Enhancement of natural ventilation in buildings using a thermal chimney

Kwang Ho Lee, Richard K. Strand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new module was developed for and implemented in the EnergyPlus program for the simulation and determination of the energy impact of thermal chimneys. This paper describes the basic concepts, assumptions, and algorithms implemented into the EnergyPlus program to predict the performance of a thermal chimney. Using the new module, the effects of the chimney height, solar absorptance of the absorber wall, solar transmittance of the glass cover and the air gap width are investigated under various conditions. Chimney height, solar absorptance and solar transmittance turned out to have more influence on the ventilation enhancement than the air gap width. The potential energy impacts of a thermal chimney under three different climate conditions are also investigated. It turned out that significant building cooling energy saving can be achieved by properly employing thermal chimneys and that they have more potential for cooling than for heating. In addition, the performance of a thermal chimney was heavily dependent on the climate of the location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-621
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Cooling and heating potential
  • EnergyPlus
  • Parametric analysis
  • Thermal chimney

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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