Simulation-based decision support tool for early stages of zero-energy building design

S.G. Attia, E. Grätia, A. De Herde, J.L.M. Hensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

326 Citations (Scopus)
678 Downloads (Pure)


There is a need for decision support tools that integrate energy simulation into early design of zero energy buildings in the architectural practice. Despite the proliferation of simulation programs in the last decade, there are no ready-to-use applications that cater specifically for the hot climates and their comfort conditions. Furthermore, the majority of existing tools focus on evaluating the design alternatives after the decision making, and largely overlook the issue of informing the design before the decision making. This paper presents energy-oriented software tool that both accommodates the Egyptian context and provides informative support that aims to facilitate decision making of zero energy buildings. A residential benchmark was established coupling sensitivity analysis modelling and energy simulation software (EnergyPlus) as a means of developing a decision support tool to allow designers to rapidly and flexibly assess the thermal comfort and energy performance of early design alternatives. Validation of the results generated by the tool and ability to support the decision making are presented in the context of a case study and usability testing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-15
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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