Arts Centre

Date Published

1st Apr 2020

Karen Duffin
Sales & Marketing Manager, IES

IES Consulting were commissioned by the building façade engineer on this project to analyse the expected thermal impacts of a proposed ‘Trombe Wall’ to an existing arts centre.

A Trombe Wall is a particularly interesting passive solar building design strategy, which involves the capture of solar gain by a heavy thermal mass. The solar energy firstly passes through an external glass facade before being absorbed by a back wall. This allows air in the cavity to flow over the thermal mass and pick up heat, which is ultimately transferred through openings to the desired spaces. The slow thermal response of the mass means the cavity can continue to release heat to the spaces as required over a long period, significantly reducing heating energy demand. The ventilation openings to the cavity at low and high level also work to remove the heat build-up during the seasons when heating is not required.

Using the IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) software, the consultants simulated various scenarios on optimising the Trombe Wall, to assess the potential impact upon the adjacent rooms and resultant heating energy demand.

The IES Consulting team were able to draw on their expertise to handle the various complexities involved in modelling such a design strategy. The project required consideration and assessment of various aspects, including: the control strategy of window shades and the associated impacts on temperature; openable windows for ventilation; different configurations of the openable area for the Trombe Wall internal damper connecting the rooms at upper level; as well as ways to enhance the construction conductivity values.

Despite the challenging nature of the analysis, in particular the modelling of the ventilation strategies for the Trombe Wall, the consultants successfully demonstrated the viability of the proposal and expected heating energy savings to the client.

To read the French translation of this case study, visit:

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