Somil Ajit Miglani
PhD student at Empa / ETH Zürich Address: ETH Zürich

Chair of Building Physics
Stefano-Franscini Platz 1
8093 Zürich

  Room: HIB E 34
  Tel: +41 78 929 03 40
  Additional Info: Empa Urban Energy Systems




2015 - present: PhD student at ETH Zürich / Empa
2012 - 2014 Master of Energy Science and Technology (ETH Zürich )
2008 - 2012: Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (BITS Pilani, India)

Research interests

  • Borehole Heat Exchangers
  • Ground Source Heat pumps
  • Building Integrated Renewable Energy Systems
  • District Heating Networks
  • Optimization modelling
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


PhD Topic: Geospatial evaluation of standalone and district heating systems for residential buildings

Future cities, urban areas and buildings are expected to undergo a transformation towards more sustainable energy systems. This transformation involves a move towards increased use of renewable energy resources, decentralized forms of energy production, energy efficient buildings, thermal networks etc. The aim is to achieve such a transformation optimally, considering economic and environmental constraints. The current energy systems in buildings, especially heating systems, are based on fossil fuels and must give way to more energy efficient and environmentally benign alternatives. Each building can either be connected to a district heating system or it can be individually heated through a fully decentralized standalone systems such as solar thermal for instance. Since the potential for decentralized energy sources exhibits a high degree of spatial and temporal variability, the optimal integration of these technologies in existing buildings remains an open question.

This research aims at investigating the technological trade off between renewable energy based standalone systems and a small scale district heating system taking the total costs and carbon emissions savings into account. More specifically, methods will be developed to evaluate optimal configurations of energy systems for single buildings and clusters of buildings representing spatially and temporally differentiated energy demand and supply patterns. Finally, this analysis of the above mentioned technological tradeoff is carried out on multiple case studies representing urban areas, diverse with regard to technical parameters that differentiate them in their spatial characteristics.



Conference Proceedings

Miglani, S., Orehounig, K., Carmeliet, J. (2017) Design and optimization of a hybrid solar ground source heat pump system for a residential building. In: CISBAT 2017 International Conference – Future Buildings & Districts – Energy Efficiency from Nano to Urban Scale, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 6th – 8th 2017.[Forthcoming]

Miglani, S., Orehounig, K., Carmeliet, J. (2017) A methodology for the optimal operation of a residential building’s heating system with focus on thermal modelling of GSHPs. In: 30th International Conference on Efficiency, Cost, Optimisation, Simulation and Environmental Impact of Energy Systems, San Diego, California, July 2nd – 6th 2017.[Forthcoming]

Miglani, S., Orehounig, K., Carmeliet, J. (2016) Assessment of the ground source heat potential at building level applied to an urban case study. In: 19. Status-Seminar “Forschen für den Bau im Kontext von Energie und Umwelt”, Zürich, Switzerland, September 8th – 9th 2016. Link

Miglani, S., Orehounig, K., Carmeliet, J. (2015) A GIS based borehole design methodology for urban areas taking into account long term ground temperature change. Poster presented at: International Land Use Symposium (ILUS) 2015, Dresden, Germany, November 11th – 13th 2015. Link

Miglani, S., Orehounig, K., Carmeliet, J. (2015) A method for generating hourly solar radiation on building rooftops accounting for cloud cover variability. In: CISBAT 2015, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 9th – 11th 2015. Link

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