Jul 20, 2007

IES Support for Revit Architecture 2008

IES have recently announced the latest version of the Virtual Environment software, version 5.8 has just been released, one highlight of the new release includes the ability to Import gbXML files from Revit Architecture 2008 June build. Read news...

Ecotect: Natural Frequency Journal

I have just stumbled across these articles which are worth recording on my blog....Natural Frequency is an electronic journal for articles on the environmental design of buildings and the application of analysis and simulation in architecture by Dr Andrew Marsh MD of Ecotect.

ECOTECT as a Teaching Tool With its highly visual approach to building analysis and simulation, ECOTECT has enormous scope to be used as a teaching resource at any level in both architecture and engineering courses. Read...

Building Analysis: Work Smart, Not Hard The most efficient approach when undertaking any form of work is to minimise your own effort whilst maximising the potential benefits and/or impacts that may flow from it. Read...

Thermal Modelling: The ECOTECT Way For ECOTECT to properly understand a thermal analysis model, it requires that you adhere to some specific conventions when constructing it. Read...

Making a Thermal Comparison One of the first things many people say when introduced to analytical software is -- "OK, but just how accurate is it?". Read...

CAD Geometry vs Performance Analysis
With an increasing regulatory emphasis on energy efficiency and building performance analysis within the design process. Read...

The Thermal Effects of Solar Gain
The true impact of solar radiation on the internal conditions within a space are often much more complex than this simple relationship would suggest. Read...

Other Ecotect sites to visit: Square One Wiki (includes analysis concepts)- Square One Website

Jul 17, 2007

Do's and Don'ts for Sustainable Architects

Here are some great do's and don'ts from an AECbytes article from 2005 and still very applicable today:

"Don't — feel like you have to immediately master the new simulation programs that perform the analysis. Grow into these programs over time. Look for young architects coming out of school that have the aptitude and interest in using these programs. For those who will never grow to use them, it is absolutely fine. Again, just be the best in the world at providing the data necessary to run the simulations and interpret the results.

Don't — wait until the design is done to have a simulation performed. It is best to do these kinds of studies at the conceptual design stage so that you still have time to make modifications to the design for optimizing the energy efficiency of the building.

Do — begin to read about sustainable design and which tips and tricks you can employ to keep buildings warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without additional energy consumption. A good place to start learning is the World Green Building Council website.

Do — develop an understanding for energy-efficient building components and attempt to specify them as much as possible in your designs.

Do — develop a relationship with an engineer that employs advanced energy simulation software. Be very good at generating the necessary inputs so that it is easy to run analysis against your designs.

Do — market your newly found skills. Architects don't normally appeal to clients with an energy competence message. It's time!

Do — consider starting your projects in 3D from the outset. The virtual model linked to software assessing building energy efficiency can lead to improvement in the overall design. "

Read full AeCBytes article....

eQUEST Building Energy Use Analysis Tool

About Download Tutorial - Features -
"eQUEST is a sophisticated, yet easy to use, freeware building energy use analysis tool that provides professional-level results with an affordable level of effort. eQUEST was designed to allow you to perform detailed comparative analysis of building designs and technologies by applying sophisticated building energy use simulation techniques but without requiring extensive experience in the "art" of building performance modeling.

The DOE-2 software was developed by James J. Hirsch & Associates (JJH) in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), with LBNL DOE-2 work performed mostly under funding from the United States Department of Energy (USDOE)"

Jul 16, 2007

TAS Building Simulation Software

TAS is a suite of software products, which simulate the dynamic thermal performance of buildings and their systems. The main module is Tas Building Designer, which performs dynamic building simulation with integrated natural and forced airflow. It has 3D graphics based geometry input that includes a CAD link. Tas Ambiens, is a robust and simple to use 2D CFD package which produces a cross section of micro climate variation in a space.
Tas is a complete solution for the thermal simulation of new or existing buildings, allowing design professionals to compare alternative heating/cooling strategies and fa├žade design for comfort, equipment sizing, energy demand and Part L2.

Jul 15, 2007

Rating Systems from around the World

I have just posted details of four rating systems around the world. I have taken a quick look at the LEED, BREEAM, CASBEE, GREEN STAR websites here I have posted a summary of them and what they offer. India is currently looking to implement LEED, Canada has adopted LEED with amendment, UK has used their own long established system of BREEAM.

If you are using these systems I would be interested to know how helpful the tools you used where for early design analysis and if you have any lessons learned.

CASBEE Rating System (Japan)

Overview - Assessment Method - Tools - DownloadCASBEE
Promoting sustainability is a major social challenge.As the building industry consumes large amounts of material resources and energy, specific technological and political means should be developed in order to promote sustainable buildings.To be nationally authorized in Japan, a cooperative academic, industrial and governmental project has been to establish a new system called the Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE).

Construction consumes and discards resources and energy in enormous quantities, is one field where we must act urgently to develop and promote techniques and policies able to assist the drive towards sustainability.

CASBEE was developed according to the following policies:
· be structured to award high assessments to superior buildings, thereby enhancing incentives to designers and others.
· be as simple as possible.
· be applicable to buildings in a wide range of applications.
· take into consideration issues and problems peculiar to Japan and Asia.

GREEN STAR Rating System (Australia)

About - Tools - Categories - Calculation GREEN STAR
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has developed a national environmental rating tool for buildings called the ‘Green Star’ rating system. The tool rates a building in relation to its management, the health and wellbeing of its occupants, accessibility to public transport, water use, energy consumption, the embodied energy of its materials, land use and pollution.
Green Star aims to assist the building industry in its transition to sustainable development.

The Green Star environmental rating system for buildings was created for the property industry in order to:
· establish a common language
· set a standard of measurement for green buildings
· promote integrated, whole-building design
· recognise environmental leadership
· identify building life-cycle impacts
· raise awareness of green building benefits.

There is a suite of Green Star rating tools for commercial offices at all phases of development - design, construction, and operations. Projects are evaluated against eight environmental impact categories, plus innovation. Within each category, points are awarded for initiatives that demonstrate that a project has met the overall objectives of Green Star and the specific criteria of the relevant rating tool credits. Points are then weighted and an overall score is calculated, determining the project's Green Star rating. Green Star rating tools use Stars to rate performance:

· 4 Star Green Star Certified Rating signifies 'Best Practice'
· 5 Star Green Star Certified Rating signifies 'Australian Excellence'
· 6 Star Green Star Certified Rating signifies 'World Leadership'

BREEAM Rating System (UK)

About - Features - Tools - Certification - How does it workBREEAM
The BRE assessment methods and tools are all designed to help construction professionals understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of the developments they design and build.

The BREEAM assessment versions look at the same broad range of environmental impacts:
· management
· health and wellbeing
· energy
· transport
· water
· material and waste
· landuse and ecology
· pollution

Credits are awarded in each of the above areas according to performance. A set of environmental weightings then enables the credits to be added together to produce a single overall score. BREEAM assesses buildings against a set criteria and provides an overall score which will fall within a band providing either a Pass, Good, Very Good or Excellent rating.

LEED Rating System (US)

About - Features- Accreditation - Resources - JoinU.S. Green Building Council
Non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction. Developers of the LEED building rating system. The council is a community of more than 10,000 organizations from every sector of the building industry united by a common purpose: to transform the building marketplace to sustainability.

LEED-certified buildings:
· are leading the transformation of the built environment
· are built as designed and perform as expected.
· have lower operating costs and increased asset value
· are healthy and comfortable for their occupants
· reduce waste sent to landfills· conserve energy and water
· reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions
· qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances, and other incentives in hundreds of cities
· demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility

To earn certification, a building project must meet certain prerequisites and performance benchmarks ("credits") within each category. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve. USGBC will fully rebate certification fees for any project awarded LEED platinum certification.

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.