February 15, 2024
Conference Paper

Predicting Building Envelope Construction from In-Situ Thermal Testing


When embarking on a retrofit of a building envelope, it is critical to understand the composition of its assembly. This practice is currently done by destructive and invasive material testing or demolition, which is sometimes not possible when in historic or protected buildings. To address this problem, in-situ thermal testing can be utilized along with machine learning classification algorithms to infer the composition of an assembly. In this paper, a proof-of-concept K-nearest neighbors classification model is developed to classify assembly composition from effective thermal resistance, effective thermal mass, and assembly cladding. This model was trained and tested utilizing a synthetic dataset producing an F1-score of 94.6%. This model was also validated with experimental data from a 100-year old wall assembly, confirming the model’s real-world validity. The paper presents a framework for inferring as-built envelope assemblies, all without having to damage or disturb the building and its occupants.

Published: February 15, 2024


Pilet T.J., and T. Rakha. 2023. Predicting Building Envelope Construction from In-Situ Thermal Testing. In Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild, (IBPSA 2022), September 14-16, 2022, Chicago, IL, 2022, 158 - 164. Peachtree Corners, Georgia:American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). PNNL-SA-169565.

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