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Archive for January, 2016

Dublin Castle
Through my role with IES R&D, I’m lucky enough to find myself supporting the launch of the first ASHRAE Section in Ireland and am currently helping to organise its inaugural event. Taking place on 9th February at Dublin Castle, the conference will focus on commercial building energy performance, and will feature the ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Bruce D. Hunn, who will lecture on measurement, evaluation and improvement of energy performance of commercial buildings. Additional talks will include recent developments in natural refrigerants, modelling of HVAC systems and controls, as well as building energy policy and regulation.

ASHRAE is an international organisation of around 53,000 members covering 132 nations, focussed on technical advancements in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration, and helping to promote sustainability in these areas. In June 2015, I helped establish ASHRAE Ireland, with the aim to promote the organisations goals to our current national membership, and help encourage networking of member groups and organisations under this common goal.

As well as being involved in the launch of ASHRAE Ireland I’m also a research fellow on EINSTEIN, a Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project, between IES and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The aim of EINSTEIN is to formulate and integrate a number of advanced building control strategies; Controls which will not only help eradicate errors between ‘as-built’ and ‘as-designed’ conditions but also include predictive analysis of how the building should perform, taking into account future weather predictions and occupant use. The synergy between the project and the conference theme made it the perfect fit for me and for IES who are sponsoring the event.

The event already has an excellent line-up of speakers so far, with energy sector representatives from both industry and academia. Our very own Catherine Conaghan will be speaking on “Building Energy Modelling and Smart Building Control” covering commercial available solutions IES already has in the space as well as looking at EINSTEIN and other research projects ongoing in IES R&D under the theme of operations and smart building control.

I fully expect the event will be a great opportunity to create meaningful engagement on the energy issues facing individuals and companies, particularly in the face of falling energy prices and increasing importance of meeting demanding sustainability targets.

Read more about the event and sign up here. We look forward to welcoming you to Dublin Castle on 9th February.

BIM4Analysis
In simple terms Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a paradigm shift within the construction industry. It is moving the industry from an analogue age to digital. BIM encapsulates a code of practice that brings a standardised approach and classification to the built environment. It is an approach that can be used for buildings and/or infrastructure. The true intention of BIM is ultimately to reduce waste and add value.

  • Waste is anything that does not add value
  • Value is anything a client is willing to pay for

To date, BIM is described as Building Information Modelling, use of the term modelling has resulted in confusion for many practitioners leading them to think ‘I need a model to do BIM’. In fact, BIM is more concerned with Information Management than Information Modelling.

Within the context of Information Management, there are two considerations;

1. Structure information so it is shareable-IFC, gbXML, Excel.
2. Decide what information is required, when, who produces it, who will use it for what. (Please visit CIBSE’s BIMTalk Glossary for more information).

BIM Level 2, as mandated on all centrally funded public projects from April 2016 (England) and 2017 in Scotland, is a project based requirement. The mandate requires projects to be set up so the information can be shared. The right information accessible at the right time to the right people.

Many practitioners consider BIM to be a tool, an application, when in fact BIM refers to an environment within which various tools and processes are applied. It has been easier for organisations to invest in technology to ‘do BIM’ than to effect the sort of organisational change that true BIM exploitation requires.

Is there sufficient understanding/appetite/momentum within the industry for the scale of change required to fully exploit BIM? There is a mandate but few construction clients understand their role in setting out their Information Requirements (EIR) in a BIM brief at the start of the project and are led by the industry and their suppliers into paying more for 3D models that are of very little value downstream, particularly from an FM perspective. What we see is ‘new’ technology shoehorned into existing process and that is the fundamental issue currently causing frustration amongst our customers.

Bim4Analysis is a campaign to integrate analysis within the BIM process, enabling VE users to take advantage of valuable information during design, commissioning and operation. The strategy is concerned with implementing BIM as a mechanism to deliver Value, Cost and Carbon Improvement on all projects.

The holy grail is a single workflow. From an engineering perspective this means engineers inputting information into a 3D model format to inform coordination. When the coordinated layout changes the update is seamless and bi-directional. There is currently no robust solution on the market to facilitate this. Engineers use a mix of formats including spreadsheets – uncontrolled, inconsistent; standalone analysis and some integrated analysis (eg MagiCAD).

We consider the VE as a single platform for creation and capture of performance data useable and useful during design, commissioning and operational life of the building. Compliance (Part L, BREEAM, LEED) is a necessity on most projects. Currently this requires a separate workflow to Design.  Our solution is to develop a single ‘analysis’ model from the BIM model at the appropriate stages of the project and to run the calculations from that one ‘analysis’ model thus ensuring that the designers are using the most up to date information. When the design changes, the BIM model is again imported, with the relevant data and the various calculations are run again with results sent back to the BIM models (Interoperability). When the project is set up for collaboration and the process is understood it becomes easier.

The views expressed in this blog post are based on discussions with stakeholders from within IES and from our customer base (predominantly UK with some US input) and within the context of the work being undertaken by the UK Government to achieve BIM Level 2 on all public projects by 2016 and BIM Level 3 beyond [BIS BIM Strategy http://www.bimtaskgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/BIS-BIM-strategy-Report.pdf].

On Thursday 28th January, we hosting the next instalment of our IES Faculty BIM webinar series. We’ll cover our BIM4Analysis strategy plus interoperability development work, helping you on your BIM journey ahead of this year’s Level 2 mandate in England and the BIM adoption strategy scheduled for 2017 in Scotland. Sign up for free here.

We want our customers to continue to influence our BIM4Analysis approach so we’re requesting questions and feedback on the lead up to this webinar. There are a number of ways you can send us your question – submit it here, tweet us using the #BIMfaculty hashtag or post on the IES Facebook page, and we’ll do our best to report back during the seminar. Questions and answers will also be collated into an FAQ document which we’ll circulate after the event.

Interoperate Between BIM and Energy Modeling

Posted: January 15, 2016 by , Category:BIM, events

BIM Energy Modeling DiagramOn the lead up to our free BIM4Analysis webinar taking place on Thursday 28th January, we’ll be publishing a series of blogs to preview some of the topics that will be covered during the session. First up is a post from our guest speaker Jean Carriere of Trailloop, who will be presenting the most recent thinking on his approach to producing building loads for systems sizing and energy modelling from an integrated modelling process.

Build clean models before exporting the gbXML file and avoid integration errors before they happen, yielding predictably good results across many applications.

The AEC industry is familiar with creating building loads for systems sizing and then producing energy models with the Performance Rating Method (ASHRAE 90.1 or NECB). Although these project deliverables are typically done independently from each other without any integration to the project’s architectural and MEP systems design.

The building loads are produced from an early snapshot of the building’s form and features, then the compliance energy model acts as an auditing tool when the design is complete. A framework that incorporates these familiar industry deliverables would improve the energy performance of any building, by integrating and using information effectively during the design process.

The objective is to create the building loads from the architectural design model and then use this information to design and right-size the HVAC systems. With a clear and robust framework for measuring and verifying energy performance indicators, the design team can make informed decision based on actionable metrics. This process is designed to promote iterative energy simulations in order to achieve certain energy performance targets, such as net zero and beyond.

In order to make this process work, it first starts with the integration of BIM for energy modeling applications. This is accomplished by exporting a good quality gbXML or IFC export file from a BIM project. These files can be imported into most energy modeling applications, which then creates a digital link between BIM and energy modeling. As the federated BIM project evolves in complexity and level of detail throughout the design process, the energy modeling integration link is lost, but the information parameters remain. If the geometry or spaces change after the integration, the modifications can be copied back using the 5 fundamental modeling techniques into the integration model and then re-integrated in order to maintain the BIM link between applications.

We can use these information parameters to exchange data between the two applications. That could be a third party defining space and component properties in Revit and sending that information down to the energy modeler. Or it could be the energy modeler producing building loads or systems data to be inserted within the relevant space and component parameters. This way the building’s information resides inside the BIM and the simulated data is accurately representing the architectural and mechanical/electrical design.

The process of exchanging information bi-directionally between BIM and third party application is where the UK is heading with their BIM mandate for 2016. They define level 2 BIM as “a single environment to store shared asset data and information; accessible to all individuals who are required to produce, use and maintain it.” In essence, we’re opening up a portal to move information between energy modeling and BIM applications. If you’ve maintained the integration model throughout the process, then exchanging information after an energy simulation is as simple as copy/pasting data in Excel, and in a few minutes your BIM project is filled with important and relevant data.

Want to find out more about Jean’s approach? Sign up now for our free IES Faculty BIM webinar.

Got a question you’d like to put to Jean or one of our IES BIM experts ahead of the webinar? There are a number of ways you can do this – submit your question here, tweet us using the #BIMfaculty hashtag or post on the IES Facebook page, and we’ll do our best to report back during the seminar. Questions and answers will be collated into an FAQ document which we’ll circulate after the event.

Buzzwords 2016
January is traditionally the time for forward reflection. So inspired by what’s going on around us we’ve pulled together the top 5 buzzwords that we think our expert building analytics team at IES will be using across 2016.

The Force of COP21
May the Force of COP21 be with us all. While the agreement signed in Paris by all 196 nations of the world to pull together and attempt to reduce carbon emissions, thus limiting the onslaught of global warming and reducing air pollution worldwide, is a major step forward, the real work starts now.

Undoubtedly the biggest difference will be made by big business and governments, see our founder Don’s views on this. However, we also believe that each and every one of us must also do our bit by changing the way we live, work, travel and think; no matter where we are from or how rich we are.

The Glasgow Effect:
Ok so we might not use this across the whole year but it certainly got us talking in January and as it’s a year-long project there is sure to be more to come. For those of you who’ve not picked up on this yet, the topic of office banter all across Glasgow on Tuesday morning was Ellie Harrison and her Glasgow Effect project being awarded £15k by Creative Scotland. The artist will not leave the greater Glasgow Area for 1 year (except in the event of the ill-heath / death of close relative or friend), and it’s caused a real storm on social media.

The project was initially called Think Global Act Local and is not primarily about poverty or deprivation in the city, as many people have assumed, but about exploring the benefits and practicalities of localism for artists and communities. “By setting this one simple restriction to her current lifestyle, she intends to test the limits of a ‘sustainable practice’ and to challenge the demand-to-travel placed upon the ‘successful’ artist / academic. The experiment will enable her to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ – testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”

The artist has a strong interest in climate change, political activism and big data, and while the original project title is in some ways far more accurate, most people wouldn’t have looked twice at a project named ‘Think Global Act Local’. But it got us thinking about the role of local and community in our personal and professional lives. It’s a global problem, but there’s action that can be taken by us all at a local level to combat it. Read more at our Blog.

BIM4Analysis:
With the UK Government mandate for BIM Level 2 deadline fast approaching this year, and as a technology company in the sustainable building analysis arena we felt it was essential to educate and engage the industry on the important role performance analysis has to play in the BIM process. The concept of creating and capturing information during design for use in operation is key to achieving Low Zero Carbon buildings. This time last year we started an educational campaign named ‘BIM4Analysis’ to engage with the industry and bring performance metrics front and centre to the BIM movement which is what the Government strategy is aimed at.

2016 is going to see us develop on this, demonstrating our BIM enabled analysis workflow alongside customers through various events and publications, including Ecobuild and BIM Prospects 2016. We’ve also got the next instalment of our popular IES Faculty BIM webinar series taking place at the end of January (details coming soon). This event will provide an update on our BIM4Analysis strategy plus interoperability development work that will help you on your BIM journey.

Big Data:
Other industries are already capturing and using big data to their advantage – but buildings are lagging behind. Imagine what you could do with real metrics instead of big assumptions. It’s all linked to Smart Buildings, the Internet of Things and other digital developments. Data in buildings can be generated by a wide variety of sources and can be used to understand behaviour, assess performance, improve market competitiveness, allocate resources and so on. However, historically it has been difficult and expensive to collect this data, and its variety in quality, structure and format made it difficult to use, sometimes for example requiring the manual transfer of data from paper records into digital systems.

Mind The Performance Gap:
We’ve been banging on about this for ages now but it’s an issue which requires much more understanding and attention. We’re expecting the issue to gain momentum in 2016, especially as the UKGBC has announced a new research project in the area.

The Performance Gap is a well-documented disconnect between the design and compliance models of buildings and the reality of how they perform. Our work to date has focused on the importance of understanding the difference between design, compliance and actual building performance models, as covered in this video from our faculty event. As well as researching new technological advances in using operational data combined with 3D modelling across building design, handover and operation to deliver intelligent energy efficiencies, alongside healthy and comfortable buildings.

Glasgow
It’s only the first week of January and already controversy has hit Glasgow. The topic of office banter on Tuesday morning was Ellie Harrison and her Glasgow Effect project being awarded £15k by Creative Scotland. The artist will not leave the greater Glasgow Area for 1 year (except in the event of the ill-heath / death of close relative or friend), and it’s already caused a storm on social media.

“By setting this one simple restriction to her current lifestyle, she intends to test the limits of a ‘sustainable practice’ and to challenge the demand-to-travel placed upon the ‘successful’ artist / academic. The experiment will enable her to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ – testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”

Personally I find it hard to criticise a project that hasn’t produced anything yet, especially when I don’t know anything about the artist and her intentions. So I looked her up to find out more and discovered she has a strong interest in climate change, political activism and big data.

According to the Herald, and Ellie herself the project was initially called Think Global Act Local and is not primarily about poverty or deprivation in the city, as many people have assumed, but about exploring the benefits and practicalities of localism for artists and communities. And, so with COP21 fresh in my mind I can’t help hoping that some of this project’s outcomes will shine a light on how local communities can start to address the many challenges of keeping global warming at or below 2°C.

The COP21 agreement signed in Paris at the end of last year was a declaration by all 196 nations of the world to pull together and attempt to reduce carbon emissions, thus limiting the onslaught of global warming and reducing air pollution worldwide. While undoubtedly the biggest difference will be made by big business and governments, see our founder Don’s views on this, I also believe that each and every one of us must also do our bit by changing the way we live, work, travel and think; no matter where we are from or how rich we are.

I don’t normally take directly from another source but this article in Envirotech resonated so well I couldn’t rewrite. Here are just some things it suggests you can do to reduce air pollution in your area and curb climate change on a global scale.

  • Conserve energy. It might sound obvious, but turning off lights when not in use, switching off appliances, taking shorter showers, only boiling enough water in the kettle for your purposes, etc. – all of these things add up to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. If you live in Glasgow City you can use the Energy App we developed for the City Council as part of its Smart City initiative.
  • Get some exercise. Walking or cycling to and from work or to the shops is not only good for you, it also means one less car on the road! This means one less exhaust spitting out harmful fumes and one less contributing factor to air pollution.
  • Take public transport. For longer distances, the British network of buses and trains is sufficiently developed to offer flexible routes to most destinations, especially in larger cities. Taking the bus can also be far more cost-effective than owning and maintaining a car, especially when petrol prices are factored in.
  • Drive responsibly. If you really must take the car, ensure you drive it in a responsible manner. This means cutting out unnecessary idling, increasing fuel efficiency by driving at optimal speeds, keeping the pressure on your tyres inflated and generally conducting routine maintenance.
  • Recycle and reuse. Instead of buying a new item when the old one becomes worn or dysfunctional, try to repair it. Recycle as much of your consumed produce as possible. Before throwing away, consider whether it can be reused.
  • Buy environmentally-friendly. Steer clear of products which contain many chemicals, solvents or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), choosing water-based paints and other cosmetics and environmentally-friendly approved products in general.
  • Make your voice heard. Take part in environmental protests, sign petitions and join campaigns to lobby for more environmental practices in your local community, in government and among big business.

The thing is, communities can and are coming together to make a difference, whether through local generation schemes, car-pooling, community gardens or many other like-mined programmes. And there undoubtedly must, and will, be more opportunities in the future for communities to take a bottom up approach to becoming more sustainable in the way we approach energy-use, waste and life in general.

Ellie’s original project title is in some ways far more accurate, but most people wouldn’t have looked twice at a project named ‘Think Global Act Local’. The phrase has been used in various contexts, including planning, environment, education, mathematics, and business, and even has its own Wikipedia page. It makes absolute sense when you apply it to climate change – it’s a global problem, but there’s action that can be taken by us all at a local level to combat it – thinking globally and acting locally.

In the end, I might not like the work Ellie produces for the Glasgow Effect, we will see. But for me it’s already been an opportunity to reflect on the role of local and community in our lives and has introduced me to projects and ideas I wouldn’t ordinarily have come across – Ellie’s own Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund (RRAAF) to use a wind turbine to generate renewable energy and fund a ‘no strings attached’ grant for art-activist projects and a big bang data exhibition she was involved in. Both of which resonate personally and professionally.

So hate it or support it, Ellie’s Glasgow Effect project has stirred up a lot of feelings, debate and unfortunately abuse. It has also inspired a lot of social media ‘art’ in retaliation and hopefully also made us stop and think a bit. Where will it go from here, who knows, but I’m certainly interested to find out.

 

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