Thermal inertia is one of the ancient passive techniques for cooling buildings in hot climates where there are high air temperature swings and intense solar radiation. Due to sustainable concerns, several studies have taken up this concept showing that buildings with high thermal inertia has potential to reduce peak cooling loads and indoor air temperature fluctuations improving both the energy efficiency of buildings and the thermal comfort of their occupants. Other studies also have demonstrated that the thermal inertia depends mainly on variables such as building shape and their solar orientation, thermal mass of the envelope (thermal capacity) and their thermal insulation (thermal resistance), and the glazing area. In naturally ventilated buildings two factors stands out – the ventilation strategies and the occupancy level – these can affect the building thermal inertia in a significant way. This paper presents the effect of these two variables in the thermal inertia of a small office building located in the city of São Paulo. The thermal performance of the building was obtained for a summer design day using EnergyPlus software and considering twenty different walls with low to very high thermal mass. It was analysed the indoor air temperature fluctuations as an indicator of the building thermal inertia. The results show that buildings with low occupancy with the correct amount of wall thermal mass and ventilation rate can provide acceptable thermal conditions reducing or even eliminating the need of air conditioning systems in small office buildings.
BRITO, Adriana Camargo de; AKUTSU, Maria; VITTORINO, Fúlvio; AQUILINO, Marcelo de Mello. The effect of ventilation rate and occupancy level on the thermla inertia of a small office in the city of São Paulo. In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AIR DISTRIBUTION IN ROOMS: NEW VENTILATIONS STRATEGIES, 13., 2014, São Paulo. Proceedings… 8 p.
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