An improved lumped parameter method for building thermal modelling

Chris Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


In this work an improved method for the simplified modelling of the thermal response of building elements has been developed based on a 5-parameter second-order lumped parameter model. Previous methods generate the parameters of these models either analytically or by using single objective function optimisation with respect to a reference model. The analytical methods can be complex and inflexible and the single objective function method lacks generality. In this work, a multiple objective function optimisation method is used with a reference model. Error functions are defined at both internal and external surfaces of the construction element whose model is to be fitted and the resistance and capacitance distributions are adjusted until the error functions reach a minimum. Parametric results for a wide range (45) of construction element types have been presented. Tests have been carried out using a range of both random and periodic excitations in weather and internal heat flux variables resulting in a comparison between the simplified model and the reference model. Results show that the simplified model provides an excellent approximation to the reference model whilst also providing a reduction in computational cost of at least 30%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-201
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Early online date10 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


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