systems appeared to be night cooling, made through natural, forced or hybrid ventilation or by means of a pre-conditioning system. Givoni [1] compared different passive and low energy effectiveness of night cooling systems and discussed the applicability for different climatic conditions. The ideal locations appeared to be placed in arid regions with night temperatures below 20 1C and day time temperatures between 30 and 36 1C. Even if other cooling systems have

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to be associated for the indoor temperature control during the day, night ventilation signicantly reduces the length of periods and the duration of the working time of additional cooling systems. Ruud et al. [2] evaluated the effect of building thermal storage on peak cooling load in an ofce building in Florida, pre-cooling the building at night and during the weekend by means of forced ventilation. The results showed an 18% reduction in cooling energy supplied during daytime but no reduction of peak cooling loads. This represents one of the rst interesting and complete studies about the association of thermal mass and night cooling. Andresen and Brandemuehl [3] simulated the thermal performance of a typical ofce space located in St. Louis in order to study, among other things, the possibility of reducing electrical consumes by means different strategies of night pre-cooling. While for the set up, the HVAC is set off during the not occupied period, for two different precooling strategies, during the not occupied period, the supply air is set, respectively, to 13 and 10 1C. Blondeau et al. [4] investigated night ventilation in France both by experimental and numerical simulations. Forced ventilation with 8 ACH was tested on a building of three level ofces and a classroom. The difference between the outside and the inside of the building is considered as the driving potential of the night time energy removal. A potential energy efciency index was dened as the ratio between the hourly energy removal from the building, Qn, and the corresponding electric consumption of the fan, Qf. Even if it appears a general index, this coefcient is directly connected with the used fans, the extension of airow network and its dimensions. So a comparison of consumes between traditional cooling and night ventilation system is possible just referring to a precise study because of the innite possibilities on the design of air owing network. Geros et al. [5] tested on three different full scale buildings in Athens, under different structure, design, ventilation techniques and climatic characteristic: the rst a multi-zone air conditioned ofce building in the suburban area of the city, monitored with different air changes (up to 30 ACH) during the night, the second an air conditioned ofce building in the city centre, with light structure and high internal gains, natural ventilated during the night and the third a free-oating ofce building, with heavy structure and medium internal gains, in a low density built area in the city centre, with night natural cross ventilation. The study concerns just the indoor temperatures, not the consumptions. The three main parameters affecting the efciency are individuated to be: the difference between indoor and outdoor during the night periods, the air ow rate applied during the night and the thermal capacity of the building. Kolokotroni et al. [6] studied the possibility of introducing night ventilation for ofce buildings in moderate climates, such as UK, presenting plots of summer weather data on the bioclimatic chart for three different locations.

Concerning the climatic conditions, Shaviv et al. [7] studied the inuence of temperature difference between night and day on the maximum indoor temperature: for four different locations, placed in Israel, they found a linear correlation between maximum temperature and night and day temperature difference. Few parameters affects the effectiveness of thermal mass in buildings: the material properties, the building orientation, location and distribution of thermal mass, the thermal insulation, ventilation and use of auxiliary cooling systems, climatic conditions and occupancy patterns [8]. Shaviv and Capeluto [9] studied the inuence in a hot, humid climate, of four design parameters: building proportions, orientation, shading and area of walls and windows. For that conditions they demonstrated that with a good building insulation the most sensitive parameters are the windows dimensions, the summer window shading and the building orientation, while proportion, wall shading, have very small inuence. Cheng et al. [10] measured that the higher the level of solar radiation and the lighter the building, the more sensitive is the building performance to the envelope colour. Passing from black to white, inside unventilated and no window room, the maximum indoor temperature decreases of more than 10 1C. Givoni [11] monitored buildings with different mass levels in a summer of south California under different rates of ventilation and shading conditions. He noted that the effect of night ventilation was very effective in lowering the indoor temperatures just for high but not for low mass buildings. An experimental formula was elaborated in order to predict the maximum indoor air temperature in a particular day but it is not extendable to structures different from those studied. The inuence of insulation and building thermal mass on cooling loads was studied by Bojic and Yik [12] for highrise residential buildings in Honk Kong. The inuence of insulating the envelope reduced the early space cooling load up to 38% but depending on the positions of insulation layers in the wall could either increase or reduce the peak cooling loads, while reducing the peak capacity of envelope and partitions leads to a large increase in the peak cooling loads (up to 60%). Kalogirou et al. [13] presented a simulation with the TRNSYS program of a building placed in Cyprus: thermal mass coupled with night ventilation (3ACH) provides a cooling load reduction of 7.5%. For the great number of parameters affecting the effectiveness of thermal mass, all the theoretical analysis, the experimental reports and the different theoretical simulations produced certain results dispersion. It is however clear that night ventilation is one of the most economic ways to control summer electricity demand both in moderate and in hot climates (according to an efcient air ducts network design). The mass structure plays an essential role in the thermal response of the building: a high mass has smaller indoor air temperature variation than

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a low mass building; the difference between the maximum and the minimum outdoor temperatures during day and night is linearly correlated to the maximum indoor air temperature; the ventilation strategies assume a fundamental role in the control of electricity demand and an optimisation is possible according to variable night ventilation rates. Considering the role of night ventilation, it inuences the daily indoor conditions in different ways: reducing the pick indoor air temperatures, reducing the average of air temperature especially during the rst morning hours, reducing the walls temperatures and creating a time lag between the external and internal maximum temperatures [14]. According to the fact that night ventilation is particularly suited to ofce buildings that are usually unoccupied during the night time, in the last years a lot of applications, as green buildings, demonstrated the efciency of night ventilation systems associated to high thermal mass in moderate climates. For the high variability of climatic conditions and the great numbers of parameters inuencing the thermal efciency of a building, a great part of the studies of last 25 years on building thermal mass concerned the development of simplied design models for estimating the cooling loads, in order to give guidelines to a rational designs of the buildings. Some specic interesting design models for ofce building are reported in [1518]. Anyway as masterly explained by Givoni [19], architectural means for minimising the heat gains of buildings generally are less expensive than the application of cooling systems so, even if passive systems have to be adapted under a specic climate, it is always possible with an appropriate design. After a rational design of the fabric and of ventilation or conditioning system, in order to achieve season savings on electrical consumption, the ventilation strategies have to be well managed: an interesting eld of research of last years regards the development of real time transient cooling and heating requirements predicting methods based on the lecture of on-site data [20,21] and different techniques of optimisation for minimising energy consumption [22,23]. With the great improvement of the summer energy demand the roles of thermal mass and night cooling are fundamental in energy control. The study proposed tries to approach the development of t passive techniques under Italian climate, not sufciently studied. By means of air circulating through the cores of a concrete hollow core slab, the ceiling provides for both convective and radiative cooling; it absorbs part of thermal energy from the entering outdoor air and, at the same time, acts as a heat sink for the indoor environment. The difcult in modelling the ventilated slab consists in the complexity of the sum of contemporary thermal exchanges inside and outside the slab, in the description of the air owing through the ducts and in the absence of uniformity of temperatures distribution on the slab. One of the rst study about the ventilated hollowcore slab is due to Augenbroe and Vedder [24] who showed, by means of both experimental results and a nite elements

model, that the heat conduction in the concrete mass in the direction of the air ow is negligible in comparison to the heat transfer by air ow and that the heat conduction between the cores is negligible in comparison with the heat ows between slab surface and environment. For this reason, in few studies the surface between ducts is considered an adiabatic boundary. By means of these assumptions it was possible to Augenbroe and Vedder to study a simpler one-dimension method in good accordance with experimental results. Zmeureanu and Fazio [25] simulated one sunny day in Montreal of an ofce building with HC&NV system, varying the ventilation rate between the values 4, 12, 24 ACH and comparing the ventilation system with one of conventional design. The model is implicit at the nite differences, with time step of one hour. The authors underline the impossibility of nding values and simulations able to quantify the reduction of cooling load independently from the climate and the location. For their conditions, the authors verify that the ventilation rate, to cool the fabric sufciently in order to reduce cooling loads the next day, has to be increased at night from 4 ACH to 12 ACH. Ren and Wright [26] introduced, considering a transient analysis of an ofce room with HC&NV system, for the ventilated slab a simplied bi-dimensional lumped parameter model. The authors note that the previous analyses ignored the uid-dynamics properties of the heat transfer by airow cause in [25] and [24] the convection heat exchange coefcient was assumed to be constant. At the same time Winwood et al. [27] concluded that the major part of the heat transfer takes place at the corners of air path, according to computational uid dynamic modelling of the air owing through the slab. Ren and Wright, assumed the convection heat transfer coefcient around the corners of air cores approximately 50 times higher than that for a plain duct. Comparing the model with measured performance data for two sets of tests, the maximum error in air temperature leaving the ventilated slab was 1, 1 1C while the maximum error for the average temperature of the slab was 0, 3 1C. Anyway the correction of the convection heat transfer coefcient hc on the corners appears excessive. Russell and Surendran [28] investigated, by means of a nite difference discretization of a slab in 4691 nodes, the cooling potential of a typical hollow core slab in function of the number and relative disposition of the active sinks. They set that three active cores, located next to the room boundary, increase the cooling potential, over a traditional slab subject to night ventilation, by 335%. Barton et al. [29] used a two dimensional nite difference model similar to that developed by Ren and Wright but, according to the following studies of Winwood et al. [30] gave less importance to the exchange on the corners: while the slab temperature distribution varies sensibly on the corners the inuence on the air temperature is dramatically reduced. The theoretical results are in accordance with

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experimental data taken from literature. Two different utilisations of the cores are simulated: 3 and 5 active cores. And as it seems to be logic, ve cores work better than three as the longer is the air passage, the greater the dumpening effect on the air diurnal temperature range. Corgnati et al. [31] proposed a simplied nite difference method in which the slab is assimilated to a heat exchanger, and in order not to over estimate the contribution of corners, the convection heat transfer coefcient is set constant all along the ducts. In order to point the ideal contribution of the thermal storage of the slab, the internal temperature of the slab, at each time, is the same of the part exposed to the room. Starting from this model, this study explores the possibilities of building thermal mass activation by means of night ventilation under the Italian climate. 3. Numerical model 3.1. Model A numerical model is used to perform the dynamic simulations. The main issue, i.e. the analysis of the phenomena of heat transfer in transient conditions expressed in its typical differential formulation, has been solved with the explicit method. The room has been analysed with a model based on the nite differences. Each element involved in the thermal balance is described with one or more nodes. The temporal prole of the temperatures has been described with a constant step. At each time step the outdoor temperature, the solar gain and the internal heat gain with its convective and the radiative fractions are xed. At the generic time ti+1 the unknown quantity of the system is represented by the indoor air temperature, whose instantaneous value is given by the expression:   ta i 1 ta i Dta ifloor Dta iceiling   Dta iexternal walls Dta iinner walls   Dta iwindows Dta isolar heating   Dta iinner heating Dta iventilation . Hence, for a generic node i, at the time tk the temperature is a function of only the thermal ows of the previous time tk1. For a stable solution the following convergence criterion must be veried: Dto P Ci , j 1=Ri;j

The thermal exchange between the air owing in the oor slab and the concrete through the part of the duct corresponding to a node, occurs with an instantaneous logic, i.e. the inlet temperature of the air in a piece of slab is the same of that exiting from the previous piece. So, the real time utilised by the air to run along the part of the duct must be much smaller than the time step used in the simulation. Dtr Dx ( Dt. v The analysis was carried out by means of a special tool Simulinks of the commercial software Matlabs based on block algebra [31].

3.2. Assumptions, initial and boundary conditions The most important assumption regards the heat exchanger model of the concrete slab. Each ceiling slab was divided into 48 nodes. Each slab node is supposed to exchange energy with the ventilation air and with the indoor air. The heat conduction between the cores nodes is supposed to be negligible in comparison with the heat ows between slab surface and environment [24]. The convection coefcient for the thermal exchanges between ventilation air and concrete is calculated as a function of the ventilation rate, in order not to over estimate the contribution of corners, using the expression, for the Nusselt number: Nu 0:023 Re0:8 for fully developed ow. The indoor air is considered uniform inside the ambient, i.e. the air is supposed to be perfectly mixed. The xed internal heat gains are divided in a quote convective and radiative assumed to be of 60% and 40%, respectively. The analysed ofce room is contiguous to rooms at the same temperatures at each time steps, i.e. none heat ows are considered among contiguous rooms. The initial conditions were determined, in order to start with equilibrium temperatures simulating the indoor conditions with the rst day outdoor temperatures and irradiations repeated for 3 days. The surfaces temperatures founded for each ventilation system at the midnight of the third day were then used as initial conditions. 4. Numerical study 4.1. Room description The examined ofce room has a oor surface of (12 4.8) m2 and a height of 3 m. It is located in a medium oor of a multi-storey building. The room, shown in Fig. 1, presents three external walls, each one with a window of 4.8 m2, exposed respectively to east, south and west.

where the summation is extended to the contiguous nodes j to i. The ventilation system through the ducts of the oor slabs is modelled as a heat exchanger with the nite differences.

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The external walls are made of lightweight concrete blocks, modelled as an homogeneous material with the geometrical and thermal characteristics listed in Table 1. In the dynamical analysis with the nite differences, three nodes correspond to each wall. The partitions are supposed in lightweight aggregate concrete based on expanded clay. They divide rooms at the same temperatures. Their geometrical and thermal characteristics are shown in Table 2. In the dynamical analysis with the nite differences, three nodes correspond to the partition. With reference to the hollowcore slab, the width of each slab is 1.2 m so that four slabs are used to compose the oor. The hollowcore concrete slab is divided from the upper oor by means of an adiabatic surface. The lower side of the slabs constitutes the ceiling of the room so that the slab exchanges thermal energy both

inside, with the air owing through its ducts, and outside for natural convection with the air of the room and for radiation with the other room surfaces. Each slab is lighted by means of four cylindrical ducts with circular section with a diameter of 0.25 m as shown in Fig. 2. The air path through the four ducts of each slab is 29 m long (Fig. 3). Geometrical and thermal characteristics of the hollowcore slab are shown in Table 3. In the dynamical analysis with the nite differences, one node corresponds to the tiled oor, 48 to the ceiling. The three windows located at the three external walls are oriented, respectively, East, South and West, with a surface of 4.8 m2 each. Each window is composed by two clear glass sheets and an air space, respectively, of 0.006 and 0.012 m of with: the U value is 3 W/(m2 K). By means of a solar shading the solar radiation entering the room through the windows can be reduced up to 40%. The ofce room occupancy period ranges between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. During this period, three different kinds of uses are examined through three different internal gain levels: Light level Medium level Heavy level 30 W/m2 45 W/m2 60 W/m2

The outdoor climatic conditions are taken from the hourly meteorological collection of the test reference year relating to the city of Milan and to the month of July.

Fig. 1. The simulated ofce room.

Fig. 2. The hollowcore concrete slab section.

Table 1 External walls: thermal and geometrical data Geometrical characteristics Orientation East South West s [m] 0.40 0.40 0.40 S [m ] 14.4 36 14.4
2

Thermal-physical characteristics Snet [m ] 9.6 31.2 31.2


2

r [kg/m3] cw [J/(kgK)] l [W/(mK)] U [W/(mK)]

1600 880 0.7 0.67

Table 2 Partitions: thermal and geometrical data s [m] Partitions 0.14 S [m2] 50 r [kg/m3] 1100 cw [J/(kgK)] 840 l [W/(mK)] 0.32 U [W/(m2K)] 1.45

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Fig. 3. The simulated hollowcore slab.

Table 3 Hollowcore slab: thermal and geometrical data for a surface of (1.2 12)m2 s [m] Snet [m2] r [kg/m3] cw [J/(kgK)] l [W/(mK)] Tiled oor Adiabatic surface Concrete slab Hollowcore slab 0.06 0.005 0.05 0.40 14.4 14.4 14.4 0.284 2300 2400 2400 1071 900 900 0.67 0.67

Table 4 Ventilation logics during occupancy period tapte or taotcomf ta4te and taXtcomf ta4te and taXtcomf,inf and ACH 5 h1 ACH 2 h1 ACH 5 h1 ACH 5 h1

Table 5 Ventilation logics during not occupancy period IF AND ts420 1C ts421 1C ts422 1C ts423 1C AND ta421 1C ta421 1C ta421 1C ta421 1C THEN (h1) ACH 5 ACH 8 ACH 10 ACH 12 UNTIL teots teots teots teots & & & & tsX18 1C tsX18 1C tsX18 1C tsX18 1C

4.2. Ventilation strategies In order to assess the thermal performance of thermal mass hollowcore slab system coupled with night ventilation (TM+NV), three different congurations of ventilation strategies were simulated and analysed. The studies were performed considering that no Air Handling Units (AHU) system works to modify the ventilation air psychometric properties. In particular, the following ventilation strategies were examined: 4.2.1. Daily ventilation, DV During the occupancy period, the room is ventilated with 2 h1 air change rates not owing through the hollowcore slab but t in the room by a traditional mixing ventilation system. During the non-occupancy period, the room is not ventilated. 4.2.2. Daily and night ventilation, DV&NV During the occupancy period, the room is ventilated with 2 or 5 h1 air change rates per hour (Table 4), not owing through the hollowcore slab but t in the room by a traditional mixing ventilation system. During the nonoccupancy period, the room is ventilated with 5, 8, 10 or 12 h1 air exchanging rates. The ventilation rate is function of the indoor and outdoor air temperature. 4.2.3. Daily and night ventilation through the hollowcore concrete slabs, HC&DV&NV During the occupancy period, the room is ventilated with 2 or 5 h1 air exchanging rates owing through the hollowcore concrete slab (Table 4). During the nonoccupancy period, the room is ventilated with 5, 8, 10 or

teots teots teots teots

12 h1 air change rate per hour, as a function of the hollowcore and outdoor air temperature (Table 5). The basic daily ventilation system DV does not need any control: the only aim of such ventilation is to guarantee the suitable number of ACH for indoor air quality. Instead, DV&NV and HC&DV&NV systems need a criterion to activate one of four different ACH levels. Referring to HC&DV&NV system, which is the main object of the study, the ventilation purposes during occupancy and non-occupancy periods are different. During the occupancy period the rst purpose consists in maintaining adequate IAQ level and possibly acceptable temperature; during the non-occupancy period the system tries to refresh the hollowcore concrete slab until its temperature is sufciently low to help the room cooling in the following day. In the occupancy period, the ACH assumes the value of 2 or 5 h1, as a function of the relationship between outdoor air temperature and indoor air temperature, as presented in Table 4. In the non-occupancy period, the ACH assumes the value of 5, 8, 10 or 12 h1, as a function of the relationship between outdoor air temperature and slab average temperature, as shown in Table 5. It is important to highlight that in the peak summer period, which is analysed in the present study, usually the indoor air temperature does not inuence the ventilation strategy because the outdoor temperature during the night

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assumes values round the minimum comfort indoor temperature. In the same way or likewise it should be noted that the slab and the indoor air reference temperatures, xed in this specic case, respectively, at 18 and 21 1C, have to be changed along the year, as a function of the desired indoor temperature levels. In particular, in the peak summer period, the heat stored during the occupation time often risks to be so high that also during night period the ventilation air owing out of the ceiling slab is not able to reduce the indoor temperature less than 21 1C. As a consequence, in the peak summer period the main cooling action is delegated to the ceiling slab: hence the night control strategy is driven only by the slab temperature in order to reduce its temperature at its minimum possible level. During occupancy hours, the operative temperature acceptable interval is xed at (2672) 1C. 5. Results and discussion 5.1. Generalities The simulation results are presented by means of time prole indoor air temperatures, from which the system behaviour is clear in its fundamental aspects, by means of frequency distribution graphics, from which a synthetic quantitative analysis is introduced, and nally analysed in terms of discomfort indexes. With reference to the discomfort indexes, in order to synthetically evaluate the NV+TM thermal performance in maintaining acceptable temperature levels inside the ofce, two indexes are dened: Discomfort over-temperature Time Percentage, DTP weighted Discomfort temperature Index, DI The DTP index measures the discomfort time during the occupancy period: it is the percentage of time where the indoor temperature overcomes the xed temperature upper limit, xed at 28 1C. The DI index is calculated by the following expression: X DI wi ta i tcomf;sup , wi ta i tcomf;sup ,

DI

2 ta i tcomf;sup .

Hence, it is the sum of the weight difference between air temperature and the upper comfort limit. The weight factor wi is represented by the difference itself [32]. These indexes, together with the indoor air temperature proles and the frequency distributions analysed for each performed simulation, give an appropriate tool to assess the performance of each ventilation system. The time proles and frequency distributions are here graphically presented, for brevity, just for the case study with 45 W/m2 of internal gains. The results obtained for the whole analysed combinations are synthetically shown in Table 6, in terms of average indoor operative temperatures t0 and the indoor temperature deviation standard Dst during the occupancy period.

5.2. Time prole analysis The indoor operative temperature proles for medium internal gains (45 W/m2) are shown in Fig. 4, where also the outdoor temperature prole is plotted. The curve on top is the case of daily ventilation (DV). Obviously, it represents the worst scenario, with a temperatures range variation between 24 and 44 1C. During the occupancy period, the temperature is ever outside the acceptable limits: day after day, during the warmest period of the year, the heat stored in the room increases. As the aim of the daily ventilation is the IAQ, the ventilation during the occupancy period traduces in added thermal load for the building; this time prole gives an idea about the thermal stress of the room. The fact that night ventilation is absent produces that just the dispersions through the walls help to diminish the indoor temperature. The DV system represents the landmark for the other systems. From this point of view the temperature prole with DV represents the heat effect on the room temperature produced by the internal loads, by the solar gains and by the primary ventilation without any temperature control. Moreover, it is should be noted that the indoor operative temperature is much higher then the outdoor air, for the effect of the building thermal inertia. As a consequence it is remarkable that an inertial system as the medium-heavy building object of our study can worsen the indoor temperatures keeping inside the heat entering the room or inside produced: so the thermal inertia has to

Table 6 Average indoor operative temperatures, t0,m, and the indoor temperature standard deviation, Dst, during the occupancy time for the analysed congurations Internal loads [W/m2] DV t0,m [1C] 30 45 60 34.91 37.65 40.37 Dst [1C] 3.74 4.55 5.35 DV&NV t0,m [1C] 25.73 26.31 27.38 Dst [1C] 1.47 1.69 1.85 HC&DV&NV t0,m [1C] 24.41 25.21 26.03 Dst [1C] 1.72 1.89 2.07

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DV
45 43 41 39 37 35 33 31 29 27 25 23 21 19 17 15 13 11 9

DV & NV

HC & DV & NV

te

Temperature [C]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

(a)

Day DV & NV
30 29 28 27

HC & DV & NV

Temperature [C]

26 25 24 23 22 21 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

(b)

Day
Fig. 4. Time prole temperatures for 45 W/m2.

be managed carefully in order to improve the indoor temperature control. The two other curves in Fig. 4a represent the indoor air temperatures with night ventilation. For clearness they are even plotted in Fig. 4b. As the night air change rates are high, the temperatures range sensibly reduces. The hollowcore slab ventilation enables to improve further on the indoor air temperature damping peak. By the analysis of HC&NV and HC&DV&NV proles, the improved thermal mass effect is clearly highlighted, as shown in Fig. 5 where the difference between the indoor air temperatures for the HC&DV&NV and DV&NV is presented. During the night time, this difference diminishes

and at times is positive: the ceiling slabs give up the heat stored during the day to the ventilation air introduced in the room. As a consequence, the indoor air temperature is colder for a simple night ventilation system represented by the DV&NV with respect to HC&DV&NV. Nevertheless changing from night to day time, and especially during the occupancy period, the same difference is negative: the average difference is 0.7 1C. As a consequence, the hollowcore ventilation improves the system efciency in maintaining acceptable temperatures during occupancy periods, in comparison with a traditional ventilation system, being equal the air ow rate.

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Occupation period
1.5 1 0.5

Temperature [C]

0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -2 -2.5 -3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Day
Fig. 5. Time Prole Temperatures Difference between HC & DV & NV and DV & NV for 45 W/m2.

As the hollowcore slabs during the night give up the stored heat to the air entering the room, its besides possible to use a higher ACH then with a traditional system without reducing too much the indoor air temperature. Or, at a parity of ACH, reaching later the ta limit, the ventilation can work for a longer time, restoring uniformity at the indoor temperatures. So the inertial system, properly activated, gives positive effects even in terms of redistribution of heat stored in the building. In Table 5 the ventilation logics are presented: during the non-occupancy period, when the ceiling temperature overcomes a limit value, a ventilation rate is activated and continues until the ceiling reaches the safely temperature or until the occupation period begins. 5.3. Frequency distribution analysis The frequency distribution analysis focus on the indoor air temperature analysis during the occupancy period, where acceptable temperature levels have to be maintained. In Fig. 6, the results about DV are presented: less then 10% of the occupancy period the indoor operative temperature is below the upper limit of 28 1C. The rest of the time the indoor air temperature turns over 39 1C up to 43 1C even if outdoor temperature is lower. A lighter building structure with the same DV system would introduce higher indoor temperatures during occupation time but mainly in phase with outdoor temperature than the structure studied. This underlines the importance of managing in the most suitable way the thermal mass in order to obtain positive effects on the peak cooling loads and temperatures. Fig. 7 presents the temperatures distribution for DV&NV system. Balancing the heat loads introduced in

the room during the day with the effect of the night ventilation, the peak temperatures in occupation time maintains below 30 1C. Moreover, the 80% of the indoor air temperature values are inside the acceptable range. Fig. 8 shows the performances with the DV&HC& NV. The peak temperatures are lower than 30 1C. It is remarkable that about the 85% of the temperature values are below the upper temperature limits of 28 1C: indeed up to 20% of the temperatures during the occupation period are lower than the minimum value of 24 1C. It is evident that the use of this system allows obtaining temperature values sensibly lower than also with DV&NV. In order to compare effectively DV&NV and DV&HC&NV, in Fig. 9 the distribution of the indoor operative temperatures differences, during the occupation time, between HC&DV&NV and DV&NV in shown: the ceiling thermal mass results to be positively activated, giving indoor temperatures lower than a simple night ventilation system with the same air ow rate. The indoor air temperature maintains always lower with DV&HC&NV, mainly ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 1C. If instead the operative, the air temperature was considered the difference was greater: this for the fact that HC&DV&NV provides lower air temperatures but higher ceiling temperature, during the day. 5.4. Discomfort analysis The analysis of the discomfort indexes allows to synthetically judge the performance of the different analysed ventilation systems. The results are shown for internal gains of 30, 45 and 60 W/m2. In Fig. 10 the discomfort temperature time percentage in occupation time is shown.

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Frequency 4000 3500

Cumulated Frequency 100%

Frequency

2500 60% 2000 1500 1000 20% 500 0 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 Temperature [C]


Fig. 6. DV, internal gains 45 W/m2frequency distribution.

40%

0%

Frequency

Cumulated Frequency

4000 3500

acceptable interval

100%

Frequency

2500 60% 2000 1500 1000 20% 500 0 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Temperature [C]


Fig. 7. DV & NV Internal gains 45 W/m2frequency distribution.

40%

0%

For each internal gain levels, the DTP curve for DV assumes very high values, ranging from about 92% up to about 97%. For DV&NV and HC&DV&NV the DTP is signicantly lower than for DV, but it is evident that the DTP highly increase with the increasing of the internal gains, ranging respectively about from 7% to 37%, and from 0 to 20%. It is also evident that with HC&DV&NV highly better performance can be obtained. For the DV&NV system, only the case with low internal gains presents acceptable indoor temperature, i.e., the DTP maintains under 10%; such result is obtained with HC&DV&NV system for medium internal gains, where the 8.5% of discomfort percentage is evaluated. Growing internal loads, the cooling effect of the activated concrete continues but it is not sufcient to guarantee keep

discomfort times below 20%. It is important to remark that in this study the integration of the HC with an Air Handling Unit was not examined: obviously such a combination driven with an appropriate operating logic can lead to a decrease of DTP keeping low the energy requirements. In Fig. 11 the Discomfort Index, as a function of the internal gain levels, is shown in semi-logarithmic scale for the different ventilation systems. The difference between HC&DV&NV and DV&NV gives a precise indication about the maximum energy saving related to the coupling of the ventilation system with the hollowcore concrete slab with the same air change rate per hour. The difference is signicant: at low internal gains (0 K2 with HC&DV&NV and around 2400 K2 with DV&NV)

Frequency percentage

3000

80%

Frequency percentage

3000

acceptable interval

80%

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Frequency Cumulated Frequency

3500
acceptable interval

100%

3000 2500 Frequency 2000 1500 40% 1000 20% 500 0 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Temperature [C]
Fig. 8. HC & DV & NV Internal gains 45 W/m2frequency distribution.

60%

0%

Frequency

Cumulated Frequency

HC & NV & DV

NV & DV

Frequency percentage

80%

DV

9000 8000 7000 Frequency 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 -2.5 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 Temperature difference [C]

100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Percentage frequency

10000000 1000000 100000 DI [K2] 10000 1000 100 10 1 30 45 Internal gains [W/m2] 60

Fig. 9. Temperatures difference between HC&DV&NV and DV&NV internal gains 45 W/m2frequency distribution.

Fig. 11. Discomfort Index in occupation time.

HC & DV & NV

DV & NV

DV

6. Conclusions A numerical model at the nite differences is used to describe by a Simulinks model the operative temperatures distribution of an open space ofce room placed in Milan, Italy, during the month of July. Only few study on the possibilities offered by thermal mass activation systems through outdoor ventilation strategies are referred in literature to the Mediterranean, and especially Italian, climate. This paper tries to match this question. The performances of two free cooling systems are examined and compared: one is a traditional mixing ventilation, the other is characterized by the thermal mass activation of the ceiling hollow core slabs. Both systems use great outdoor air change rates during the night to pre-cool the ofce. In fact, the analysed simulated ofce was exposed to a great thermal stress as is shown by the ofce temperatures analysis ventilated just with the primary ventilation and not with a night ventilation nor an HVAC help.

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 30 45 Internal gains [W/m2] 60

DTP

Fig. 10. Discomfort time percentage in occupation time.

and the difference tends to increase with the internal gains growing (at high internal gains the HC&DV&NV grows at 1400 K2 while the DV&NV rise at 39000 K2).

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Simulations show that the hollow core ventilation system offers an average operative temperature lower of more of 1 1C at the same ventilation rates for each of three endogenous internal gains simulated (30, 45, 60 W/m2) in comparison with the traditional system. Considering for the case of 45 W/m2 the temperature distribution analysis, the better performance is shown by a temperature prole moved in the eld 2329 1C in comparison with the traditional system (2430 1C). Moreover, more than 90% of occupation period presents temperature below the maximum acceptable limit of 28 1C (this percentage decrease to about 80% with DV&NV), and about 30% of values are lower than 24 1C, highlighting the capability of the system to produce signicant under-temperature effects. This study shows that the night ventilation, better if coupled with mass activation, can drastically help on reducing summer cooling loads and on improving thermal comfort, also in Mediterranean climate. References
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