A Trade Space Exploration Process to Optimize Advanced Energy Retrofit Design for Buildings

Open Access
Zhang, Ying
Graduate Program:
Industrial Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 26, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Timothy William Simpson, Thesis Advisor
  • John Messner, Thesis Advisor
  • Trade Space Exploration
  • Energy Retrofit Design
  • Building System
  • Data Visualization
Trade space exploration and multidimensional data visualization tools have been developed to facilitate design decision-making in an interactive environment. Trade space exploration recognizes the importance of subsystem trade-offs since different domains that are involved in complex engineering system design usually have interdependent, or even conflicting interrelationships. Building system design, as a special case of complex engineering system design, requires decisions to be adaptively developed throughout a long timespan to incorporate changing information, as well as to fully explore the trade space in an efficient manner so that alternative futures are included in the proper planning scenario. This thesis, and the research behind it, provides a method to incorporate the trade space exploration process into the early design phase for advanced energy retrofit projects for buildings. It uses a developed list of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) and their combinatorial impact on the energy and cost performance after identifying the dependency matrix. A potential retrofit building is used as a test bed for this research with the aid of an existing energy simulation application. This case study is used to illustrate the process and value of this approach. Benefits of the trade space exploration process include: (1) identification of the drawbacks of traditional ‘rules-of-thumb’ in building design, (2) sufficient and rigorous evaluation of the trade space for building energy design, and its impact on future needs, contexts, and timelines, (3) identification of ‘optimal’ design options as well as dominated designs and their distinguishing features, and (4) an automatic tool for evaluating building system design performance in a interactive visual environment to facilitate decision-making.