Building Simulation

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 615–627 | Cite as

Validation and modification of modeling thermally activated building systems (TABS) using EnergyPlus

  • Tao Yu
  • Per Heiselberg
  • Bo Lei
  • Michal Pomianowski
Research Article Building Systems and Components


EnergyPlus (EP) integrates a low temperature radiant system module to evaluate thermal performance of radiant systems such as thermally activated building systems (TABS), but the assumptions in this module neglect thermal resistance of the pipe and thermal resistance between the pipe exterior surface and the pipe level, which may result in the inaccurate evaluation of TABS in terms of surface temperature and surface heat flow. In this paper, in order to validate this module used in EP, steady and transient heat transfer processes of TABS in buildings were studied by analytical solution, two-dimensional numerical simulation and EP simulation. The comparison shows that the assumptions indeed result in a largely overestimated cooling and heating capacity of TABS. In order to improve this radiant module, a simple solution of introducing a no mass material layer with the neglected thermal resistances to both sides of the pipe level was proposed. With this method, the results of mean surface temperature and mean heat flow show good agreement with that from analytical solution as well as numerical simulation. Furthermore, the results of the simulation coupling the modified module with room systems show very small deviation from the results found in the literature. In addition, the application of the modified module in a hollow core concrete deck structure with TABS was investigated.


thermally activated building systems EnergyPlus low temperature radiant system module thermal resistance modified simulation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chantrasrisalai C, Ghatti V, Fisher DE, Scheatzle DG (2003). Experimental validation of the EnergyPlus low-temperature radiant simulation. ASHRAE Transactions, 109(2): 614–623.Google Scholar
  2. EnergyPlus (2012). EnergyPlus Manual, Documentation Version 7.2. US Department of Energy, USA.Google Scholar
  3. Feng JJ, Schiavon S, Bauman F (2013). Cooling load differences between radiant and air systems. Energy and Buildings, 65: 310–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Feustel HE, Stetiu C (1995). Hydronic radiant cooling-preliminary assessment. Energy and Buildings, 22: 193–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fort K (2001). TYPE 360: Floor Heating and Hypocaust. Available: Scholar
  6. Henze GP, Felsmann C, Kalz DE, Herkel S (2008). Primary energy and comfort performance of ventilation assisted thermo-active building systems in continental climates. Energy and Buildings, 40: 99–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Holopainen R, Tuomaala P, Piippo J (2007). Uneven gridding of thermal nodal networks in floor heating simulations. Energy and Buildings, 39: 1107–1114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jin X, Zhang X, Luo Y, Cao R (2010). Numerical simulation of radiant floor cooling system: The effect of thermal resistance of pipe and water velocity on the performance. Building and Environment, 45: 2545–2552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Koschenz M, Dorer V (1999). Interaction of an air system with concrete core conditioning. Energy and Buildings, 30: 139–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Koschenz M, Lehmann B (2000). Thermoaktive Bauteilsysteme Tabs. EMPA Energiesysteme/Haustechnik, Zurich. (in German)Google Scholar
  11. Laouadi A (2004). Development of a radiant heating and cooling model for building energy simulation software. Building and Environment, 39: 421–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Flores Larsen S, Filippin C, Lesino G (2010). Transient simulation of a storage floor with a heating/cooling parallel pipe system. Building Simulation, 3: 105–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Monte F (2000). Transient heat conduction in a one-dimensional composite slab. A ‘natural’ analytic approach. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 43: 3607–3619.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  14. Olesen BW, Bonnefoi F, Michel E, Carli MD (2000). Heat exchange coefficient between floor surface and space by floor cooling: Theory or a question of definition. ASHRAE Transactions, 106(1): 684–694.Google Scholar
  15. Olesen BW, Sommer K, Düchting B (2002). Control of slab heating and cooling systems studied by dynamic computer simulations. ASHRAE Transactions, 108(2): 698–707.Google Scholar
  16. Olesen BW (2008). Radiant floor cooling systems. ASHRAE Journal, 50(9): 16–20.Google Scholar
  17. Raftery P, Lee KH, Webster T, Bauman F (2012). Performance analysis of an integrated UFAD and radiant hydronic slab system. Applied Energy, 90: 250–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rijksen DO, Wisse CJ, Schijndel AWMV (2010). Reducing peak requirements for cooling by using thermally activated building systems. Energy and Buildings, 42: 298–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Simões N, Tadeu A (2006). Transient conduction and convection heat transfer across a multi-layer floor subjected to multiple heat sources. Building and Environment, 41: 1299–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Strand RK, Pedersen CO (1994). Analytical verification of heat source transfer functions. Presented at first Joint Conference of International Simulation Societies, Zurich, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  21. Strand RK (1995). Heat source transfer functions and their application to low temperature radiant heating systems. PhD Dissertation, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.Google Scholar
  22. Strand RK, Pedersen CO (2002). Modeling radiant systems in an integrated heat balance based energy simulation program. ASHRAE Transaction, 108(2): 979–988.Google Scholar
  23. Stetiu C (1999). Energy and peak power saving potential of radiant cooling systems in US commercial buildings. Energy and Buildings, 30: 127–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sun Y, Wichman IS (2004). On transient heat conduction in a one-dimensional composite slab. Internal Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 47: 1555–1559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tian Z, Love JA (2009), Energy performance optimization of radiant slab cooling using building simulation and field measurements. Energy and Buildings, 41: 320–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zhang L, Liu XH, Jiang Y (2012). Simplified calculation for cooling/heating capacity, surface temperature distribution of radiant floor. Energy and Buildings, 55: 397–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tao Yu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Per Heiselberg
    • 2
  • Bo Lei
    • 1
  • Michal Pomianowski
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringSouthwest Jiaotong UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

Personalised recommendations