UCL Energy Institute


Ivan Garcia Kerdan

Thesis title: An exergy-based modelling tool for retrofit analysis in non-domestic buildings

Primary supervisor: Paul Ruyssevelt
Secondary supervisor: Rokia Raslan

Sponsor: CONACYT Scholarship

Starting date: 24/Sept/2012

Projected completion date: 15/Sept/2016

Improving energy efficiency along the building sector can deliver a large range of benefits to the economy, environment and society. Approximately half of the energy used in the UK is dedicated to space and water heating purposes, where buildings are responsible for 52% of the overall energy used. Since indoor temperatures usually range between 18-25 °C, research indicates that the heating needs of buildings can be met by low-grade heat sources. However, a key issue associated with this application is that of the ineffective match between the potential of the sources and the demand of the buildings. Consequently, it can be suggested that exergy analysis (a combination of first and second law of thermodynamics) can become essential in locating the aforementioned inefficiencies and seeking opportunities for improvement.

The aim of this research is to develop an understanding on how simulation tools based on exergetic analysis and thermoeconomics methods can help to optimize current building systems and their energy supply chain, and provide a more accurate energy description of the building before and after retrofit actions are implemented. 
Understanding that the exergy approach could become essential in analysing how efficient the non-domestic building sector can be and the potentialities of improvements, this research will focus to answer the next questions: 

  • What is the potential of using exergy analysis for retrofit decisions in non-domestic buildings?
  • What is the potential of using exergetic dynamic simulation tools as a means of finding inefficiencies in non-domestic buildings and their energy supply chain?
  • What are the impacts of different scenarios of refurbishment on energy and exergy consumption and what is the margin for exergy saving within the current UK non-domestic buildings and their energy supply chain?
  • What are the strengths and limitations in decision-making of using a thermoeconomic evaluation approach for building energy retrofits?
  • What is the impact on national energy policy of using exergy analysis for retrofit decision making?

In 2008 I graduated from the Faculty of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a degree in Mechatronics. While pursuing my undergraduate studies, my projects for classes on instrumentation, control, automation and mechatronic design, were all focused on houses and commercial buildings, and specifically on technological systems for smart buildings. My first work was at a company dedicated to building automation (BMS and EMS systems), eventually focusing exclusively on energy efficiency and how human behavior changes with new technologies.

In 2011 I finished a MEng in Energy at the Institute of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, focused on the Bioclimatic Design of Buildings. My thesis was an investigation into the energy consumption, by end use, of Mexican buildings according to the type of climate.

Before coming to the UCL Energy Institute, I spent the last year working for Grupo Salinas, an important company in Mexico and Latin America, where I have developed projects focused on energy saving, greenhouse gas reduction and sustainability in the company’s buildings. In 2012, the energy department held an annual budget of approximately $8 million USD and I was in charge of the energy efficiency projects in office buildings, telecommunications sites and retail stores. This position has given me the opportunity to deploy massive projects of LED lighting, thermal insulation, rainwater harvesting, automatic control (lighting, HVAC), self-supply by renewable energy and to be directly involved in new constructions, and in making them more efficient from the beginning. 

Publications and other work

Master Thesis

Garcia Kerdan, Ivan, 2011. Electricity End Use Baseline in Commercial and Service Buildings in Mexico: Energy Indictors