Dr Arianna Brambilla

The University of Sydney 
Hygrothermal simulations: what’s the influence of our choices?

The building envelope is the barrier between indoor and outdoor conditions: it filters the hygrothermal exchanges between the two environments and functions as a regulator for indoor environmental quality. It is one of the major contributors to a building’s energy efficiency, as well as occupant comfort and well-being. Accurate design and calibration to operational conditions is necessary to guarantee the correct functioning of this element. A superficial approach can lead to major damages, potentially resulting in severe consequences such as the early degradation of components and an unhealthy indoor environment. 

In order to assess the probability of failure (including condensation or mould growth) over time, it is of utmost important to include hygrothermal considerations during the design phase of the build-ups. However, hygrothermal transient assessment heavily relies on the use of software, requiring modelling assumptions and design choices demanded of the user. So what is the influence of the user’s decision on the final hygrothermal assessment?

Brambilla’s presentation will cover the approach to transient hygrothermal simulations. This analysis challenges the standard concept of hygrothermal assessment, and advances some relevant issues in regard to the framework normally used to identify potential risks of condensation or mould growth.  

About Brambilla:
Dr Brambilla is a building engineer and architect. She holds a PhD in Building Physics and Systems from Politecnico di Milano (Italy), in conjunction with Aalborg University (Denmark). Her project was focused on building strategies to enhance resilience to climate change and users’ interaction with the building automation system applied to very efficient model homes. She also worked at the École Polytechnique Fédérale del Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) on a research project aimed at developing an outstanding low-carbon building.

She has been a lecturer at The University of Sydney since 2017. Her research interests focus on hygrothermal analysis;  transient simulation of building components; and materials performance and design strategies for indoor healthy living.