Parametric Design Principles applied to NZEB in cold extreme climate conditions

Mattia Manni, Giulia Ceci, Aoife Anne Marie Houlihan Wiberg, Fabio Bianconi, Gabriele Lobaccaro

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The master thesis aims to apply the parametric design principles to develop the Zero Emission Building (ZEB) concept for a single-family house placed in Oslo (Norway). This pilot project was developed by The Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings in Trondheim. It is a simple boxshape two-storey house designed according to the ZEB-OM standards. In accordance with the ZEBCentre’s classification, a ZEB-OM is a building in which the produced renewable energy balances the carbon emissions derived from operation and production of its materials. In that regards, the master thesis was focused to develop an integrated workflow to conduct both environmental and energy analyses. It allowed to evaluate the emissions in atmosphere and the energy demand of the building in each stage of the design process. In that sense, the workflow was developed by graphical algorithm editor such as Grasshopper (GH) combined with solar dynamic simulation tools, like DIVA for GH and Ladybug, in order to estimate solar radiation and daylight factor as well as to conduct life cycle assessment. The developed workflow permitted to parametrically control several numeric parameters (i.e. height, width, length, layers’ thickness, materials’ lifetime, etc.) to vary the physical dimension of building’s shape, construction’s elements (i.e. walls, roof, windows, slab, etc.) and materials’ properties. It led to the continuous generation of the most nvironmentally responsive shapes always compared to the base case (original ZEB pilot project). The consequent evolutionary lineage describes the possible building’s shape distinguishing two different approaches. In the first approach, the passive strategies like exposure, windows’ size and position, and type of materials were optimized. While, the second approach was focused on the optimization process foractive strategies such as building’s shape and use of renewable energy’s sources, like building integrated photovoltaic system (BIPV) and algae panels. In this way the initial original ZEB pilot project was modified in order to generate the most environmentally responsive configuration by varying the numeric parameters through evolutionary solvers such as Galapagos and Octopus. For each stage of the optimization process, it was estimated the emission balance for the final optimized model by calculating the achieved ZEB level and by defining additional strategies in order to reach the ZEBOM level. The ZEB-OM level was reached on each stage of the optimization process by combining the active systems with the passive strategies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2016


  • ResidentiResponsive architecture
  • Embodied and operational mission
  • ZEB level
  • Evolutionary computing
  • Parametric design
  • Optimization
  • Solar radiation
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Daylighting
  • Energy demand
  • Building integrated photovoltaic system
  • Algae façad


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