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Quantifying the role of plant materials in the total heat balance for a building enclosure system

Speaker: Jelena Srebric, Penn State University
Series: Special Seminars
Location: Engineering Quad E219
Date/Time: Friday, September 10, 2010, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.


With a dramatic increase in human population, buildings are playing a central role in energy consumption and environmental pollution. A powerful way to reduce energy consumption, lifecycle costs, and greenhouse gas emissions is to improve performance of new or existing buildings. Building enclosure is a place where improvements are necessary, but the lack of clear performance guidelines can either reduce the effectiveness or completely discourage the use of innovative enclosure systems. Many recent research studies are geared towards bridging this gap and enabling climate-dependent performance assessment of novel building enclosure systems. The present talk will cover research results on thermal behavior of green roofs. A new experimental apparatus, “Cold Plate,â€� was designed and built to quantify heat and mass transfer processes for green roof systems inside an environmental chamber. The “Cold Plateâ€� apparatus addressed shortcomings in the existing data sets available for green roof energy balance calculations. Experimental data collected in this apparatus show that evapotranspiration controlled the intensity of all other heat fluxes, depending on the plant and environmental conditions. Also, the roof system with plants showed an average heat flux reduction of 25% compared to the flux for the roof system without plants because plants provide extra shading, additional water storage and better water control mechanisms. These modeling efforts are currently being extended to green roof systems deployed at seven buildings in our campus.


Dr. Srebric is an Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering and an Adjunct Professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. She holds a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.S. and B.S. degrees from the University of Belgrade. Dr. Srebric is the coordinator of the Building Science Group at the Pennsylvania State Institutes of Energy and the Environment. The Building Science Group focuses on physical modeling to enable reduced energy consumption, improved water management, and enhanced occupant health and comfort at a neighborhood scale. Her work is sponsored by several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). She is a recipient of both NSF and NIOSH’s career awards. She published extensively in the field, and received several research awards including the Yaglou Award from the International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences. Dr. Srebric is an editorial board member of five international journals, and an associate editor of HVAC&R Research Journal published by the American Society of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Her work in ASHARE was recognized with an outstanding service award. Dr. Srebric has a consulting record with eight companies on projects that include development of new design practices and solutions for constructed buildings as well design competitions.