Jul 15, 2007

Tools for early Building Simulation

To understand some of the building simulation programmes available, I am going to list of few of them here and start to figure out which ones can be useful for architects early in design during feasibility and concept stages and there connectivity with Revit:

Features - 3D Interface - Free Download - Building Regs
"ECOTECT Is an industry leading building analysis program that finally allows designers to work easily in 3D and apply all the tools neccesary for an energy efficient and sustainable future...ECOTECT is a complete building design and environmental analysis tool that covers the broad range of simulation and analysis functions required to truly understand how a building design will operate and perform."

Shadows & Reflections - Shading Design - Solar Analysis - Lighting Design -Right-to-Light -
Acoustic Analysis - Thermal Analysis - Ventilation & Air Flow

I like the 3D interface with this software, Architects like this as the results are very visual with dynamic 3D views and false colour diagrams - in early design these tools stimulate a healthy conversation and design debate….may need supporting with engineering consultancy at later stages of project.

Features - Revit MEP - Building Regs
"IES There is now a direct link between the 3D modelling platform Revit and the IES . Jointly developed between IES and Autodesk, it represents a revolutionary change for design teams working from a common model. Not only does IES software calculate heating & cooling loads within Revit MEP, but the suite can be launched in order to carry out the full range of sustainable design analyses. Dedicated toolkits have been developed to make these analyses more accessible to users who are new to the field. The now allows for the import of gbXML files. New interface for gbXML files sourced from Revit Architecture’s June 2007 update."

IES tools have now a connection with Revit MEP since early 2007, this is a great step forward for the industry and has generated much discussions as to the fit of IES in the Architectural workflow. The IES tools are very sophisticated and relied on by many engineers. It is questionable about how useful IES will be for Architects early in design…happy to see examples of how this could work.

Green Building Studio
Features - Tutorial - Downloads - Login
"Green Building Studio If you are involved in the building design and construction industry and are concerned about meeting today’s significant energy and resource reduction goals, you know how difficult it is to determine which actions to take to meet these goals. Green Building Studio, Inc. provides the only web-based energy engineering analysis solution that integrates with today’s 3D-CAD/BIM applications. Green Building Studio enables your design team to have immediate whole building energy analysis results on all building schemes while sharing files with today’s engineering tools. This solution reduces two weeks of work to a day."

This is a web-based solution where you upload your GBxml file for testing...I'm not too sure how this solution is favored by Architects but worthy of trying out. GBxml can be output from Revit files.

Features - Free Download
"EnergyPlus is a building energy simulation program for modeling building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows. While it is based on the most popular features and capabilities of BLAST and DOE-2, it includes many innovative simulation capabilities such as time steps of less than an hour, modular systems and plant integrated with heat balance-based zone simulation, multizone air flow, thermal comfort, and photovoltaic systems. EnergyPlus is a stand-alone simulation program without a 'user friendly' graphical interface. EnergyPlus reads input and writes output as text files."

No graphics, this is all text based. Useful for early design, not sure how it will be taken up by Architects who love to visualize.

I would welcome your comments on how you are using building simulation tools in your process and to the usefulness that they bring. Please let me know if you prefer other solutions.


Joel said...

design builder is a program that puts the visual package to the energy plus software. Similar to eQuest for DOE2.2. Personally I use eQuest still but I am interested in the other packages.

Anonymous said...

As Joel says, Design Builder is a very comprehensive graphical interface for EE+. You should also consider that DOE2.2 will eventually have no support or updating since it is meant to be replaced by EE+ (An easier code to maintain, support, update and get training on).

You should be paying attention to when NREL releases the Energy Design Plugging for Google Sketch Up to Energy Plus. When ready that will be revolutionary. That could happen late 2008 or early 2009.


Anonymous said...


That is incorrect, Hirsch & Associates is still supporting the DOE 2.2 engine (calculation engine for eQuest) and gradually upgrading it. There is no plan that I know of to discontinue support.

Anonymous said...

IDA Indoor Climate and Energy (IDA ICE), is a whole-building simulator allowing simultaneous performance assessments of all issues fundamental to a successful building design: form, fabric, glazing, HVAC systems, controls, light, indoor air quality, comfort, energy consumption etc.

It has a unique structure making it the ideal choice for the time-constrained or inexperienced user, yet it is likely to be the most advanced and flexible building performance simulation tool available.

A new release will be available later this summer (2008), and it will include 3D, shades and sunlights.

IDA ICE is a leading and international building simulation tool developed by EQUA Simulation (Sweden).

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cad services said...

Good job...I wonder if all the mentioned methods are used in Green BIM or if they are some kind of software used for BIM as i am till now aware of only Revit.

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