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Holly Wasilowski Samuelson

Holly Wasilowski Samuelson
Harvard University Graduate School of Design · Department of Architecture

Doctorate Harvard | Masters Harvard | Bachelor of Architecture Carnegie Mellon

About

38
Publications
21,927
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763
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Samuelson's research focuses on building design's impact on greenhouse gas emissions & human health. Her group is currently focusing on: -identifying vulnerability & mitigating adverse health effects due to indoor heat -exploring building/grid interactions & the role of design in reducing emissions -advancing concepts of thermal comfort -recognizing co-benefits of energy efficiency. Core skills include building performance simulation, physical monitoring, & human subject testing.

Publications

Publications (38)
Article
Buildings play a significant role in indoor and outdoor exposure to heat in urban areas. In this study, we quantify the heat mitigation potential of typical building energy efficiency measures that are often not considered as urban heat mitigation strategies, such as added insulation. We combined whole-building energy and urban climate simulations...
Article
Courtyards are a passive strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings. However, the accurate simulation of courtyards’ thermodynamic performance in the early design stage is still challenging, even though there has been an emergence of new methods to assess outdoor simulation. This paper tests a novel workflow using the Ladybug Tools tha...
Article
Full-text available
Local and state governments find it challenging to adopt aggressive residential building codes that require energy-efficiency upgrades beyond those with a reasonable payback. Thus, economic considerations inhibit the progress towards a more energy-efficient housing stock and often account for direct utility savings. A widely discussed solution is t...
Article
Several “discomfort indices” have been proposed and codified into building standards, with several needs usually reported for such indices. They should: express the severity of discomfort in time steps while incorporating all environmental and personal factors; be usable with any comfort model (and thus, a variety of interests, for example, traditi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The simulation of urban microclimates in a way that is flexible enough to be included in the early design stages is still a problem to be solved. Furthermore, the necessity to find a balance between accuracy, provided by the use of CFD software requiring high computational power, operational speed and integration with the modelling tool, is an even...
Article
Weather data is a crucial input for myriad applications in the built environment, including building energy modeling and daylight analysis. Building science practitioners and researchers have been able to select from a variety of weather files such as Weather Year for Energy Calculation 2 (WYEC2) and the Typical Meteorological Year (TMY). However,...
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In Latin America, default assumptions and borrowed templates and methodologies are often used in energy modeling, resulting in models that might not represent their cultural context and leading to policies awkwardly fit to local practices. Policy-driving low-income housing studies in Mexico, for example, activated both heating and cooling in energy...
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As the frequency and severity of extreme heat increases with global climate change, residential buildings play a key role in defining personal temperature exposures. In recent decades, residential buildings have become the focus of energy efficiency and cost savings programs and initiatives. Residential buildings can also mitigate high indoor tempe...
Article
The evaluation of natural ventilation potential for cooling indoor spaces during the early design phases is of great interest to researchers and practitioners. Among various definitions and usages for natural ventilation potential (NVP) in early design evaluation, this paper reviews and identifies the key performance indicators, and proposes two ne...
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Heat is a growing concern in cities around the word, especially in the face of climate change. Because buildings are an important component of the built environment vis-à-vis both energy use and heat resiliency in cities, we explored their climate mitigation and adaptation potential. Specifically, we investigated how design decisions interact with...
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In buildings, good views to the exterior can provide positive psychological benefits and are often one of the most appreciated aspects of an interior space. However, the existing architectural design workflow fails to take view into consideration during the early design stages. This research provides two innovative outputs: first, a method to visua...
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Municipalities use Heat Vulnerability Indices (HVIs) to quantify and map relative distribution of risks to human health in the event of a heatwave. These maps ostensibly allow public agencies to identify the highest-risk neighborhoods, and to concentrate emergency planning efforts and resources accordingly (e.g., to establish the locations of cooli...
Article
Advanced control strategies are central components of smart buildings. For model-based control algorithms, the quality of the model that represents building systems and dynamics is essential to guarantee satisfactory performance of smart building control and automation. For the model predictive control of the heating, ventilation, and air condition...
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Benchmarking energy use is increasingly mandated and tied to consequences such as fines for underperforming buildings. Yet, standard benchmarking methods and metrics may not adequately align with policy makers’ or building owners’ goals. Here, we demonstrate how benchmarking metrics are non-interchangeable and how they can lead to substantially dif...
Conference Paper
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Despite guidelines encouraging climate responsive designs, post-disaster/conflict temporary shelters are frequently deployed across substantially different climates, resulting in anecdotes of unbearable interior temperatures. Therefore, in order to test their climate-appropriateness, we performed thermal simulations of fourteen of the most common s...
Conference Paper
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This research tests the potential susceptibility of a prevalent, residential wall assembly to the risk of sustained mold-growth in predicted future climate conditions. Here, the authors demonstrate a methodology that combines hygrothermal and mold-growth simulation tools with future weather files. This paper also explores the sensitivity of the res...
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As an increasingly popular green building technology, natural ventilation (NV) is an effective solution for better thermal comfort and lower HVAC system energy consumption. However, to achieve NV’s full potential in practice, it is critical to control windows and HVAC systems. Three main types of control schemes are examined in this study: spontane...
Article
A major challenge to fully achieve the natural ventilation (NV) potential in green buildings is the control and coordination of windows and the HVAC system. Three main types of control schemes with increasing levels of automation were examined in this study: spontaneous occupant control driven by thermal comfort, informed occupant manual control th...
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A poor depiction of occupant behavior in building performance simulation frequently results in substantial divergences between real and simulated results. The problem may be of particular concern with simulation supporting the renovation of older multi-unit residential buildings, buildings whose occupants use windows for temperature control even du...
Conference Paper
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Window selection greatly influences a building's energy performance. Typical methods for choosing high performance windows include following published performance criteria, using simple decision-support tools, and performing customized simulations. This paper demonstrates, through case studies, the shortcomings of existing methods for selecting ene...
Article
Low Impact Development (LID) practices provide more sustainable solutions than traditional piping and storm ponds in stormwater management. However, architects are not equipped with the knowledge to perform runoff calculations at early design stage. In response to this dilemma, we have developed an open-source stormwater runoff evaluation and manag...
Article
This paper presents a framework for the development of early-design guidance to inform architects and policy-makers using parametric whole-building energy simulation. It includes a case study of a prototype multifamily residential building, using an exhaustive search method and a total of 90,000+ simulations. The authors performed a simple sensitiv...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
For stormwater management, Low Impact Development (LID) practices provide more sustainable solutions than traditional piping and storm ponds. However, to be effective, LID practices must be integrated into planning at the beginning of the design process; yet architects and related design professionals making early decisions are not equipped to cons...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In order to improve early decision-making for similar projects, the authors used parametric energy simulation with the eventual aim of providing pre-design guidance for multiple teams of architects and policy-makers. The authors investigated high-rise, multi-family residential buildings in three megacities as case studies. They tested the impact of...
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This paper evaluates the accuracy of 18 design-phase building energy models, built according to LEED Canada protocol, and investigates the effectiveness of model calibration steps to improve simulation predictions with respect to measured energy data. These calibration steps, applied in professional practice, included inputting actual weather data,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper evaluates the accuracy of 18 design-phase building energy models, used for documentation for LEED Canada certification, and analyzes the effectiveness of simple model calibration steps applied to these models. The calibration steps included inputting actual weather data, adding unregulated loads, revising process loads (often with submet...
Article
This paper evaluates the accuracy of 18 design-phase building energy models, built according to LEED Canada protocol, and investigates the effectiveness of model calibration steps to improve simulation predictions with respect to measured energy data. These calibration steps, applied in professional practice, included inputting actual weather data,...
Article
An energy model generated during the design phase of a building could - in principal - be converted into a calibrated energy model and used to improve the building’s operational performance. However, this rarely happens in practice. Through a survey of 306 building professionals, this research investigates whether this model reuse is technically fe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of a survey of 306 building professionals investigating the feasibility of reusing design-phase energy models post-design. Most (75%) of the 154 engineers/energy modellers surveyed believed that their models could be used by a third party for commissioning and building operation. Nevertheless, the survey revealed sev...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Being able to read thermal simulation results and to adapt one's design accordingly has become an essential skill for graduating and practicing architects. This paper proposes and evaluates an innovative way of how this skill can be taught via a 90-minutes in-class exercise or 'game' based on DesignBuilder/EnergyPlus. The game was tested in a class...
Article
Full-text available
Being able to read thermal simulation results and to adapt one's design accordingly has become an essential skill for graduating and practicing architects. This article proposes and evaluates an innovative way of how this skill can be taught via a 90-min in-class exercise or ‘game’ based on DesignBuilder/EnergyPlus. The game was tested in a class o...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes an effort to build and partially validate an energy model of an existing educational building located in Cambridge, MA, USA. This work was carried out as part of a research seminar for graduate architecture/design students and included four related tasks: Modelling the building's geometry and thermal properties in DesignBuilder...

Projects

Projects (5)
Project
The focus of the proposed research is suggesting evidence-based improvements to the current energy code (ECBC-R 2018) for India and as a framework for other developing nations in hot regions.
Project
Understanding the indoor environmental qualities that promote healthy sleep and the implications for architectural design
Project
Addressing vulnerability to health risks due to indoor heat