Coupling an artificial neuron network daylighting model and building energy simulation for vacuum photovoltaic glazing

Changyu Qiu, Yun Kyu Yi, Meng Wang, Hongxing Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Window plays an essential role in the indoor environment and building energy consumption. As an innovative building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) window, the vacuum PV glazing was proposed to provide excellent thermal performance and utilize renewable energy. However, the daylighting performance of the vacuum PV glazing and the effect on energy consumption have not been thoroughly investigated. Most whole building energy simulation used the daylighting calculation based on Daylight Factor (DF) method, which fails to address realistic calculation for direct sunlight through complex glazing materials. In this study, a RADIANCE model was developed and validated to adequately represent the daylight behaviour of a vacuum cadmium telluride photovoltaic glazing with a three-layer structure. However, RADIANCE will consume too many computational resources for a whole year simulation. Therefore, an artificial neuron network (ANN) model was trained based on the weather conditions and the RADIANCE simulation results to predict the interior illuminance. Subsequently, a preprocessing coupling method is proposed to determine the lighting consumption of a typical office with the vacuum PV glazing. The performance evaluation of the ANN model indicates that it can predict the illuminance level with higher accuracy than the daylighting calculation methods in EnergyPlus. Therefore, the ANN model can adequately address the complex daylighting response of the vacuum PV glazing. The proposed coupling method showed a more reliable outcome than the simulations sole with EnergyPlus. Furthermore, the computational cost can be reduced dramatically by the ANN daylighting prediction model in comparison with the RADIANCE model. Compared with the lighting consumption determined by the ANN-based coupling method, the two approaches in EnergyPlus, the split-flux method and the DElight method, tend to underestimate the lighting consumption by 5.3% and 9.7%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114624
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Artificial neuron networks (ANNs)
  • Building energy model
  • Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV)
  • Daylighting model
  • Semi-transparent photovoltaic
  • Vacuum glazing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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