All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jason T Kirby

Advisory Committee Members

Fouad H Fouad

Akel I Kahera

Melinda M Lalor

Kathleen M Leonard

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering

Abstract

The U.S. building industry constitutes the largest consumer of energy (i.e., electricity, natural gas, petroleum) in the world. The building sector uses almost 41percent of the primary energy and approximately 72percent of the available electricity in the United States. As global energy-generating resources are being depleted at exponential rates, the amount of energy consumed and wasted cannot be ignored. Professionals concerned about the environment have placed a high priority on finding solutions that reduce energy consumption while maintaining occupant comfort. Sustainable design and the judicious combination of building materials comprise one solution to this problem. A future including sustainable energy may result from using energy simulation software to accurately estimate energy consumption and from applying building materials that achieve the potential results derived through simulation analysis. Energy-modeling tools assist professionals with making informed decisions about energy performance during the early planning phases of a design project, such as determining the most advantageous combination of building materials, choosing mechanical systems, and determining building orientation on the site. By implementing energy simulation software to estimate the effect of these factors on the energy consumption of a building, designers can make adjustments to their designs during the design phase when the effect on cost is minimal. The primary objective of this research consisted of identifying a method with which to properly select energy-efficient building materials and involved evaluating the potential of these materials to earn LEED credits when properly applied to a structure. In addition, this objective included establishing a framework that provides suggestions for improvements to currently available simulation software that enhance the viability of the estimates concerning energy efficiency and the achievements of LEED credits. The primary objective was accomplished by using conducting several simulation models to determine the relative energy efficiency of wood-framed, metal-framed, and Aerated Autoclaved Concrete (AAC) wall structures for both commercial and residential buildings.

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Engineering Commons

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