Thermal performance modeling and analysis for green roofs in cold climates

Xin Tang, Purdue University


A green roof, also known as an eco-roof, is a vegetative layer that is grown on a building roof which has become increasingly popular in recent years because of its environmental benefits. A large number of research studies have been conducted to evaluate the performance and benefits of green roofs through experiments and modeling analysis. However, only a few studies in the past literature addressed the energy performance of green roofs in cold climates. This thesis, therefore, aimed to fill this gap by evaluating their energy performance in cold climates through experiments and modeling. The test bed for the thesis was the green roof installed on Schleman Hall on the Purdue University campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, which is equipped with a data logger and various sensors for measuring soil temperature, water content, etc. The experiment conducted by this thesis focused on the thermal performance of green roof in cold climates and how the phase change of water in the growth medium of the green roof influences the thermal performance. A transient numerical thermal model was developed and then was validated by the experimental data. The results from the model show that (i) green roofs can reduce the heat flux through the roof compared to the traditional roof, and (ii) the phase change of the water in the growth medium can reduce the temperature fluctuation in the soil as well as reduce the total heat flux through the roof. This thesis provides new insight into the impact of the phase change of water in green roofs on their thermal performance as well as their thermal characteristics.




Qu, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

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