Livingston House Heat Transfer

Finite Element Analysis

Bob Bacon, architect and owner of R.J. Bacon Design, retained Apollo to model the thermal effects of the Central Arizona desert climate on a new home design whose thermal envelope would be comprised of nearly 60% glass windows in addition to layered walls made from high-resistance and high-mass materials. The goal was to understand the temperature variations that would occur on the interior surfaces of this home based on historical data for natural outdoor conditions over the course of one year. He and his team wanted a simulation incorporating all methods of heat transfer (conduction, convection, and radiation) and have at their disposal contour plots showing the temperature differentials in various sections of the home.

Originally the plan was to use a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model, but in the interest of reducing complexity and overall cost, the home was divided into sections and analyzed using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). This problem was not typical of what we generally do at Apollo, but breaking this problem down into a manageable set of analyses became a fun and rewarding outside-the-box challenge.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with Mr. Bacon and appreciate the positive feedback we received!