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Frame and dividers unexpected behavior

asked 2022-10-18 03:19:58 -0600

updated 2022-10-18 08:25:39 -0600

Hi, I have observed some unexpected results when simulating a case of windows with and without frame/dividers.

I've chosen a glazing with an U-value of 3 and frame/dividers with a conductance of 9.5W/m²K. The thermal properties of the frame/dividers are worse than the glass but what I have found is that the heat loss in the case of the window without frames is higher than the heat loss of the window with frames.

And the heating load is higher too, with the extra solar gain not being enough to compensate the extra loss from the windows. I haven't been able to find the explanation for this.

If anyone wants to try, you can use this simple model:

It is in v22.2 and v9.4. Use Chicago weather. It has two equal zones with one window (one with frames and the other without).


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I lowered the glazing U to 2 W/m2-K, and ran the model for a CZ-7 location. Comparing zone air sensible heating rate (W): I see a 4% increase (over the run period) when adding frames/dividers (FD), yet a 2% decrease in MAX (peak) rate. Those % remained similar when hiking FD solar absorptance. Noticed the SimpleGlazingSystem model. A more apples-to-apples comparison IMHO would be to define a double-glazing fenestration product using WINDOW, and generate/compare 2 sets of E+ inputs/outputs:

  • a layer-by-layer glazing construction + a FD object
  • corresponding SimpleGlazingSystem U + SHGC
Denis Bourgeois's avatar Denis Bourgeois  ( 2022-10-18 10:03:56 -0600 )edit

Thanks Denis. I also tested it with the layer-by-layer glazing (not the simple), with similar results.

With other climates I also observed the expected result of having higher heating with frames.

That's why I indicated to use Chicago, as one with the unexpected results.

ecoeficiente's avatar ecoeficiente  ( 2022-10-20 02:49:42 -0600 )edit

OK. Ran the original model vs Chicago EPW, and did notice an unexpected 4% decrease in zone air sensible heating rate (W) over the run period, when adding FD. With such a high frame conductance, heat/loss gain would be sensitive to exposed areas. FD inputs seemed IMO a bit off, so changed a few:

  • 10mm FD outside projection
  • 100mm FD inside projection
  • 1.5 edge/center of glass ratio
  • 15% FD solar absorptance
  • 200mm sill depth
  • 100mm inside reveal depth

... now got a 4% increase over the run period. I should have changed the CoG U (maybe 2, not 3). In the end, FD inputs matter.

Denis Bourgeois's avatar Denis Bourgeois  ( 2022-10-21 16:52:31 -0600 )edit

Thanks Denis. My FD input may be not defining a frame in all its extension. However, according to the Engineering Ref and the expected thermal behavior, even with a reduced definition I find no reason for the decrease.

You have changed into a higher exposed area and increased overall transmission with the 1.5 edge/center ratio, which degrades window enough to revert the results.

My aim with that simplified definition was to easily compare the same exposed areas with a higher conductance of the frame (and lower solar transmission), where the results are unexpected.

ecoeficiente's avatar ecoeficiente  ( 2022-10-22 02:25:18 -0600 )edit

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answered 2022-10-22 18:05:24 -0600

I'm writing this as an (incomplete) answer, as I exceed the MAX char length (for comments). But it is not intended as such - more of an attempt to further narrow down the hunt for clues (towards an answer). My understanding is that only a few people would be able to definitely answer your question, namely contributors to the actual EnergyPlus implementation. Most of them regularly visit UnmetHours, so I humbly defer to their expertise/experience.

"... according to the Engineering Ref and the expected thermal behavior, even with a reduced definition I find no reason for the decrease". I agree that the results (at first glance) are unintuitive - wrong even. However, I disagree that the Engineering Reference is clear on what happens when one maintains the default 0mm values for the following geometric variables:

  • outside reveal
  • inside reveal
  • inside sill depth
  • FD outside projection
  • FD inside projection

My first comment (I should have explained myself better) was to suggest replicating the same window (i.e. same dimensions, double glazing, same frame, same dividers) using LBNL's WINDOW (which is generally how one obtains FD inputs in the first place). I'm curious as to whether WINDOW actually accepts these inputs (e.g. corrections, warnings), and what the outputs would look like. If successful, results could act as control case against which one could compare EnergyPlus results under winter design conditions. My understanding is that EnergyPlus attempts to harness as much of the WINDOW outputs as possible to correctly model the effects of FD, while being constrained to tweaking the properties (in this case) of a single glazing material. I doubt that 0mm for the aforementioned variables fell within the intended scope of these corrections - I could be wrong.

"You have changed into a higher exposed area and increased overall transmission with the 1.5 edge/center ratio, which degrades window enough to revert the results." Yes, of course. I didn't intend to revert the results - I simply reset the 0mm inputs to realistic values one would expect with FD. My only point was to illustrate that the EnergyPlus FD model works as expected with typical, real-world inputs.

"... compare the same exposed areas with a higher conductance of the frame, where the results are unexpected". I understand the intent. But I'm not sure that these "same exposed areas" are treated equally - there's a presumption (or an expectation) that they are somehow. There's an interesting discussion on the topic (about 7 years ago, here and here) on what happens when one defines a 0mm FD interior projection depth. It's not clear for me whether the merge at the time simply fixed what was being reported (versus what radiative/convective coefficients should be applied to FD items), when dealing with 0mm depth. It is clear from the exchanges that this needs revising or at least clarification, and I'm not sure if/when a more comprehensive fix has been (or is to be) implemented. I wouldn't be ... (more)

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Thanks Denis for your research and great explanation.

I also did come to the issues you you link and even tried to find out an explanation in the source code (not an easy task...).

I decided to present this question here instead of as an issue in E+ repository to get some feedback just in case I might have missed something obvious.

I agree with all your appreciations and I am thinking about posting an issue in the E+ repository linking to this as I agree with you that either something is not right or a clarification should be added to the reference.

Thanks again for your efforts.

ecoeficiente's avatar ecoeficiente  ( 2022-10-24 04:51:50 -0600 )edit

I have finally sent an issue to E+ repository:

ecoeficiente's avatar ecoeficiente  ( 2022-10-24 05:00:28 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2022-10-18 03:19:58 -0600

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Last updated: Nov 09