Effect of localized exterior convective heat transfer on high-rise building energy consumption

  • Meseret T. Kahsay
  • Girma BitsuamlakEmail author
  • Fitsum Tariku
Research Article


The energy consumption analyses of high-rise buildings have some fundamental limitations that include the treatment of building size, changes in microclimate parameters with altitude, and the uncertainties associated with the existing building façade convective heat transfer coefficients correlations (CHTC). This study investigates the effects of these parameters on the energy consumption by individual rooms at a different location as part of a 100 m high-rise building, exposed to different weather conditions, having a different window-to-wall ratio. In the first part of the study, representative new-CHTC at the windward façade of the building is generated by using CFD simulations. In the second part of the study, comparative energy consumption assessment is carried out using the newly generated CHTC and other commonly used correlations by using EnergyPlus. The result shows that for high-rise building with 100% WWR exposed to a windy microclimate (such as Boston, MA), a deviation of 11.2% and 4.7% on annual heating and cooling energy consumption, respectively, have been observed. Further, the energy consumption of each room throughout the building height was also investigated to investigate the effect of building height. Compared to a room located at the mid-height (15th floor), the annual heating consumption on a room located at the 5th floor room was 7.8% lower and a room located on the 25th floor room the consumption was 7.6% higher. In summary, this study highlights the importance of accurate local CHTC generation to enhance thermal comfort in individual rooms and to optimize overall building energy consumption.


high-rise building computational fluid dynamics convective heat transfer coefficient building energy simulation EnergyPlus 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The authors would like to thank SharcNet for providing access to the high-performance computing facility and the support received from their excellent technical team. We thank the research support from the Ontario Center of Excellence through the Early Career Award awarded to the second author and the Canada Research Chair awards for both the second and the third authors.


  1. ASHRAE (2009). ASHRAE Handbook: Fundamentals. Atlanta, GA, USA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.Google Scholar
  2. Blocken B, Defraeye T, Derome D, Carmeliet J (2009). High-resolution CFD simulations for forced convective heat transfer coefficients at the facade of a low-rise building. Building and Environment, 44: 2396–2412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Booten C, Kruis N, Christensen C (2012). Identifying and resolving issues in EnergyPlus and DOE-2 window heat transfer calculations. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-5500-55787, Golden, CO, USA.Google Scholar
  4. CD-Adapco (2017). StarCCM+, User Guide. Melville, NY, USA: CD-Adapco.Google Scholar
  5. Defraeye T, Blocken B, Carmeliet J (2010). CFD analysis of convective heat transfer at the surfaces of a cube immersed in a turbulent boundary layer. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 53: 297–308.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. Defraeye T, Blocken B, Carmeliet J (2011). Convective heat transfer coefficients for exterior building surfaces: Existing correlations and CFD modelling. Energy Conversion and Management, 52: 512–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DoE (2016). EnergyPlus Engineering Reference. Department of Energy, USA.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis PG, Torcellini PA (2005). Simulating tall buildings using EnergyPlus. In: Proceedings of the 9th International IBPSA Building Simulation Conference, pp. 279–286.Google Scholar
  9. Emmel MG, Abadie MO, Mendes N (2007). New external convective heat transfer coefficient correlations for isolated low-rise buildings. Energy and Buildings, 39: 335–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. ESDU (2001). ESDU 85020. Characteristics of atmospheric turbulence near the ground. Part II: Single point data for strong winds. Engineering Sciences Data Unit.Google Scholar
  11. Franke J, Hellsten A, Schlünzen H, Carissimo B (2007). Best practice guideline for the CFD simulation of flows in the urban environment COST 2007. Action 732.Google Scholar
  12. Iousef S, Montazeri H, Blocken B, van Wesemael PJV (2017). On the use of non-conformal grids for economic LES of wind flow and convective heat transfer for a wall-mounted cube. Building and Environment, 119: 44–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Iousef S, Montazeri H, Blocken B, van Wesemael P (2019). Impact of exterior convective heat transfer coefficient models on the energy demand prediction of buildings with different geometry. Building Simulation, 12: 797–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Judkoff R, Neymark J (1995). Building Energy Simulation test (BESTEST) and diagnostic method. NREL/TP-472-6231. National Renewable Energy Lab, Golden, CO, USA.Google Scholar
  15. Kahsay M, Bitsuamlak G, Tarik F (2019). Numerical analysis of convective heat transfer coefficient for building facades. Journal of Building Physics, 42: 727–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Launder BE, Spalding DB (1974). The numerical computation of turbulent flows. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 3: 269–289.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  17. LBL (1994). DOE2.1E-053 Source Code. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.Google Scholar
  18. Liu J, Heidarinejad M, Gracik S, Srebric J (2015). The impact of exterior surface convective heat transfer coefficients on the building energy consumption in urban neighborhoods with different plan area densities. Energy and Buildings, 86: 449–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meinders ER, Hanjalic K, Martinuzzi RJ (1999). Experimental study of the local convection heat transfer from a wall-mounted cube in turbulent channel flow. Journal of Heat Transfer, 121: 564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Menter FR (1994). Two-equation eddy-viscosity turbulence models for engineering applications. AIAA Journal, 32: 1598–1605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mirsadeghi M, Cóstola D, Blocken B, Hensen JLM (2013). Review of external convective heat transfer coefficient models in building energy simulation programs: Implementation and uncertainty. Applied Thermal Engineering, 56: 134–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Montazeri H, Blocken B (2017). New generalized expressions for forced convective heat transfer coefficients at building facades and roofs. Building and Environment, 119: 153–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Montazeri H, Blocken B (2018). Extension of generalized forced convective heat transfer coefficient expressions for isolated buildings taking into account oblique wind directions. Building and Environment, 140: 194–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Montazeri H, Blocken B, Derome D, Carmeliet J, Hensen JLM (2015). CFD analysis of forced convective heat transfer coefficients at windward building facades: Influence of building geometry. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 146: 102–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Natural Resources Canada (2016). Energy Fact Book 2016–2017. Natural Resources Canada.Google Scholar
  26. Palyvos JA (2008). A survey of wind convection coefficient correlations for building envelope energy systems’ modeling. Applied Thermal Engineering, 28: 801–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Richards PJ, Norris SE (2011). Appropriate boundary conditions for computational wind engineering models revisited. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 99: 257–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SHARCNET (2017). Available at
  29. Sparrow EM, Ramsey JW, Mass EA (1979). Effect of finite width on heat transfer and fluid flow about an inclined rectangular plate. Journal of Heat Transfer, 101: 199–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tominaga Y, Mochida A, Yoshie R, Kataoka H, Nozu T, Yoshikawa M, Shirasawa T (2008). AIJ guidelines for practical applications of CFD to pedestrian wind environment around buildings. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 96: 1749–1761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. UN-Habitat (2017). Energy. Available at Accessed 21 Aug 2017.Google Scholar
  32. Walton GN (1983). Thermal Analysis Research Program Reference Manual, NBSSIR 83e2655. USA: National Bureau of Standards.Google Scholar
  33. Weather Averages (2018). Available online at Accessed 21 Apr 2018.
  34. Wilcox DC (1988). Reassessment of the scale-determining equation for advanced turbulence models. AIAA Journal, 26: 1299–1310.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  35. Yazdanian M, Klems JH (1994). Measurement of the exterior convective film coefficient for windows in low-rise buildings. ASHRAE Transactions, 100(1): 1087–1096.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meseret T. Kahsay
    • 1
  • Girma Bitsuamlak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fitsum Tariku
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering / WindEEE Research InstituteUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Building Science Centre of ExcellenceBritish Columbia Institute of TechnologyBurnabyCanada

Personalised recommendations