X3D Sensor-based Thermal Maps
for Residential and Commercial Buildings
There are many building energy simulation systems on the market today; however, most of them rely on theoretical thermal models to make decisions on the building structural design and modifications. Sustainable methods of construction have made tremendous progress in the recent decades. For example, the German EnergyPlus-House technology [Voss and Musall 2012] uses a combination of (almost) zero-carbon passive heating technologies and easily adaptable renewable energy technologies in order to build homes which have a positive energy balance enabling the home-owners to sell surplus energy to the national electricity grids and earning additional income. Thermally deficient western methods of construction hardly tap into the huge potential of applying energy-efficiency technology.
Moreover, the economically fastest growing regions in the world are now to be found in the countries of the global south located mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climate zones which have entirely different requirements when it comes to designing energy-efficient and low-carbon houses. With the fast (and often unregulated) economic growth, energy consumption in those parts of the world rises exponentially. The construction sector in those countries adapted fast to the western methods of construction and are now faced with major hurdles in assessing thermal efficiency, especially for large commercial buildings. The researchers proposed herein a simple and effective, web-enabled thermal simulation system coupled with a cost-effective set of sensors (e.g. temperature, relative-humidity) that can provide valuable insights into building design, materials and construction that can lead to significant energy savings and an improved thermal comfort.