LoLo PhD researcher wins “Best Paper Award” at “Building Simulation Applications 2017: 3rd IBPSA-Italy Conference”

LoLo PhD researcher wins “Best Paper Award” at “Building Simulation Applications 2017: 3rd IBPSA-Italy Conference”
20th February 2017 Karen Holmes


LoLo PhD researcher wins the “Best Paper Award” at “Building Simulation Applications 2017: 3rd IBPSA-Italy Conference”

By Francesco Babich

At the “Building Simulation Applications 2017 (BSA2017): 3rd IBPSA-Italy Conference”, the paper presented by Francesco Babich won the best paper award. The conference was held at Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, in northern Italy, from 8th to 10th February 2017.

BSA is a biennial conference organized by IBPSA Italy (, which is one of the affiliates of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA – IBPSA is a non-profit international society of building performance simulation researchers, developers and practitioners, dedicated to improving the built environment. BSA2017 programme included fascinating keynote speakers such as Professors Panagiota Karava from Purdue University (USA) and Reinhard Radermacher from University of Maryland (USA), workshops for PhD and graduate students, parallel technical sessions, and also a workshop for designers and practitioners.

For Francesco, alongside presenting his current research, BSA2017 has been an opportunity to strengthen his network meeting researchers and academics from Italy, such as Professors Andrea Gasparella, Vincenzo Corrado and Marco Manzan (Francesco’s former professor at Trieste), but also from other countries, such as Dr. Matthias Haase from Trondheim (Norway), and Italian and European practitioners, too.

Francesco presented a paper entitled “A new methodological approach for estimating energy savings due to air movement in mixed mode buildings”. Co-authors of this paper are Professors Malcolm Cook and Dennis Loveday from Loughborough University (UK), and Professor Rajan Rawal and Dr. Yash Shukla from CEPT University (Ahmedabad, India). This paper is one of the tangible outcomes of Francesco’s PhD and of a wider British Council funded international project, whose partners are UC Berkeley (USA), CEPT University (India), Loughborough University and De Montfort University (UK).

The aim of this piece of research was to develop and test a new methodology based on the adaptive theory to quantify the energy savings achievable in mixed mode buildings due to air movement. Mixed mode buildings are buildings in a combination of air-conditioning and natural ventilation is used to provide comfortable indoor environments. The core of the method presented in this paper is the definition of the cooling set-point, which varies monthly according to the ASHRAE 55-2013 adaptive model. This led to more realistic simulation scenarios since it captures the existing connection between the users of mixed-mode buildings and the outdoor temperature. Moreover, this study showed that the energy demand for space cooling can be reduced by as much as 70 percent by using ceiling fans, without jeopardising occupants’ thermal comfort.

Due to the complexity of mixed mode buildings, the research presented in this paper represents only a first step, but more studies based on real field data are needed to properly address mixed mode buildings.