Comparative assessment of night ventilation performance in a nearly zero-energy office building during heat waves in Brussels

Deepak Amaripadath, Riccardo Paolini, David J. Sailor, Shady Attia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With increasing urbanization, overheating intensifies, resulting in a greater risk of indoor overheating in commercial buildings, which already have high internal gains. The impact of urban climate on the cooling energy needs of buildings has been extensively researched. However, the building performance during extreme heat events needs further investigation to reduce the energy demand from the grid during critical events and to ensure an acceptable indoor thermal environment. Here, a comparative assessment approach for natural and mechanical night ventilation performance to reduce indoor overheating and energy needs of a nearly zero-energy office building in Brussels, Belgium, was evaluated for the heat wave and non-heat wave periods in urban and rural microclimates, using calibrated thermal-energy simulations. The analysis indicated that active cooling with natural night ventilation was more effective during heat waves than other cooling strategies. In addition, natural night ventilation was also effective in maintaining safer levels of heat index values in the reference office compared to other strategies. Natural night ventilation reduced overheating by 0.39 °C in the urban microclimate and 0.50 °C in the rural microclimate relative to the Baseline. Considering the cooling energy use, natural night ventilation had no significant impact. In contrast, mechanical night ventilation increased energy use by 0.54 kWh/m2 in urban microclimate and 0.40 kWh/m2 in rural microclimate due to prolonged ventilation fan operation in the reference office building. The presented findings in the paper lead to the formulation of design guidelines, recommendations for future practices and identifying needs for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107611
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Mechanical night ventilation
  • Microclimates
  • Natural night ventilation
  • Overheating
  • Thermal-energy simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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