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Title: The influence of photovoltaics on roof thermal performance - an analysis of convective heat transfer coefficients
Authors: Micallef, Daniel
Buhagiar, Vincent
Borg, Simon Paul
Keywords: Photovoltaic power systems
Photovoltaic power systems -- Mediterranean Region
Solar energy -- Passive systems
Solar energy -- Passive systems -- Mediterranean Region
Computational fluid dynamics
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA)
Citation: Micallef, D., Buhagiar, V., & Borg, S. P. (2015). The influence of photovoltaics on roof thermal performance - an analysis of convective heat transfer coefficients. PLEA 2015 - 31th International PLEA Conference on Architecture in (R)evolution, Bologna. 1-8.
Abstract: In a Mediterranean climate, given the absence of snow, flat roofs are typical of both vernacular and modern architecture. Thermal mass, cross ventilation and night time cooling are standard passive design aids that inhibit indoor temperature build-up on hot summer days. Such flat roofs provide a golden opportunity for free-orientation of PV (photovoltaic) panels, unlike pitched roofs. There is established scientific evidence that their presence on flat roofs also helps curtail surface temperatures of the heavy mass structure, by means of (i) solar shading and (ii) convective cooling at given angles. Both factors in turn lower the convective heat transfer coefficient (CHTC) of the roof structure, thus inhibiting early seasonal temperature build-up. This contributes to lower cooling loads, thus reducing both the carbon footprint of the building as well as lowering energy costs for the owners. Such a holistic contribution is deemed to uphold the social, environmental and economic challenges of today. This study purports to do just that. Through CFD (computational fluid dynamics) this study investigates the effect of flow fields over a typical flat roof building mass in a free field for a range of wind velocities. Results indicate that for a higher wind speed, the convective cooling is more significant than at lower wind speeds. This will in turn influence the elemental U-value of the roof structure, thus reducing cooling loads indoors.
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