How can the thermal environment of an office space be improved by passive and active cooling strategies?


Graphic Name: How can the thermal environment of an office space be improved by passive and active cooling strategies?

Submitted by: Johannes Bracke

Firm Name: Baumann Consulting

What tools did you use to create the graphic?

  • IES

  • Excel

  • Power Point

What kind of graphic is this? Matrix of spatial heatmap and scatter plot

Primary Inputs: Building geometry, location, building envelope specs (U-Value, SHGC, internal gains), mechanical systems (ventilation system, chilled ceilings)

Primary Outputs:

Room air temperature, operative room temperature.


What are we looking at?

The graphic compares the indoor air temperature for selected office spaces before and after the implementation of optimization measures. The upper six visualizations show a colored representation of the room air temperature for three different times on a summer day in August. The scatter plot below shows the room air temperature as a function of the outside air temperature. 

How did you make the graphic?

IESVE was used to create the 3D building model. Detailed room models were created for selected office spaces, including the internal loads, cooling equipment and control of the external shading device. A dynamic thermal simulation was then created for the designed and optimized technical parameters. As a result, the room air temperature for the office spaces was calculated over the course of the year. I exported the perspective images from IESVE and created the scatter plots in Excel. I then combined the information in Power Point.

What specific investigation questions led to the production of this graphic?

  • How can the thermal comfort of the selected office spaces be improved?

  • Which passive and/or active measures lead to an improvement of the thermal comfort?

How does this graphic fit into the larger design investigations and what did you learn from producing the graphic?

The results of the study show that the installed cooling equipment is significantly undersized. Furthermore, the installed shading device does not effectively prevent the penetration of solar radiation. Overall, this leads to massive thermal comfort issues (high room air temperatures as well as high temperatures of the glass surfaces). The installation of an optimized external shading device and additional cooling capacity allows the room air temperatures to be kept within an acceptable range.

What was successful and/or unique about the graphic in how it communicates information?

The clear color visualization of the room air temperature in the 3D model has supported the decision-making process and helped to convince the client of the proposed measures.

What would you have done differently with the graphic if you had more time/fee?

The integration of the optimization measures into the graphic would have helped to support the decision-making process. Furthermore, the cooling loads could have been integrated into the graphics. The information should be added as additional layers of information to maintain the simplicity of the graphic.