Many design problems related to buildings involve minimizing capital and operating costs while providing acceptable service. Genetic algorithms (GAs) are an optimization method that has been applied to these problems. GAs are easily configured, an advantage that often compensates for a sacrifice in performance relative to optimization methods selected specifically for a given problem, and have been shown to give solutions where other methods cannot. This paper reviews the basics of GAs, emphasizing multi-objective opti- mization problems. It then presents several applications, including determining the size and placement of windows and the composition of building walls, the generation of building form, and the design and operation of HVAC systems. Future work is identified, notably interfaces between a GA and both simulation and CAD programs.
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