Numerical results

In Fig. 3 the trend of S varying with d is shown, for the two cases of copper wall (CW) and brick wall (BW). For d<0.045 m the flow is laminar with Reynolds numbers inferior to 2500; for d>0.060 m the flow is turbulent with Reynolds numbers superior to 3500: the laminar — turbulent transition zone is pointed out in dashed outline. In the case of turbulent flow the roughness value of the ventilation duct has been assumed to be equal to 0.005 m.

The brick outer slab turns out to be more convenient, from an energy point of view, than the copper one.

The following figures all refer to a ventilation duct being 0.04 m in thickness.

In Fig. 4 the trend of S varying with G for the two examined walls, CW and BW, is reported. Two values have been considered for the indoor air temperature: T=24°C and T=26°C. The percentage energy saving S distinctly increases as G and the indoor air temperature Ti rise. In Fig. 5 the trend of S varying with G is shown for the wall BW. The following values have been considered for the friction factors on the inlet and outlet sections: Xin=0.5 and Xou=1; Xin=1 and Xou=2; Xin=2 and Xou=4; Xin=4 and Xou=8. The graphs clearly show the convenience to reduce, as much as possible, the head losses occurring on the inlet and outlet sections.

Figure 3 — Variation of S with d (m) for the two walls CW (solid line) and BW (dashed line). The laminar-turbulent transition zone is pointed out in dashed outline.

Figure 4 — Variation of S with G for two values of the indoor air temperature: Tj=24°C (solid line) and Ti=26°C (dashed line).

The trend of the mean heat flux Q coming into the room through the ASW varying with G is reported in Fig. 6, for the two examined walls, CW and BW. The two cases of T=24 and T=26 °C have been considered. The trend of the mean heat flux Q0 (obviously the same for the two walls) coming into the room when the ventilated duct is closed (dotted line) is also reported for comparison. The difference (Q0-Q) and, therefore, the reduction in summer thermal loads, achievable by using a ventilated wall, increases as G and Ti rise.

In Fig. 7 the trend of Q varying with the sol-air temperature Te, for the wall BW, is reported for three values of the air temperature in the shade: T0=24°C, 26°C and 28°C. The trend of Q0 (dotted line) is reported for comparison. Obviously, it results that Q=Q0 for Te=T0 (without solar radiation). The ventilation convenience increases as Te rises as well as it increases, for a given value of Te, as T0 decreases.

The Fig. 8 refers to winter and the two examined walls. In this figure the trend of Q varying with G for two outdoor air temperatures in the shade is shown: T0=0°C and 7°C. The trend of Q0 (dotted line) is reported for comparison. Notice that, in this case, the wall showing less heat losses is the copper one; it happens as a consequence of the fact that the thermal resistance RB of the wall CW, with copper outer slab, is higher than the resistance RB of the wall BW, with brick outer slab (see Tab. 1). The graphs clearly show that, in winter, the ventilation always determines a rise in heat losses.


The ASW can meet, if well designed, the aesthetic and formal requirements of contemporary architecture, and also contribute to reduce energy consumption in buildings. The examined graphs clearly show that the use of ASW can determine a remarkable reduction in summer thermal loads; the duct is, obviously, required to be, as much as possible, free from any obstacle and the head losses to be reduced on the inlet and outlet sections for the above-stated reduction in summer thermal loads to occur. Hence the necessity of an accurate design of the inlet and outlet openings.

The energy saving achievable using the ASW distinctly increases as insulation increases; for a given value of the insulation and of the outdoor air temperature in the shade, the
reduction in the summer thermal load increases sensibly as the temperature provided for the indoor environment increases. In the examined situations the brick-faced wall (BW) has turned out to be more convenient than the copper-faced one (CW), from an energy point of view. In any case, it seems to be not convenient to consider air duct thicknesses inferior to 4-5 cm.

In winter, remarkable rises in heat losses can occur, leaving the duct open, especially connected with remarkable values of G. This leads to advise closing the duct in winter. But, considering that in winter the values of G are usually moderate, it would be advisable reducing the ventilation, e. g. with self-regulating dampers at the duct inlet and outlet sections, in order to drain the humidity due to possible infiltrations or condensation phenomena.


This research was supported by Italian Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research (MIUR) and by University of Pisa within the National Relevant Interest Project (PRIN 2003-2005): "Energy and environmental diagnosis on existing buildings: research methodologies, determination of qualification parameters and technico-economic assessments”.


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