Performance-based Facade Framework

Automated and Multi-Objective Simulation and Optimization Method



Buildings have a considerable impact on the environment, and it is crucial to consider environmental and energy performance in building design. Buildings account for about 40% of the global energy consumption and contribute over 30% of the CO2 emissions. A large proportion of this energy is used for meeting occupants’ thermal comfort in buildings, followed by lighting. The building facade forms a barrier between the exterior and interior environments, therefore it has a crucial role in improving energy efficiency and building performance.

In this regard, decision-makers are required to establish an optimal solution, considering multi-objective problems that are usually competitive and nonlinear, such as energy consumption, financial costs, environmental performance, occupant comfort, etc. Sustainable building design requires considerations of a large number of design variables and multiple, often conflicting objectives, such as the initial construction cost, energy cost, energy consumption and occupant satisfaction. One approach to address these issues is the use of building performance simulations and optimization methods.

This paper presents a novel method for improving building facade performance, taking into consideration occupant comfort, energy consumption and energy costs. The paper discusses development of a framework, which is based on multi-objective optimization and uses a genetic algorithm in combination with building performance simulations. The framework utilizes EnergyPlus simulation engine and Python programming to implement optimization algorithm analysis and decision support. The framework enhances the process of performance-based facade design, couples simulation and optimization packages, and provides flexible and fast supplements in facade design process by rapid generation of design alternatives.


Photo of Mahsa Minaei

Mahsa Minaei

Ph.D. Candidate-Author

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Photo of Ajla Aksamija

Ajla Aksamija

Associate Professor-Co Author

University of Massachusetts Amherst



Buildings and construction sectors combined are responsible for 36% of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions (IEA 2019). Buildings’ energy demand continues

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Previous related research regarding building envelope and simulation-based optimization are discussed below. Application of computational optimization methods in sustainable building envelope design with focus on residential retrofits was reviewed in

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Methodology: Development of Framework for Performance-based Facade Design

The new framework for performance-based facade design, aiming to minimize building energy consumption and energy cost while considering occupants’ comfort level, was developed as part of this research. This is

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Conclusion and Future Work

This paper discussed the role of simulations and optimization in design decision-making process. Then, a novel performance-based facade design framework was described, where different performance criteria and variables have been

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