TBA4166 - Building Performance Simulation


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Written examination and Work
Grade: Letters

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
work 40/100
Written examination 60/100 4 hours C

Course content

Given the increasing complexity of energy and environmental challenges that the building sector is facing, Building Performance Simulation (BPS) is proving to be an effective approach for supporting the design and operation of high-performance buildings, such as (nearly or net) zero-energy buildings or zero-emission buildings.
BPS combines dynamic (energy) simulation with computational modeling and draws upon the disciplines of heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, lighting, building technology, thermal and visual comfort, numerical methods, environmental science and human behavior.
BPS is contributing to fostering innovation in the design of high-performance buildings with respect to new technological possibilities and environmental limitations.
The course is organized in two parts: a General part dealing with basic knowledge of modeling issues and energy simulation of a building and its systems, and a Specialization part. The Specialization part is constituted by two separated branches: Branch A is entitled "Hygrothermal simulation" and provides more in-depth simulation skills on heat and mass transfer phenomena covering from the building component to the whole building. Branch B is called "Advanced HVAC modeling" and discusses advanced topics in heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) modeling.
"Branch A - Hygrothermal simulation" is dedicated to the students of the study program in "Civil and Environmental Engineering", while "Branch B - Advanced HVAC modeling"is dedicated to the students of the study program in "Energy and Environmental Engineering".

Learning outcome

A strong emphasis will be placed upon the use of a BPS software, but the scope of this course is not limited to training on applying a given software. Rather, students will learn the basic computational modeling assumptions and will learn to build a series of increasingly complex models that allow exploring key features and limitations of the adopted software. The subjects will be developed from basic principles assuming limited knowledge of computers and the adopted software.

At the end of the term, students should:
- understand and know the fundamental principles of BPS,
- comprehend the theoretical models underlying BPS software,
- manage properly the assumptions and limitations underlying some of the models implemented in BPS software, and apply BPS software in research, analysis, and design.
- be able to illustrate the energy performance of buildings and identify the most influencing design parameters,
- be able to compare several building concepts and evaluate their main performances,
- be able to design new, advanced and high-performance building concepts suitable to tackle with future challenges.

At the end of the term, students should:
- be able to choose the most suitable BPS software on the base of the simulation objectives,
- be able to create a building energy model, by adopting the most suitable modelling methods on the base of the simulation objectives,
- be able to control the reliability of the simulation outcome,
- be able to assess (or estimate) the performance of a building,
- be able to effectively use simulation results during the design, retrofitting or management process of a building,
- have got “hands-on” experience on a BPS software.

General competence:
After ended the term, students should have:
- An understanding of the background of building performance simulation,
- An understanding of requirements about thermal and visual comfort and indoor air quality, and of their relationship with energy usages in buildings,
- An understanding of the behavior of a building envelope under dynamic boundary conditions,
- An understanding of integrating passive strategies and renewable energy generation systems in a building model.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures, exercises and simulation-based workshops.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

Term project assignment will be conducted as a simulation-based group work and will be graded with 40% weight while the written exam has 60% weight of the overall final grade. The parts of the assessment will be given a letter grade. Both parts of the assessment must receive a passing grade in order to pass the course. The lectures, exercises and workshops are given in English. If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may be changed from written to oral. For a re-take of an examination, all assessments during the course must be re-taken.

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Course materials

Hensen, J.L.M. and R. Lamberts (2011). Building performance simulation for design and operation. Oxon, UK, Spon Press.

For the Hygrothermal branch, it will be decided at a later stage.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2021

No.of lecture hours: 3
Lab hours: 3
No.of specialization hours: 6

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Building Technology
  • Building and Material Technology
  • Building Technology
Contact information


Examination arrangement: Written examination and Work

Term Status code Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Digital exam Room *
Spring ORD work 40/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Written examination 60/100 C
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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