Generative Design Tool

Integrated Approach Toward Development of Piezoelectric Facade System



The piezoelectric facade as a self-sustained technology can generate a considerable amount of energy by converting swaying motions (actuated by the wind) into power. However, the limitations and constraints such as the high cost of material and unoptimized configuration of the facade are the major obstacles in the path of manufacturing and commercialization for the building industry. In this paper, the integrated design tool is presented and tested to optimize the facade configuration based on seasonal wind patterns and improve the environmental performance of the facade. The agent-based modeling and simulation techniques (ABMS) are employed to integrate the distinct design processes of piezoelectric facade into one system. Hence, a generative tool is developed and informed by piezoelectric material characteristics and climatic constraints. Through this process, first, the impact of the wind on building’s envelopes is analyzed by the Computational Fluid Dynamics CFD to determine the wind velocity and pressure of each zone on the facade. Then by modeling the behavior of modules in an agent-based system modeling software (Net logo), certain characteristics of modules (height, and distance from each other) become the emergent optimum properties. Finally, the analytical method is used to compare the optimum facade configuration with base case scenario regarding the environmental and economic factors.

The results show the integrated design tool generate emergent design configurations that improved the settings of modules by reducing the material and adjusting the location and size of them based on the velocity and pressure of prevailing wind at different parts of the facade. Moreover, this approach provides the development path for piezoelectric facade system to be adapted to different building morphologies and climate. This project has a clear benefit to society by increasing energy efficiency and lowering material and building construction costs. The design guidelines and strategies as the results of this study can then be used to educate designers and engineers worldwide, ultimately resulting in high rise buildings with minimal ecological footprints.


Photo of Amir Hosseinzadeh Zarrabi

Amir Hosseinzadeh Zarrabi

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Photo of Mona Azarbayjani

Mona Azarbayjani

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Photo of Maryam Tavakoli

Maryam Tavakoli

University of North Carolina at Charlotte



The piezoelectric facade as an alternative to harvesting on-site renewable energy is tremendous. Harnessing wind by piezoelectric technology can be one of the cleanest and most sustainable ways to generate

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Piezoelectric Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) and polyvinylidene difluoride, (PVDF) microcantilever are used as flow sensing and energy harvesting capability. The application of the self-sustained sensing autonomous microsystem in exterior building

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In this study, an Agent-Based modeling system is used to simulate and optimize proliferation of bars to evaluate optimized scenarios for their configurations in response to wind patterns (Fig. 2)

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Data and Explanation

For this experimental design tool, the generation of piezoelectric façade configurations is based on all the possible positions for 50% and 60% of coverage on the south façade of a

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Conclusion and Future Work

Current research has illustrated the effective approach towards designing of a piezoelectric façade system by implementing an integrated optimization tool, where environmental principals along with manufacturing process and the facade

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We thank our colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who provided insight and expertise that greatly assisted the research, although they may not agree with all of the conclusions of this paper.

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