A: Design and planning methodology

A05 - Building physics system concepts and planning methods for construction and operation of adaptive structures

Adaptive, ultralight buildings challenge building physical planning, since the previously widely used and established engineering tools for building and HVAC simulation and previously proven evaluation methods with regard to thermal comfort are only limited or no longer applicable. For the design of adaptive ultra-lightweight façade elements for local climate control, suitable methods for comfort evaluation are lacking so far.

The aim of project A05 is to develop building physics system concepts for adaptive structures and planning methods for their design and operation.


The subproject investigates the following scientific questions::

  • Can an equally comfortable environment be created at lower room air temperatures by heating close to the body (e.g. by adaptive façade elements) as under neutral conditions?
  • Does the perception of local asymmetry differ from homogeneous conditions also for the same total thermal load?
  • Does the type of heat transfer (radiation or convection) and the positioning of local heating elements influence the comfort rating?

Adaptive ultralight structures offer great energy-saving potential due to their ability to adapt to changing conditions. Due to adaptive façade elements and the lack of thermal mass, adaptive ultralight buildings can locally ensure an optimal quality of ambient and without time delay, especially when a workplace is used temporarily. So far, thermal conditioning has still been based on stationary temperature set points. Therefore, an appropriate set point temperature must be reached before the user arrives in the room and must be maintained for the entire time-of-use. Whether a user is actually present in the room is not taken into account. Adaptive structure elements with integrated heating or cooling elements ensure that a significantly lower temperature level is sufficient during the heating period. In order to guarantee thermal comfort under such conditions, a comfort model is developed by which the inhomogeneous boundary conditions can be evaluated regarding user comfort. For this purpose, different scenarios were tested in the HiPIE laboratory at the Fraunhofer IBP, based on which the model is developed.



The project investigates the following scientific questions:

  • How may adaptive components be integrated into existing control concepts?
  • Which requirements on the actuators and sensors result from the interplay of adaptive components and a transient comfort model?

The goal is to create a modular and parametrizable simulation database for the analysis of various configurations. For this purpose, dynamic models for system components with building physical adaptivity will be developed.

An active control concept is necessary to utilize the interrelations between system components determined in the model and to meet user comfort requirements. It will be developed based on a new synthesis model and serve to ensure user comfort within the rooms.

Requirements for actuators and sensors for adaptive components are derived from the investigations in A05. The developed control and regulation concepts are tested and validated in simulations using exemplary room models. In the further course of the project, the control system will be implemented in a sample unit of the demonstrator and validated experimentally.

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Philip Leistner, Institute for Acoustics and Building Physics 
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr. h.c. Oliver Sawodny, Institute for System Dynamics


This image shows Marius Oei
M. Sc.

Marius Oei

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

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