Towards climate robust buildings: An innovative method for designing buildings with robust energy performance under climate change

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Neglecting extremes and designing buildings for the past or most likely weather conditions is not the best approach for the future. Robust design techniques can, however, be a viable option for tackling future challenges. The concept of robust design was first introduced by Taguchi in the 1940s. The result of the design process is a product that is insensitive to the effect of given sources of variability, even though the sources themselves are not eliminated. A robust design optimization (RDO) method is for the first time proposed in this paper, for supporting architects and engineers in the design of buildings with robust energy performance under climate change and extreme conditions. The simplicity and the low computational demand of the process underlies the feasibility and applicability of this method, which can be used at any stage of the design process. The results show that the performance of the optimum solution not only has a 81.5% lower variation (less sensitivity to climate uncertainty) but at the same time has a 14.4% lower mean energy use value compared with a solution that is compliant with a recent construction standard (ASHRAE 90.1-2016). Less sensitivity to climate uncertainty means greater robustness to climate change whilst maintaining high performance.


External organisations
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Chalmers University of Technology
  • Queensland University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Building Technologies
  • Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology


  • Building performance simulation, Climate change, Climate uncertainty, Extreme conditions, Primary energy, Robust design, Robust design optimization, Simulation-based optimization
Original languageEnglish
Article number109378
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch