Scrutinizing modeling and analysis methods for evaluating overheating risks in passive houses

Vitor Goncalves, Yewande Ogunjimi, Yeonsook Heo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In response to the increasing demand for energy efficient houses, passive houses are quickly becoming a required standard for new buildings. Despite their energy efficiency, the occupants have reported thermal discomfort during the summer. This study investigates the effects of choices made in the process of evaluating overheating risks in passive houses. Key questions raised in this study relate to the effects of different thermal comfort criteria, the relevance of the building's energy model to represent airflow phenomena, and the role of uncertainty associated with simulation models utilized for the analysis. The overheating assessment results were observed to be highly dependent on thermal comfort criterion choices, and the energy model was found to undervalue the overheating hours by 33.33% due to design infiltration and ventilation rate overestimation. This result highlighted the necessity of properly modeling airflow phenomena by coupling the thermal and airflow network models for overheating analysis. The sensitivity analysis results indicated that although most of the dominant uncertain parameters are included in the thermal model, when analyzing the output variance caused by the uncertainty related to each modeling method, both the thermal (82.5%) and airflow network (17.5%) models showed a significant variance in the number of overheating hours.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110701
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would to thank Edward Barsely for the use of his design ‘A home for all seasons’ as a case study for this research and his support in the initial stages of its development. This work is supported by the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA) grant funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Grant 21HSCT-B157919-02).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Coupled model
  • Overheating risk
  • Passive houses
  • Thermal comfort model
  • Uncertainty analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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