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What is the difference between space type and thermal zone?

asked 2016-01-06 11:07:24 -0500

VictoriaEagen gravatar image

If I created a bunch of zones, does each zone need to be designed as a single thermal zone? But different thermal zones can be assigned the same space type if they have the same attributes? Am I thinking of this correctly?

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answered 2016-01-06 11:34:03 -0500

Space types are used to define common characteristics (internal loads, schedules, OA requirements, infiltration, construction). If you have lots of office rooms in your model, you would create one "Office Space Type" to assign to each of these rooms. In OpenStudio, each of those rooms is called a "Space".

Thermal zones are used to define a volume that is served by an HVAC system. If a terminal serves multiple rooms, then you will want to assign each of the corresponding Spaces in your OpenStudio model to one thermal zone. Thermal zones can have multiple spaces, but spaces cannot have multiple thermal zones. If you have a very large space like a gym served by multiple terminals, then to accurately model air supply effects you could split the large space into multiple spaces, one for each terminal.

NOTE: if you draw a space and do not assign it to a thermal zone, OpenStudio WILL NOT convert it into an EnergyPlus zone (you'll see a gaping hole in your final IDF that OpenStudio produces). If you have unconditioned spaces, you should create an "Unconditioned" thermal zone that doesn't have any HVAC connections.

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Great, that makes sense, thank you!!

VictoriaEagen gravatar image VictoriaEagen  ( 2016-01-06 11:56:02 -0500 )edit
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You're welcome! If you like the answer, click on the check button next to it to let other users know you're satisfied :)

Aaron Boranian gravatar image Aaron Boranian  ( 2016-01-06 13:08:00 -0500 )edit

@Aaron Boranian hi, can you please tell me how can i create the "unconditioned" thermal zone?

archsoso gravatar image archsoso  ( 2017-06-14 15:35:20 -0500 )edit

Hi @archsoso, you can create a new thermal zone in the OpenStudio interface under the Thermal Zones model data tab on the left side. Do this by clicking on the green plus button near the lower left corner. Then, you can change the name to Unconditioned or whatever name you want.

Aaron Boranian gravatar image Aaron Boranian  ( 2017-10-10 10:44:09 -0500 )edit
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answered 2021-04-08 22:08:25 -0500

It should be added: if you assign multiple spaces to a single thermal zone, on translation to EnergyPlus, all of the interior walls will be removed between the spaces. In other words, EnergyPlus combines all of the spaces in that thermal zone into one big room.

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Asked: 2016-01-06 11:07:24 -0500

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Last updated: Apr 08