On The Intrinsic Flexibility of the Double Skin Façade: A Comparative Thermal Comfort Investigation in Tropical and Temperate Climates

Francesco Pomponi, Sabrina Barbosa, Poorang Piroozfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Double Skin Façades (DSFs) are applied in both new and existing buildings, and most of such applications are found in temperate climates. Although research in this area is growing steadily, comparative analyses of DSF applications in different climates are still few and far between. This paper addresses such a gap by means of a comparative thermal comfort analysis of a DSF building model in both tropical and temperate climates. London and Rio de Janeiro have been selected as two representative cities, and three building orientations in each city have been considered; S, SW, and SE, for London in northern hemisphere and N, NW, and NE for Rio in southern hemisphere. Dynamic building energy modelling has been used to determine and assess indoor environmental conditions. While IES VE as the main software tool was utilised, the accuracy and reliability of the results were also cross-checked against a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software package. Thermal comfort has been assessed through the adaptive comfort approach and results have been analysed and presented in form of comfortable indoor conditions during occupied hours. Results of this study show that the intrinsic flexibility of the DSF can offer indoor comfort for more than half of a year in both climates without any need for mechanical heating/cooling, which contributes significantly to reducing energy demands and cutting CO2 emissions. Additionally, the study shows that the wind force plays a dominant role in driving airstreams in and through the DSF, which highly impacts the overall thermal performance of the buildings. Findings from this research can be useful to academics and practitioners alike, to inform better DSF design and to shed light onto further avenues for DSF research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-539
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Procedia
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)


  • Double-skin Façade
  • Natural ventilation
  • Thermal comfort
  • Free-running building
  • Low-carbon building.


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