Building Simulation

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 3–27 | Cite as

Modelling of double skin facades in whole-building energy simulation tools: A review of current practices and possibilities for future developments

  • Elena Catto Lucchino
  • Francesco GoiaEmail author
  • Gabriele Lobaccaro
  • Gaurav Chaudhary
Review Article Building Thermal, Lighting, and Acoustics Modeling


Advanced building envelope systems can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and improve the energy flexibility of buildings while maintaining high levels of indoor environmental quality. Among different transparent envelope technologies, the so-called double skin facades (DSFs) have been since long time proposed as an effective, responsive building system. The implementation of DSF systems in a real building is highly dependent on the capabilities of the prediction of their performance, which is not a trivial task. The possibility to use whole-building energy simulation (BES) tools to replicate the behaviour of these systems when integrated into a building is, therefore, a crucial step in the effective and conscious spread of these systems. However, the simulation of DSFs with BES tools can be far more complex than that of more conventional facade systems and represents a current barrier. This article is based on evidence from the scientific literature on the use of BES tools to simulate DSF, and provides: (i) an overview of the implementation of DSFs systems in BES tools, with the current capabilities of some selected BES tools; (ii) a comprehensive review of recent, relevant simulation studies, where different approaches to modelling and simulating DSFs are reported; and (iii) the identification of current gaps and limitations in simulation tools which should be overcome to increase the possibilities to correctly predict the performance of DSFs when integrated into a building.


whole-building energy simulation (BES) double skin facade (DSF) EnergyPlus ESP-r IDA-ICE IES Virtual Environment TRNSYS 


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This research is supported by the Research Council of Norway research grant 262198 and by the industrial partners SINTEF and Hydro Extruded Solutions through the project “REsponsive, INtegrated, VENTilated - REINVENT–windows”. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the COST Action TU1403 “Adaptive Facades Network” for providing excellent research networking. This facilitated fruitful scientific discussions with several participants in the network, which led to increasing the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Catto Lucchino
    • 1
  • Francesco Goia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriele Lobaccaro
    • 1
  • Gaurav Chaudhary
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Architecture and Technology, Faculty of Architecture and Design, NTNUNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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