PhD Defense by Steven Jige Quan

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Under the provisions of the regulations for the degree


on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

1:00 – 3:00 PM

in Arch (West) 250

will be held the





Steven Jige Quan

Density and Energy Performance of Solar Powered Buildings in the Urban Context"

The Examiners Are:

Dr. Perry Yang (Major Advisor), Chairperson

Dr. John Crittenden (Minor Advisor), College of Engineering

Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta

Dr. Godfried Augenbroe

Dr. Daniel Castro-Lacouture


Faculty and students are invited to attend this examination.



Urban density has been seen as an important factor in sustainable urban development. However, very few attentions have been paid to the question of how different densities influence building energy use which has a large share in total urban energy use. With an integration of decentralized renewable energy technology with buildings in cities such as solar powered buildings, building energy performance becomes complex with both energy use and production, which is a result of physical, social and economic processes. The answer to the challenge of designing a high performance urban form requires an integration of modeling and design to better understand those processes and their interactions. This dissertation takes an interdisciplinary approach to integrate knowledge and state-of-art tools in the fields of urban physics, urban climatology, photovoltaics, GIS-spatial analysis and urban design method to find the relation between geometric measures and system performance in the complex urban form.


This dissertation examines the relationship between urban density, built form and overall building energy performance by answering the research questions of whether, how and why density influences the urban building energy performance, and exploring the other geometric measures that also have impacts on the performance. Two research methods are used: explorative and empirical research. In the explorative research, parametric experiments are made to explore the relationship between density, building typology and energy performance. In the empirical research, such relationship is examined in real urban environment of Manhattan at both building and block levels. Building energy performance is simulated by an urban building energy balance modeling system developed based on state-of-art tools in different fields in this study. The results suggest different density-form-energy use relationships: for buildings without solar PV systems as a nonlinear relation with a threshold density, and for solar powered buildings as a positive relation. These results could help policy-makers, planners and urban designers to better understand how density influences solar powered buildings in design and regulatory contexts for sustainable urban development. The approaches and findings of this study also contribute to rethinking a transition to move from form-based prescriptive guidelines to performance-based zoning ordinance in planning.




  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Created: 06/14/2016
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016


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