The interaction between building envelope and the rooms it encloses is the main factor determining the hygrothermal behavior of a building. A comprehensive view of all boundary conditions that affect this interaction enables a detailed analysis of energy demands, indoor climate and hygrothermal conditions inside the building envelope. This view is derived from both experimental sampling and the evaluation of boundary conditions, including inner sources of heat and moisture, air exchange, measured and simulated weather data sets, as well as from user preferences regarding temperature and humidity set-points, or window opening patterns in different climate zones. The research findings flow into the development and application of hygrothermal building simulation tools.
Hygrothermal building monitoring paves the way to new solutions that are developed to avoid critical conditions, improve hygrothermal comfort and to reduce energy consumption. Models are developed based on measurements derived from monitoring under real conditions and in the lab, as well as on theoretical relationships. Once these models have been validated, they are implemented in the WUFI® Plus/Passive software. By combining hygrothermal building component simulation and energy building simulation, integral solutions are developed that take into account conditions in the room and in the component, as well as how these interact – while not neglecting the influence different approaches have on energy consumption. This not only leads to strategies that can be adapted to best serve homes and offices, but also to recommendations on passive measures that can, for example, enhance climate stability in historic buildings. The existing simulation environment makes it possible to quantify the influence of different climate zones, usages, component assemblies, geometries, alignments and building operation strategies on indoor climate, energy consumption and the extent to which the building envelope remains damage-free.