Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Independent of the number of students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • English, German

Resource Description

GO-3 Building Optimization - Solar Energy(Resource ID: 217)

This teaching module is part of a module series on “building optimization” and is suitable for courses addressing the issue of sustainability, in particular energy efficiency and climate protection, and wishing to examine the building sector. The Building Optimization series of modules is intended to convey the essential relationships of energy-efficient construction. Working independently and using the GO Tool, students will learn about optimization potentials for energy efficiency. The focus of this module is on the optimization of active solar energy systems in terms of solar gain per collector panel, as well as on positive credits to primary energy demand and CO2 emissions. The module is made for a half to one-hour teaching unit and can be used regardless of the number of participants.

Content of Module

  • Information and recommendations for class instructors 
  • Teaching materials and script: PowerPoint presentation (PPP) with instructions
  • Teacher’s manual:  PPP with notes (questions, answers, interpretation) and supplemented with results sheets for class instructors
  • GO tool based on MS Excel

The GO Tool is a tool for rating the energy efficiency of buildings. It can be used without special knowledge of building technology.

The teaching module will provide an understanding of the influence of solar heating and photovoltaic systems on the ultimate energy balance. Effects upon primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions will also be addressed. The parameters type, size, and facing of solar panels are all influential and can be varied.

Suggested Teaching Order

Time for Step 1 - 2: about 10 minutes.

1. Explanation of goal and sequence of material (the first transparencies (slides) on PPP)

2. Presentation of how final energy, primary energy, and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as their balances and positive credits, are shown by the GO Tool.

Time for Step 3: about 10 - 20 minutes

3. GO Tool: Example of solar energy for hot water heating.

Time for Step 4: about 10 - 20 minutes

4. GO Tool: Example of solar energy supported heating systems.

Time for Step 5: about 10 - 20 minutes

5. GO Tool: Combining solar heating and photovoltaics.

Interpretations and representation of results can be found in the teaching materials.

Prerequisites for Implementation  

MS Excel: two students per computer, if possible. A prerequisite for this module is the completion of teaching module GO-0 “Fundamentals” with instructions on how to use the GO Tool. It would also be an advantage to have completed teaching module GO-1 “Effective Energy” and GO-2 “Ultimate Energy”. This module is the basis for understanding the teaching modules by Alexander Passer (Technical University of Graz) and Heimo Staller (AEE INTEC).

Learning Outcomes
The assessment tool is intended to convey the essential relationships of energy-efficient construction. Working independently, students gain an understanding of the effects of different solar energy systems on energy efficiency and environmental protection. After being briefed on the input parameters for solar energy systems, students have gained insight on the most significant influencing variables and potentials for optimization.
Intended learning outcomes include:
1. Effects of solar heating systems on the ultimate energy demand for interior and hot water heating.
2. Effects of size and facing of solar heating systems.
3. Effects of photovoltaic systems on overall ultimate energy demand, primary energy demand, and greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Effect of size and facing of photovoltaic systems.
Relevance for Sustainability
The building sector exerts a strong influence on key areas of sustainable development: consumption of non-renewable resources, climate change, waste disposal, life cycle costs, job creation, indoor air quality (health), and user comfort. Their long service life means buildings have a direct impact on future generations. Many successfully tested strategies are available for increasing the sustainability performance of buildings. The building sector offers the greatest potential for optimization with regard to climate protection and energy efficiency (see publications by the IPCC and IEA). LCA (life cycle assessments) of buildings show that, in most cases, the performance of user energy is the dominant factor of environmental impact (see for example the 2008 Michlmair thesis, TU Graz). For these reasons, the energy efficiency of buildings is the most important starting point for improving ecological performance. The direct use of solar energy is a significant factor in attaining a sustainable energy supply. Integrated solar energy systems play a very important role in this.
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links

Markus Gratzl-Michlmair
Gratzl Engineering, Engineering Office for Building Physics

Concept and Supplementary Materials:
DI Roman Smutny

The building optimization tool is based on the OIB-training tool for non-residential buildings (see: created by Christian Pöhn, MA39, and is based on the calculation rules of the energy certificate updated January 2010 (incl.  ÖNORM H 5057 Ventilation Standard, ÖNORM H 5058 Cooling Standard, and ÖNORM H 5059 Lighting Standard).

The OIB tool was adapted for use in architecture competitions within the IEAAC (Integration of Energy-related Aspects in Architecture Competitions) project by F&E and has been successfully implemented many times. The project was developed by IFZ Graz (project head architect Heimo Staller), TU Graz, and BOKU Vienna, subsidized by the FFG und Klima- und Energiefonds. Results can be viewed online free of charge:

A series of enhancements and simplifications were necessary to make it usable as a simplified teaching tool for residential buildings as part of the SUSTAINICUM program.  These involved the following areas:

  • Active solar energy use, detailed lighting plans, shade and shadow illustration
  • Ventilation system input

The conversion factors for primary energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions come from the OIB Guideline 6  (October 2011 issue).  The PV of income are credited with the Austrian electricity mix.  The conversion factors of the comparison values for travel are from the database ECOINVENT, V.2.

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Roman Smutny,
Markus Gratzl-Michlmair


Roman Smutny
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna


Creative Commons

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Computer program
  • Simulation program
  • Written material
  • Simulation