Models for describing the thermal characteristics of building components

M.J. Jimenez, Henrik Madsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Outdoor testing of buildings and building components under real weather conditions provides useful information about their dynamic performance. Such knowledge is needed to properly characterize the heat transfer dynamics and provides useful information for implementing energy saving strategies, for example. For the analysis of these tests, dynamic analysis models and methods are required. However, a wide variety of models and methods exists, and the problem of choosing the most appropriate approach for each particular case is a non-trivial and interdisciplinary task. Knowledge of a large family of these approaches may therefore be very useful for selecting a suitable approach for each particular case. This paper presents an overview of models that can be applied for modelling the thermal characteristics of buildings and building components using data from outdoor testing. The choice of approach depends on the purpose of the modelling, existence of prior physical knowledge, the data and the available statistical tools. In this paper, a variety of models are outlined and compared, and a strong relationship among a large number of widely used linear and stationary stochastic models is mathematically demonstrated. The characteristics of each type of model are highlighted. Some available software tools for each of the methods described will be mentioned. A case study also demonstrating the difference between linear and nonlinear models is considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBuilding and Environment
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)152-162
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • building energy
    • thermal parameters
    • system identification
    • outdoor testing

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