Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering, PhD

Committee Chair

McGinley, William M.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Ghasemi-Fare, Omid

Committee Member

Ghasemi-Fare, Omid

Committee Member

Rockaway, Thomas D.

Committee Member

Wang, Hui

Author's Keywords

Energy efficient buildings; sustainability; building energy saving; pipe embedded walls


For the past few decades, the importance and the technology of building energy conservation is increasing. In support of this research into energy efficiency, the Department of Energy has developed simulation models of sixteen buildings representing most commercial buildings in the US. In this research, four of these sixteen prototype models were used in energy conservation analyses variety of energy conservation strategies in the seven US Climate Zones. To estimate the effectiveness of several common energy conservation measures on yearly building energy use, holistic analyses were conducted using software that accounts for the interactions of the building systems, occupants and the environment, including the impacts of thermal mass. In this investigation, the influence of thermal mass was also evaluated using thermal heat flow models. A novel energy conservation measure, an active thermal insulation wall system (ATIWS) that used circulating fluids in walls, was introduced and the influence of fluid temperature, pipe location and pipe spacing were evaluated using the proposed a series of thermal heat flow analyses. Some conventional wall configurations and the active thermal insulation wall system were tested using hot box tests. The test results showed good agreement with predictions by thermal heat flow models. The impact of active insulation system was confirmed by the testing program. These tests showed that pipe location, pipe spacing and fluid temperature impacted the performance of active thermal insulation wall system. To evaluate the viability of the various energy conservation measures investigated, a series of payback analysis was also performed. Comparisons of energy conservation performance of conventional energy conservation strategies and the ATIWS system were made. Strategies for improved energy behavior of building systems were identified for the four different types of buildings studied, for all seven climate zones. The investigation showed that improving lighting, optimizing HVAC system setpoints, and adopting the active thermal insulation wall system had the greatest impact on energy use.