Global sensitivity analysis and optimisation of design parameters for low GHG emission lifecycle of multifamily buildings in India

Daniel Satola, Aoife Houlihan-Wiberg, Arild Gustavsen

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7 Citations (SciVal)


In India, nearly 25% of citizens live in slums, unfit for a decent living. Replacing the existing residential building stock and the rapid development of the economy will significantly increase energy consumption and related greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in the coming decades. Consequently, there is a high need of developing low lifecycle GHG emission, affordable and comfortable multifamily building designs, which can be widely implemented in the Indian construction market. The objective of this article is first to explore the most influential design parameters of the multifamily building located in the in: warm and humid (Bhubaneswar), hot and dry (Jodhpur), and composite (New-Delhi) climate zones of India on life cycle GHG emissions and indoor thermal comfort, and secondly, to perform a multi-objective optimisation considering the life cycle GHG emissions, life cycle cost and initial material investment cost based on the set of the most sensitive design parameters. The study combines a two-step global sensitivity analysis based on the Morris and Fast method with a multi-objective genetic algorithm integrated into one framework based on the parametric multifamily building model with extensive building performance simulations. The global sensitivity analysis results indicated that for all investigated locations: the apartment’s floor area, equipment load, windows-to floor ratio, mechanical ventilation airflow, and cooling temperature setpoint were the most influential design parameters in relation to the lifecycle GHG emissions. Finally, based on the multi-objective optimization, significant reductions in the range of 62–75% in terms of life cycle GHG emissions and 40–54% in terms of life cycle cost were achieved compared to the baseline 7-storey multifamily design scenario based on the minimum requirements of the Indian energy conservation code. At the same time, the initial material investment cost was 25–34% higher. The optimal set of the design strategies, resulting in the lowest life cycle GHG emissions and life cycle cost was found to be minimisation of the apartment’s floor area and windows to floor ratio, maximisation of the on-site renewable energy use, and design of a mechanical ventilation system combined with ceiling fans thus enabling the energy-efficient and thermally comfortable operation of the multifamily building with a high cooling temperature setpoint.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112596
Number of pages1
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Early online date26 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Daniel Satola and Arild Gustavsen gratefully acknowledge the support from the Research Council of Norway and several partners through the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (FME ZEN). Aoife Houlihan Wiberg gratefully acknowledges the support from The Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Ulster University, UK.

Data Availability
Data will be made available on request.


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