Building Thermal Exergy Analysis

  • Lorenzo LeonciniEmail author
  • Marta Giulia Baldi
Conference paper


The energy and environmental impacts due to energy consumption in the building sector are one of the main topics in the global energy field. A building is an energy system that uses energy sources in order to maintain its functionality and to ensure thermal indoor comfort for its occupants. Exergy analysis is a way to assess the impact of an energy system on the environment. This chapter introduces a model able to describe the interaction between a building and its surroundings from an exergetic point of view. The building is considered as a so-called black box, evaluating the exergy of overall energy and matter fluxes that cross the system boundaries. In this way it is possible to evaluate the exergy balance of the system and particularly the destroyed exergy. The exergy destruction percentage can be understood as a building environmental impact indicator. To illustrate the model and its operating suitability, an existing building was analyzed using the transient simulation software Trnsys. The modeling results show that about 95 % of the exergy used from the building is destroyed and that about 5 % is lost (transferred to the surroundings). This means that this building has very high impact. The model can be applied to assess the effectiveness of different building energy retrofit strategies. Through Trnsys modeling some conventional and advanced retrofit strategies, as well as on-site renewable energy utilization, are analyzed. The chapter presents the main analysis results, showing which of these strategies are able to reduce the building’s exergy demand and, hence, the building’s impact.


Exergy Energy retrofit Building impact Transient analysis 


  1. 1.
    Romero JC, Linares P (2014) Exergy as a global energy sustainability indicator—a review of the state of the art. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 33:427–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Simpson AP, Edwards CF (2011) An exergy-based framework for evaluating environmental impact. Energy 36:1442–1459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Caliskan H (2015) Novel approaches to exergy and economy based enhanced environmental analyses for energy systems. Energy Convers Manag 89:156–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baldi MG, Leoncini L (2014) Thermal exergy analysis of a building. Energy Procedia 62:723–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Leoncini L (2014) Analisi degli scenari energetici europei e sviluppo di un criterio di valutazione exergetica del sistema edificio. PhD Thesis, Università degli Studi di FirenzeGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Baldi MG, Leoncini L (2015) Effect of reference state characteristics on the thermal exergy analysis of a building. Energy Procedia 83:177–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lohani SP, Schmidt D (2010) Comparison of energy and exergy analysis of fossil plant, ground and air source heat pump building heating system. Renew Energy 35:1275–1282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Yildiz A, Güngör A (2009) Energy and exergy analyses of space heating in buildings. Appl Energy 86:1939–1948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hepbasli A (2012) Low exergy (LowEx) heating and cooling systems for sustainable buildings and societies. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 16:73–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Torío H, Angelotti A, Schmidt D (2009) Exergy analysis of renewable energy-based climatisation systems for buildings: a critical view. Energy Build 41:248–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    ECBCS ANNEX 37 (2004) Heating and cooling with focus on increased energy efficiency and improved comfort. Guidebook to IEA ECBCS Annex 37 low exergy systems for heating and cooling of buildingsGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    ECBCS ANNEX 49 (2011) Low exergy systems for high-performance buildings and communities—Annex 49 Final ReportGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Transient System Simulation Tool [Internet].
  14. 14.
    Transsolar [Internet].
  15. 15.
    Sketchup [Internet].
  16. 16.
    Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy [Internet].
  17. 17.
    Balocco C, Papeschi S, Grazzini G, Basosi R (2004) Using exergy to analyze the sustainability of an urban area. Ecol Econ 48:231–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Grazzini G, Balocco C (2000) Thermodynamic parameters for energy sustainability of urban areas. Solar Energy 69:351–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 International License (, which permits any noncommercial use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations