Purpose – The development of strategies for energy efficiency optimization in buildings has become a fundamental way to reduce buildings’ environmental impact because the amount of energy consumed by buildings is responsible for one-third of total global energy consumption. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the performance of buildings in terms of their indoor operative temperature dynamics considering the impact of other neighbouring buildings. The goal of the paper is to verify whether close spatial relationships of buildings and urban morphology within a local network of buildings could cause a considerable effect on indoor thermal behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – The authors simulated buildings in an existing city block in Albany, New York, USA. The block consisted of six single-family houses. Findings – The results demonstrate that buildings mutually impact the indoor thermal behaviour of other buildings in the network with indoor operative temperature differences of over 20 percent in summer and over 40 percent in winter for the test case examined. The research also compares this result with improvements in indoor operative temperature achieved through traditional envelope improvements. It was found that during the summer, certain envelope improvement strategies have nearly the same impact in terms of indoor thermal behaviour. During winter, the presence of neighbouring buildings causes a variation that is more than double the value of the effect caused by a typical envelope modification. Originality/value – It is concluded that this mutual impact on indoor operative temperature across spatially proximal buildings should be included in dynamic analyses of buildings. Future research should examine the effect of these indoor operative temperature deviations on the energy performance predictions of buildings in urban and quasi-urban settings.
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