Effects of photobioreactor façades on thermal and visual performance of an office in Izmir

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Yaman Y., Altunacar N., Tokuç A., Köktürk G. G., Deniz Can İ., Ezan M. A.

Eskişehir Technical University Journal of Science and and Technology A- Applied Sciences and Engineering, vol.23, pp.68-75, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Due to the increasing environmental awareness, the tendency to develop sustainable buildings has also increased interest in using renewable energy or energy-efficient technologies in recent years. Integrating a photobioreactor, an innovative building element on the façade, has received attention as an alternative approach to renewable energy systems for its potential to reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of a building without compromising thermal and visual comfort. This study aims to improve the performance of the building by using a façade integrated photobioreactor system. Implementing photobioreactors on the building façades raises the following benefits a) regulating the indoor temperature swings and improving thermal comfort, b) blocking the excess daylight thanks to the increasing concentration during the algae growth, c) reducing the energy consumption of the building, and d) producing energy from the harvested biomass (algae). The photobioreactor is integrated into the south façade of an existing office building in Izmir and comprises two glasses and a growth medium of photosynthesizing microalgae between the glasses. The method is simulation-based optimization that maximizes useful daylight illuminance and minimizes thermal comfort violation and energy use intensity. The performance of the existing building was compared with two photobioreactor alternatives. Rhino Grasshopper software with the Octopus plugin was used for the optimization study. The optimization results show that the photobioreactor integrated façade system performed better than the currently used one. The photobioreactor integrated façade can reduce the number of uncomfortable hours during the year. For the investigated photobioreactor configurations, there was no significant difference between 100% photobioreactor façade and 80% photobioreactor façade, except for partial improvement in daylight illumination.