Site and Climate Analysis for a Project on the Georgia Tech campus.

Building Science

Building Science

The Building Science group concentrates on the interdisciplinary research of physical phenomena in the built environment. We aim to provide more understanding of building energy usage and occupant comfort through the application of physics-based and data-driven approaches. Our research is a tool to inform designers, engineers, and building managers on the realities of their designs to better inform decision-making and design optimization processes. 

A diagram representing the data acquisition and characterization process presented in this work.  

Towards Understanding an Imperfect Built Environment

A Methodology for In-Situ Characterization of Building Envelope Thermal Performance 

As buildings age, retrofits are becoming an increasingly important topic for the ever-growing and aging existing building stock. Following construction, a building's energy footprint typically remains relatively stagnant, effectively locking-in that building's energy usage for its lifetime. The goal of this work is to utilize the power of thermography and transient heat transfer modeling to non-intrusively characterize the thermal properties of a building's envelope to inform energy modeling, facade design, and project appraisal.  

A diagram describing the required the project framework. 

Evaluating the Role of Complex Airflow Simulation Tools

 For the Overheating Assessment of European Passive Houses 

As the building sector alone accounts for approximately 40% of the world's annual energy consumption, methods for increasing the energy efficiency in buildings were considered one of the leading research priorities in the early 2000s. Among the many alternatives presented, the Passivhaus standard was the one established to guide the design of super-insulated and airtight buildings, where thermal comfort can be achieved solely by passive means, minimizing the need for mechanical systems. This project compares and evaluates the results of a passive house overheating assessment utilizing different airflow modeling techniques to determine which model is precise enough to correctly predict the number of overheating hours. 

A diagram describing the impact of false positive sensing errors and its relationship to energy losses in the building. 

Diverse Occupancy and Presence Sensing Technology

A Framework to Simulate Diverse Occupancy and Presence Sensing Technology to Regulate Heating and Cooling Energy in Residential Buildings

With the rapid progression of human sensing technologies, High Performance Buildings are inevitably moving towards the wide-scale automation of occupancy detection for energy efficiency purposes. Occupancy patterns influence energy consumption in buildings by governing the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to regulate indoor comfort. The integration of emerging sensing systems in residential buildings requires low-cost, low-resolution alternatives that might be subject to inaccuracies and result in errors. This project adopts a simulation-based workflow to examine the impact of system sensing errors, like human false sensing, using occupancy schedules to quantify energy loss.

Simulation outputs for designed building

Master's Capstone Project by Madison Prince

A Comprehensive Retrofit Analysis and Optimization of Thermal Comfort and Energy Use in an Existing Academic Residence Hall Building

American academic campuses are in flux and attract students who are primarily living away from home for the first time. However, almost half of the United States’ built environment was constructed before 1970, meaning existing buildings will continue to age and deteriorate unless retrofits are applied to resolve this inevitable problem. This project identifies the crucial energy losses within an existing campus residence hall as a base case and provides two alternative retrofit solutions for optimal energy efficiency goals as a side-by-side comparison. 


Tyler Pilet headshot

Tyler Pilet

Ph.D. Candidate
Vitor Leite's headshot

Vitor Leite

Ph.D. Student
Tarek Sherif headshot

Tarek Sherif

Recent Alumni
Yasser El Masri's headshot

Yasser El Masri 

Ph.D. Student
Tarek Rakha's headshot

Tarek Rakha

Ph.D., Assistant Professor


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