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Performance-Based Evaluation of Courtyard Design in China’s Cold-Winter Hot-Summer Climate Regions

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A courtyard is a traditional and popular construction feature found in China's urban buildings. This case study evaluates the performance of the traditional courtyard design of the Jiangnan Museum, located in Jiangsu Province. In the evaluation, the spatial layout of courtyards is adjusted, the aspect ratio is changed, and an ecological buffer space is created. To model and evaluate the performance of the courtyard design, this study applied the Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, Parabolic Hyperbolic Or Elliptic Numerical Integration Code Series (PHOENICS), for wind environment simulation, and the EnergyPlus-based software, DesignBuilder, for energy simulation. Results show that a good combination of courtyard layout and aspect ratio can improve the use of natural ventilation by increasing free cooling during hot summers and reducing cold wind in winters. The results also show that ecological buffer areas of a courtyard can reduce cooling loads in summer by approximately 19.6% and heating loads in winter by approximately 22.3%. The study provides insights into the optimal design of a courtyard to maximize its benefit in regulating the microclimate during both winter and summer.

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