Saba Saneinejad room HIL E 47.2
PhD student tel +41 44 823 4702
  fax +41 44 633 1041



Saba Saneinejad has received her M.Sc. degree in Building Engineering from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) in 2009. Her Masters’ research project was “Solar-driven vapor diffusion in wall assemblies in hot and humid climates”. After graduation she started her Ph.D. project at ETH Zurich (Switzerland).


PhD: Studying the effect of evaporation and evapo-transpiration on the thermal conditions in a street canyon

With the current trend towards urbanization, the modification of the climate in cities including the heat island effect has been of growing concern in recent years. The term “heat island” refers to a higher maximal daily temperature in the urban context compared to the rural environment. Global warming and urban heat islands have a decisive impact on the energy use for cooling.

The urban heat island is caused by multiple factors: reduced albedo (reflection factor) of urban surfaces, increased heat storage in the urban structures made of concrete, asphalt, etc., reduced long-wave radiation losses to the sky due to the presence of other buildings and street canyons (reduced sky view factor), reduced convective heat losses from the buildings due to wind sheltering, anthropogenic heat releases due to transportation, buildings, industry and people, and also by the reduced evapo-transpiration when replacing green areas by impervious surfaces. The purpose of this research project is to evaluate the effect of evaporation from wet surfaces such as walls wetted by wind driven rain, wet ground, or ponds, as well as evapo-transpiration from the green areas (trees, green roofs, etc.), in reducing the intensity of the heat island effect and improving the local climate in a street canyon.

In this talk, first, the phenomena of heat island effect as well as its influencing factors will be discussed, which leads to introduction of the need for the current research project. The focus of the project will then be introduced as well as the methods and means by which the work will be carried on. Then the ongoing work, as well as the future work plan will be discussed.

The work includes modeling a street canyon in detail by adding parameters such as a tree in the canyon, vegetative surfaces, wet wall surfaces, body of water on the ground, wind driven rain, wall and soil models, room interior model, radiation, etc. The model will be validated with wind tunnel experiments which will be conducted at the wind tunnel in EMPA. After validation of the models, they will be applied to various applications such as studying the micro-climate, indoor comfort, urban comfort and energy use.

Higher surface temperature on the bare roofs and in the street (left) compared to the one on the green roofs and streets with vegetation (right), Hoyano 2008



Conference proceedings

  • Saneinejad, S., Moonen, P., Defraeye, T., Carmeliet, J. (2010), Analysis of convective heat and mass transfer at the vertical walls of a street canyon: drying behavior after a rain event. The Fifth International Symposium on Computational Wind Engineering, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, May 23-27, submitted.
  • Saneinejad, S., Derome, D. (2008). Experimental and modeling work on insulated cavity in wood-frame walls with vertical temperature gradient. Proceeding of 4th International Building Physics Conference, Istanbul, June 2009.
  • Saneinejad, S., Derome, D. (2008). Studying the thermal conditions within the insulation cavity of wood-frame walls. Proceeding of 12th Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology, Montreal, May 2009.
  • Derome, D., Saneinejad, S., Carmeliet, J., Karagiozis, A. (2008). Comparison of small- and large-scale wall assembly specimens exposed to similar experimental conditions. Proceeding of Nordic Building Physics Symposium, Copenhagen, June 2008, 1015-1022.
  • Saneinejad, S., and Doshi, H. (2006). Test method to study the water shedding effectiveness of drip edge of metal flashing. Roof Consultant’s Institute’s (RCI) Interface Journal, September 2006, 24-32.
  • Saneinejad, S., Doshi, H., and Horvat, M. (2006). Test method to study the water shedding effectiveness of drip edge of metal flashing. Research in Building Physics and Building Engineering, 3rd International Building Physics Conference, August 27-31, 2006, 411-417.

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