BIM-based surface-specific solar simulation of buildings

N. Salimzadeh, F. Vahdatikhaki, A. Hammad

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    989 Downloads (Pure)


    Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy is rapidly growing as an attractive alternative to fossil fuels. PV panels can harvest the solar power and turn it into a clean source of electricity. Traditionally, PV panels are only used on the rooftops of buildings. However, with the emergence of building-integrated solar panels in recent years, other surfaces on the building façade can be considered for the installation of PV panels. Given that different panels have different cost and performance profiles, it is of a cardinal importance to properly design the PV panels on the building facades to ensure a maximum benefit-cost ratio. Existing simulation and optimization methods do not discriminate between different types of surfaces of the building and treat the building envelope as a set of polygons. This can result in under- or over- design since there is a strong relationship between the type of the surfaces and the type of PV panels that can be attached to them or integrated with them. The advent of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in recent years has provided a rich platform for object-based evaluation and analysis of buildings. Nonetheless, currently, BIM is not used for a detailed and surface-specific simulation of building surfaces. In this research, a BIM-based method is developed for a detailed simulation of a building envelope using its surface properties. A prototype is developed using Dynamo visual programming platform to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed method, and a case study is presented for a building in Montreal, Canada. In the light of the result of the case study, it can be concluded that the proposed method is promising in terms of providing the input for a comprehensive planning of the solar panel layout.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
    Event35th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2018: The Future of Building Things 2018 - Berlin, Germany
    Duration: 20 Jul 201825 Jul 2018
    Conference number: 35


    Conference35th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction, ISARC 2018
    Abbreviated titleISARC
    OtherJointly with International AEC/FM Hackathon
    Internet address


    • BIM
    • Building Façade
    • Solar simulation


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