Evaluating different green school building designs for Albania: indoor thermal comfort, energy use analysis with solar systems
Improving the conditions of schools in many parts of the world is gradually acquiring importance. The Green School movement is an integral part of this effort since it aims at improving indoor environmental conditions. This would in turn, enhance student- learning while minimizing adverse environmental impact through energy efficiency of comfort-related HVAC and lighting systems. This research, which is a part of a larger research project, aims at evaluating different school building designs in Albania in terms of energy use and indoor thermal comfort, and identify energy efficient options of existing schools. We start by identifying three different climate zones in Albania; Coastal (Durres), Hill/Pre-mountainous (Tirana), mountainous (Korca). Next, two prototypical school building designs are identified from the existing stock. Numerous scenarios are then identified for analysis which consists of combinations of climate zone, building type, building orientation, building upgrade levels, presence of renewable energy systems (solar photovoltaic and solar water heater). The existing building layouts, initially outlined in CAD software and then imported into a detailed building energy software program (eQuest) to perform annual simulations for all scenarios. The research also predicted indoor thermal comfort conditions of the various scenarios on the premise that windows could be opened to provide natural ventilation cooling when appropriate. This study also estimated the energy generated from solar photovoltaic systems and solar water heater systems when placed on the available roof area to determine the extent to which they are able to meet the required electric loads (plug and lights) and building heating loads respectively.
The results showed that there is adequate indoor comfort without the need for mechanical cooling for the three climate zones, and that only heating is needed during the winter months.