CFD simulations of natural ventilation behaviour in high-rise buildings in regular and staggered arrangements at various spacings

James O.P. Cheung, Chun-Ho Liu
Energy and Buildings, Volume 43, Issue 5, May 2011


Natural ventilation, which is in line with the concepts of sustainability and green energy, is widely acknowledged nowadays. Prevailing winds in urban areas are unavoidably modified by the increasing number of closely placed high-rise buildings that significantly modify the natural ventilation behaviour. This paper explores the effects of building interference on natural ventilation using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. The cross-ventilation rate (temporal-average volumetric airflow rate) of hypothetical apartments in a building cluster under isothermal conditions was examined using the standard two-equation k − ɛ turbulence model. The sensitivity of ventilation rate to wind direction, building separation and building disposition (building shift) was studied. Placing buildings farther away from one another substantially promoted the ventilation rate, cancelling the unfavourable interference eventually when the building separation was about five times the building width (the optimum separation). The characteristic flow pattern leading to this behaviour was revealed. With the adoption of building disposition, the optimum separation could be reduced to three times the building width. In addition, the airflow rates could be doubled with suitable shifts. Building disposition is therefore one of the feasible solutions to improve the natural ventilation performance in our crowded environment.

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