Dimensional reduction of 3D building models using graph theory and its application in building energy simulation

Christoph van Treeck, Ernst Rank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Since the various people involved in the design process for a building project tend to hold conflicting views, this inevitably leads to a range of disparate models for planning and calculation purposes. In order to interpret the relevant geometrical, topological and semantical data for any given building model, we identify a structural component graph, a graph of room faces, a room graph and a relational object graph as aids and explain algorithms to derive these relations. We start with a building model by transferring its geometrical, topological and semantical data into a volume model, decomposing the latter into a so-called connection model and then extracting all air volume bodies and hulls of the model by means of further decomposition into elementary cyclic connection components. The technique is demonstrated within the scope of building energy simulation by deriving both a dimensionally reduced object model required for setting up a thermal multizone model and a geometrical model for defining single or multiple computational fluid dynamic domains in a building together with incidence matrices correlating these models. The algorithm is basically applicable to any building energy simulation tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-122
Number of pages14
JournalEngineering with Computers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Air volume body extraction
  • Building energy simulation
  • Building information model (BIM)
  • Building product modeling
  • Dimension reduction
  • Geometrical and topological analysis
  • Industry Foundation Classes


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