Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Gregor P. Henze

Second Advisor

Michael J. Brandemuehl

Third Advisor

Moncef Krarti


There are many factors that drive energy consumption and demand in high-rise commercial office buildings. Understanding the effects of individual building parameters and two-factor interactions can be very useful for directing building audits, developing energy simulation models, and for building science research in general. In an effort to expedite building audit processes and energy model development, the work presented in this thesis offers strategies and best practices for efficiently conducting audits and developing building energy models. In conjunction, a fractional factorial analysis (FFA) was conducted to evaluate a large number of building parameters in an effort to quantify their effect on energy consumption and demand associated with the chiller, HVAC system, and the facility as a whole. The FFA utilized building data collected from twenty-two building audits of high-rise commercial office buildings located in the downtown Chicago Loop area. Data from these buildings were used to determine base and test values for each factor that was evaluated. Simulation results show the effects of each factor and two-factor interactions on energy consumption and demand over a set of climate zones. They also show that there is a particular sub-set of driving factors that are of primary importance. These factors include chiller COP, supply fan pressure rise, the window solar heat gain coefficient and U-value, and lighting and equipment power density. Similarly, the two-factor interaction study identified factors that have a significant effect on building energy when paired with another factor. The two-factor interactions with high significance included the thermal mass associated with both structural components and interior furnishings paired with one of the driving factors listed above. From these results, a better understanding of the effects and interactions of building parameters on energy consumption and demand was obtained, and recommendations were made to help accelerate building audit and energy model development processes.