Restricted (Penn State Only)
Mostavi, Ehsan
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 05, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Somayeh Asadi, Dissertation Advisor
  • Somayeh Asadi, Committee Chair
  • James Freihaut, Committee Member
  • Lisa Domenica Iulo, Committee Member
  • Ute Poerschke, Outside Member
  • Chimay Anumba, Committee Member
  • Building energy performance
  • building design optimization
  • occupants' behavior
  • harmony search algorithm
  • building envelope design tool
  • multiobjective optimization
The worldwide challenge for energy has become acuter than ever before. The shortage of fossil fuels as the number one resource of energy carrier has emphasized the need for revising the current trend of energy consumption. Additionally, the public awareness of carbon footprint problems has compelled experts to take proper environmental measurements. Energy efficiency measures are widely spread nowadays, and the main issue is to determine the most effective strategies. Recent statistics show that building sector is the main contributor to the world total energy consumption, which makes it responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In particular, commercial buildings are under a special focus as they consume about 18% of total energy in the United States (U.S.). Since over 80% of the total energy use in buildings happens during the operational phase, governments have been employing several policies to support energy consumption reduction during buildings operation phase as an instantaneous and cost-effective method to decrease GHG emissions. Several factors including design and installation of suitable technology and occupants can significantly contribute to the success of energy efficiency measures. The proper design of buildings necessitates paying specific attention to the conceptual stage since numerous possible design options are made and roughly assessed to achieve the optimum solution. The diversity of proposed measures in the literature requires the decision maker to recompense several factors including environmental, energy, cost, and social factors to achieve the optimum solution. This requires designers to have access to a unique energy-efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly model to address the interdependency of building design parameters and occupancy behaviors considering the whole life cycle of commercial buildings. The primary goal of the proposed research is to develop a multi-objective optimization tool to assess the impacts of building design parameters on total energy consumption, associated environmental impacts, and total cost during the life cycle of commercial buildings as well as identifying the optimum solutions, which can satisfy all other objectives. The outcomes of this research provide the industry with a tool to identify a more sustainable, affordable, and occupant satisfactory construction. This research has been accomplished through the fulfilment of multiple pre-defined tasks. These pre-defined tasks include identifying the construction-based and occupant-based parameters influencing the energy consumption of buildings and equip a case study building with sub-metering instruments. The outcomes of these tasks were used in the next tasks to calibrate the energy models and develop the multi-objective optimization tool. The optimization tool, utilizes a Harmony Search (HS) based search engine to determine the optimum solution. The final task of this research was to prepare a proper Graphical User Interface (GUI) to facilitate the use of the optimization tool. Although the developed optimization tool is focused on the Life Cycle Emission (LCE), Life Cycle Cost (LCC), and occupants’ thermal satisfaction, it can be extended and modified to include other types of objectives.