Harvesting wind energy in low-rise residential buildings: Design and optimization of building forms

Hong Zhou, Yujie Lu*, Xiaodong Liu, Ruidong Chang, Bo Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


As a renewable energy source, wind power has received growing attentions, but mostly been utilized in wind power farms or high-rise buildings where the wind with high speed is available. Few studies focus on the micro-wind utilization in low-rise buildings due to the bottleneck that the wind speed cannot meet the minimal speed requirement of small wind turbines. This paper aims to identify the optimal building design which could enable the harvesting of the maximal micro-wind power around low-rise residential buildings. Based on the comparison among different building shapes and the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis via software Phoenics, this paper identified that the building shape of “composite prism” could enable the harvesting of the most micro-wind power. The identified building shape was then tested in a simulated environment of a residential community in Pingtan Island, China. The local wind conditions, long-term community planning, and the requirement of comfort level were all considered in the simulation model. The result shows that the potential of utilizing wind energy in low-rise residential buildings is huge by adopting the proposed building shape of “composite prism”. The finding has significant implications for renewable energy utilization in built environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-316
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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