Parametric Facade Design

Glazing Optimization for Energy Demand Reduction



Parametric Design has become an invaluable tool for complex tasks like designing energy efficient buildings when joined to performance-based methodologies. Parameterization allows the integration of envelope, shape and performance variables in one single and transparent process. We apply this framework to design an office/housing building in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires (MABA). As envelope composition plays an important role in the energy demand of a building, the scope of this research is to design and test building shapes in the early stages of the design process to achieve energy savings

The performance based methodology combines a 3D environment (Rhinoceros), a parametric plug-in (Grasshopper), and a genetic algorithm (Galapagos) to obtain the optimized morphological alternatives. We sum hourly thermal gains and losses through the envelope to obtain heating and cooling demand indexes for typical winter and summer days utilizing sol-air temperature. First, we optimize the building massing, minimizing the cooling index, with a fixed window to wall ratio to obtain eighteen building morphologies.

Then, while keeping fixed the building morphologies and the cooling index, we optimize the window-to-wall ratio with the genetic solver to obtain another eighteen alternatives. These new alternatives provide designers with more facade options to explore.

As the model utilizes sol-air temperature, we can analyze the incidence of solar gains through the envelope hour by hour. This methodology allows designers to explore the relation between solar gains and envelope properties such as facade color and texture to improve energy performance from a bioclimatic perspective.


Photo of Patricia E. Camporeale

Patricia E. Camporeale

Posdoc Researcher

National University of La Plata

Photo of María del Pilar Mercader Moyano

María del Pilar Mercader Moyano

University of Seville - National University of La Plata



As cities’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rise because of the increasing energy demand from a growing urban population, energy efficiency in buildings has emerged as an unavoidable issue since buildings

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Brief Literature Review

New technologies join architectural design with energy performance. We can find many examples of performance-based digital tools to integrate these two issues, which have become necessary for complex tasks like

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Research Objectives and Methods

The main objective of this work is to provide a methodology to obtain energy efficient building shapes, optimizing orientation and glazing by a 2-step process in the early stages of

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The Case Study

The Building Localization, Climate and Uses

We propose a multipurpose high-rise building (offices, housing and mixed-use) in three masses of different useful area joined together: 3000 sqm housing in 1

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In the first optimization, we selected eighteen shapes, which are shown in Fig. 5: 1E to 18E. This methodology delivers a great variety of mass assemblages, with good energy efficiency

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Energy Plus Model Validation

We proceed to validate DCOOL and DHEAT, calculating Energy Plus heating and cooling demands, by means of the Grashopper plug-in: DIVA (Jakubiec, A. & Reinhardt, C., 2011). We choose alternatives

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Climate Change mitigation goals are sharpening design strategies as regulatory pressures and environment social concerns increase. Therefore, our objective is to test a multi-objective optimization method to help designers deliver

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