The Use of COMSOL to Solve Hygrothermal Building Physical Problems Related to Insulating High-rise Building Facades

H. L. Schellen, A. W. M. van Schijndel, and E. Neuhaus

In the Netherlands, high-rise buildings from 1960 and before were hardly insulated. To improve the thermal performance of these buildings, the facades may be retrofitted with insulating material. Energy losses will be reduced and thermal comfort will be improved by higher indoor surface temperatures. Problems, however, may be introduced by thermal bridge effects of anchors, floors and indoor walls.

Furthermore, the outer facade surface will be colder during winter time. Frost damage and internal condensation may be deleterious.

The purpose of this work is to prevent damages which may result from insulation retrofitting of building facades.

An attempt has been made to couple and solve thermal, hygric and air flow effects, using COMSOL. As an example of this kind of coupled problems, the thermal bridge effect of the connection between a floor and facade in both a non-insulated and then insulated facade has been examined.