AbstractAccording to the European Union, buildings account for 40% of overall energy use and 36% of CO2 emissions, with existing energy-inefficient buildings the main source of losses. Efforts to enhance the thermal comfortability of users in buildings can result in overheating if not appropriately designed, which in turn could lead to health issues as well as continual emission of greenhouse gases. To provide further insights into this dilemma and contribute to improving energy-efficient building designs, we undertake a new modeling technique encompassing a complete analysis of the existing building 3D model as well as solar radiation behavior on buildings. The technique involves 3D building information modeling (3D BIM) that is reconstructed using computer-aided design (CAD). Ladybug and Honeybee plugins for Grasshopper for Rhino are then used to evaluate environmental and building performance using the energy plus weather (EPW) file of Wuhan city, China, as a case study. An assessment of ‘with’ and ‘without’ built architectural surroundings contexts is also carried out in relation to summer and winter solstices. An overall change of approximately 29.56% is observed between ‘with’ and ‘without’ surrounding contexts, which suggests that both have a significant influence on the solar potential of individual buildings. Investigation of internal and external thermal energy consumption behaviors in relation to building comfort lead us to suggest an optimized smart solution which is validated using our case study site in Wuhan. Our findings suggest that the building energy lifespan can be increased while reducing environmental consequences if an estimated 50% of monthly energy savings are made. The findings of this study provide useful insights for decision-makers, engineers, and designers of energy-efficient buildings.

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