Validation and modification of modeling thermally activated building systems (TABS) using EnergyPlus

Tao Yu*, Per Heiselberg, Bo Lei, Michal Pomianowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


EnergyPlus (EP) integrates a low temperature radiant system module to evaluate thermal performance of radiant systems such as thermally activated building systems (TABS), but the assumptions in this module neglect thermal resistance of the pipe and thermal resistance between the pipe exterior surface and the pipe level, which may result in the inaccurate evaluation of TABS in terms of surface temperature and surface heat flow. In this paper, in order to validate this module used in EP, steady and transient heat transfer processes of TABS in buildings were studied by analytical solution, two-dimensional numerical simulation and EP simulation. The comparison shows that the assumptions indeed result in a largely overestimated cooling and heating capacity of TABS. In order to improve this radiant module, a simple solution of introducing a no mass material layer with the neglected thermal resistances to both sides of the pipe level was proposed. With this method, the results of mean surface temperature and mean heat flow show good agreement with that from analytical solution as well as numerical simulation. Furthermore, the results of the simulation coupling the modified module with room systems show very small deviation from the results found in the literature. In addition, the application of the modified module in a hollow core concrete deck structure with TABS was investigated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding Simulation
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)615-627
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • EnergyPlus
  • low temperature radiant system module
  • modified simulation
  • thermal resistance
  • thermally activated building systems


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