TBM4322 - Building Performance Simulation


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 100/100

Course content

Given the increasing complexity of energy and environmental challenges that the building sector is facing, Building Performance Simulation (BPS) is an effective tool for supporting the design and operation of high-performance buildings, such as (nearly or net) zero-energy buildings in zero-emission neighborhoods \ positive energy buildings in smart cities.

BPS combines dynamic energy simulation with computational modeling and draws upon the disciplines of heat 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 capabilities of BPS tool can be extended by combining them with external tools (eg, optimization algorithms to automate the simulation-based optimization process, and / or life cycle assessment software to automate the BIM-based environmental calculation).

The course is organized in two parts:

  1. General part deals with basic knowledge of modeling issues and energy simulation of a building and its systems as generally described above,
  2. Specialization part constitutes of two separated branches:
  • Branch A is entitled "Solar building design - modeling & simulation". In this Branch, students will learn in-depth how solar active technologies (ie Building Integrated Photovoltaic BIPV- Building Applied Photovoltaic BAPV - Photovoltaic Shading Devices PVSDs) and solar passive strategies (ie Daylight and related metrics, Solar fixed and dynamic shading devices) can be modeled and simulated within the context of buildings and their surroundings.
  • Branch B is entitled "Advanced HVAC modeling & simulation". In this Branch, students will get deeper knowledge about heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) modeling and simulation. The modeling of energy systems will be introduced and discussed, including physical-based modeling. The different approaches to compute airflows inside buildings introduced and compared (i.e, standard room model, zonal models and CFD).

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.

Knowledge: At the end of the term, students should:

  • understand and know the fundamental principles of BPS
  • comprehend the theoretical models underlying BPS software
  • properly manage 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.

Skills: At the end of the term, students should:

  • be able to choose the most suitable BPS software on the basis of the simulation objectives
  • be able to create a building energy model, by adopting the most suitable modeling 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 ending 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

Learning methods and activities

  • Lectures
  • Exercises
  • Simulation-based workshops.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Lectures, exercises and workshops are given in English.

Compulsory assignments

  • Semester project
  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

All compulsory activities needs to be approved in order to take the exam. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

In the case of a re-sit exam, the exam in this course is only offered in the same semester as the course is taught.

Course materials

Recommended book for the general part

  • Ruzhu Wang, Xiaoqiang Zhai (2018). Handbook of Energy Systems in Green Buildings (Part 1). Springer, ISBN 978-3-662-49120-1, SpringerLink.
  • Athienitis and O'Brien (2015). Modeling, Design, and Optimization of Net-Zero Energy Buildings (Chapter 3). Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, ISBN:9783433030837, see.
  • Hensen, J.L.M. and R. Lamberts (2019). Building performance simulation for design and operation (Second edition). Oxon, UK, Spon Press. ISBN: 9780429402296, see

Recommended books for Branch A

  • Reinhart, Christoph The Daylighting Handbook I. Vol. 1. Daylighting Handbooks, 1., 2011.
  • Reinhart, Christoph The Daylighting Handbook II. Vol. 2. Cambridge, MA: Building Technology Press, 2018.

Recommended books for Branch B

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

More on the course



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


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2025

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Building Technology
  • Building and Construction Engineering
  • Building Technology
Contact information


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD Assignment 100/100 INSPERA
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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