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All Energy Comes to Town

Posted: April 29, 2016 by , Category:Research & Development

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Next week All Energy opens at the SECC for another year and we’re gearing up for all that it will bring. As we’re headquartered in Glasgow it’s great having such a forward looking event going on in our home town. And boy is Glasgow a great host city – not only does it have flourishing Smart City credentials, but it’s also renowned for the warm welcome it gives visitors.

This year our R&D division is particularly active at the show presenting on a number of projects: INDICATE, Energy in Time, EINSTEIN, NewTREND and IMPRESS.

Speaking as part of the Sustainable Cities conference stream in Alsh1, Aidan and Catherine are covering the following:

4 May 2016, 12:45 – 13:45, Quick Fire Technology Update
Towards the development of a virtual 3D city model: Dundalk, Ireland
Aiden Melia, Project Manager, IES

5 May 2016, 14:30 – 16:15, Sustainable and smart cities technology
Making real-time operational control of buildings a reality with 3D simulation
Catherine Conaghan, Senior Project Manager, IES

While Nick is presenting within the Energy Efficiency Quick Fire Seminar Theatre on 5th May.

11:45 | NewTREND: Next Generation district integrated building retrofit, Nick Purshouse, Project Manager, IES
12:00 | IMPRESS: Energy reducing pre-fabricated retrofit panels (BIM) integrated, Nick Purshouse, Project Manager, IES

H&V Awards 2016

We are delighted to announce that last night IES received a coveted H&V News Award in the ‘BIM Initiative of the Year’ category. The award was in recognition of our ongoing BIM4Analysis Campaign for best example of promoting, educating or implementing Building Information Modelling within the industry.

The results of the H&V News Awards were revealed at the esteemed Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, where 1100 of the HVAC industry elite came together for a night of recognition and celebration of the sector’s achievements. With 22 targeted categories, the awards cover every aspect of the HVAC and building services industry, from Air Movement Product of the Year to Renewable Project of the Year.

With the UK Government mandate for BIM Level 2 deadline fast approaching, we felt it was essential to educate and engage the industry on the important role performance analysis has to play in the BIM process. Our educational BIM4Analysis campaign, launched in January 2015, seeks to show the industry how performance metrics can be integrated within the BIM process, throughout design, commission and operation, in order to deliver value, cost and carbon improvement on all projects.

To date the campaign has involved a series of educational events in which we have looked closely at the BIM enabled analysis workflow and the benefits it can offer projects using real case study examples from VE users including HLM Architects and CBG Consultants. We also created informative online and print content which was disseminated to the industry at exhibitions such as Ecobuild, and through respected publications such as CIBSE Journal, Construction Manager and MBS. As part of the campaign our experts have also given talks at high profile events such as Build4Quality, Digital Construction Week and we also sponsored BIM Prospects 2015.

Our next educational IES Faculty event, Big Data in Building Services, will take place in London on Wednesday 27th April. During the session, our speakers will be looking at how the huge amounts of data created by BIM can be used to optimise building performance. You can register for the event here.

To find out more about the campaign visit our BIM4Analysis page, view the flyer or watch recordings from previous BIM4Analysis events on our YouTube playlist.

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The recent COP21 summit in Paris again threw into focus the challenge of climate change, with urban development being confronted to reduce their energy usage. Simultaneously there is a growing concern on how overheating is severely impacting building performance and occupant comfort. With rising global temperatures being experienced now and significant increases expected over the short to medium term, overheating is a key issue that needs to be addressed. Occupant comfort is still a major concern as is energy use and they are both intrinsically linked.

Modern buildings are well sealed and insulated and in London where outside temperatures are higher than average this can lead to an enhanced need for cooling during the summer both in Residential and Non-Residential properties.

A historic design response to avoid overheating would have been to introduce comfort cooling measures but this brings additional energy and carbon use as well as higher running and maintenance cost. However, contemporary design approaches more frequently look to tackle solar and internal loads through passive design methods that minimise their impact without retrospective cooling measures being required, or where necessary allow ventilation approaches with mechanical cooling capacity to offset the peak cooling load.

Developing a response to climate change has led London to introduce a chapter specific to this in its London Plan. Policy 5.9 seeks to adapt to climate change by directly addressing the overheating and cooling conundrum. As London suffers from the urban heat island effect, retrofit and new build need to prioritise the opportunities available to reduce the cooling load and remove the potential for space overheating.

To further investigate the impact and mitigation of overheating, a new dataset of weather files has been released by CIBSE to dynamically simulate against the 2020’s, 2050’s and 2080’s. These files for London and other UK locations will offer climate change scenarios to benchmark the projected building performance. Additionally, London has a TM49 dataset representing three summers with different types of hot events.

Dynamic simulation can present fast yet detailed parametric datasets offering the ability to compare design options and drive the optimisation of the most beneficial design solutions such as shading, glass type, window-to-wall ratio, mixed mode ventilation, thermal mass, etc. The Greater London Authority have rightly identified an expectation for dynamic simulation to be used to demonstrate overheating performance. Without a robust analysis you can’t rely on the results and lack of good data leads to plant oversizing and operational inefficiencies.

IES Consulting have the experience to help investigate and interpret the impact on your building design by employing these new datasets for retrofit or new design through a parametric modelling approach where a large number of options can be run in parallel to optimise decision making. IES work with you from the concept stage to build a scope of design options and then provide detailed feedback on the best value opportunities. By generating reliable data we help project teams design with confidence, sizing plant correctly to operate at optimal efficiency and minimise their capital costs without compromising on comfort.

Do you know what BIG DATA is? You must have heard of it? The exponential growth in the volume, velocity and variety of data generated each second and the corresponding increase in processing power, algorithms and databases which have developed side by side. These databases are used to collate, store, analyse and leverage insights from the multitude of data lakes, warehouses and ecosystems which we are discovering every day. Many industries such as financial services, aerospace, health, biotech and manufacturing have benefitted from applying big data tools and techniques but it has been slow to permeate building services, design and operation.

Buildings generate more data than you might think? We started with simple monthly energy and gas bills. Now we can get sub-metered data on a half hourly basis for electricity, gas, heat and water. Not to mention the thousands of BMS points you find in a typical building, each generating and storing data every minute. Layer on top of this, occupancy and climate data, indoor air quality data, data from connected devices and you get a rich, granular, high velocity, voluminous and varied data set being dumped in your Amazon database each night. The question is what do we do with it?

Using operational data to inform the design and optimisation of our buildings hasn’t been the traditional approach used by designers and engineers. We now have the tools to be able to link accurate building performance models to real data. Leveraging these enhanced operational models is a superior way of not just designing with the end performance in mind, but also to better manage existing assets. By integrating this capability into our Virtual Environment (VE) software, IES are enabling and empowering users to put to good use the new wave of big data being generated by our buildings and cities and combine this with our core building physics and building services applications.

IES are running a free faculty event. ‘Intelligent Big Data in Building Services’ will be held in London on the morning of 27th April. You can register for the event here.

My colleague Dan Tuohy and I will be sharing our thoughts on using big data in the built environment and how, at different stages of the building lifecycle, that data can be put to best use.

I’m also excited to announce a special guest speaker. Thomas Bouriot, from TFT Concultants will be sharing his insight from the client’s perspective and how buiding owners/users’ needs can be met by leveraging and combining real data with building performance modelling tools.

The Power of Outstanding Collaboration

Posted: April 6, 2016 by , Category:Big Data

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When it comes to getting the most out of your data, collaboration is the key.

Nowadays there is masses of data available at every stage of the building lifecycle. And nowhere more so than at operation. The increasing volume, variety & velocity of data available presents its own organisational and analysis challenges. As does getting hold of and storing that data in the first place. However, what’s clear is that in order to derive value from operational data building owners, controls companies, BMS operators and specialist consultants need to come together and work in collaboration.

New trends in technology are making it increasingly cost effective to instrument and collect data about the operations and energy usage of buildings. So much so that we are now awash in data and the new problem is how to make sense of it. Today most operational data has poor semantic modelling and requires a manual, labour intensive process to “map” the data before value creation can begin. Pragmatic use of naming conventions and taxonomies can make it more cost effective to analyse, visualize, and derive value from our operational data. Data collected from operational sites can also be used to feedback into new design and ‘seed’ the design process from a grass roots level, leading to better designs, and better buildings!

Now I’ve spoken about our work for John Lewis in York on 2degrees before. However, last month, along with Lateral Technologies and Next Controls, we scooped the CIBSE Building Performance Award for Collaborative Working Partnership, for this very project.

Using IES SCAN technology, Lateral Technologies worked with IES Consultants to collect data directly from BMS systems and calibrate it with the design model to show any gaps in terms of predicted and actual performance and help deliver a soft landing. The controls company, Next Control Systems, were responsible for extracting the data from the BMS system to share with IES and Lateral Technologies.

Together this team helped John Lewis to create its most sustainable store to date and achieve a reduction of 43.8% in absolute carbon emissions compared to the benchmark, equating to 13.8% further savings than the original expectations of 30%.

CIBSE have published an article with more information on the project which you can read here and you can also read more in our John Lewis, York case study.

For me this is an excellent example of how collaboration can help facilitate Data Driven Design. Data Driven Design is a term we’re using to describe this cost effective approach to analyse, visualise, and derive value from operational data. By incorporating this approach into an integrated (BIM) design process it is possible to understand better the difference between performance models created solely for Part L compliance and how a building actually operates in real life.


A report by the Green Construction Board from 2013 explains the cause of the gap between predicted and actual energy use as down to the following headline issues:

  • Predicted energy use that is based solely on energy use regulated by Part L of the Building Regulations;
  • Energy modelling that does not simulate the occupied building with all its vagaries of operation, control and patterns of use;
  • Construction that does not carry-through design intent
  • Commissioning that is not carried out adequately and which may often require a seasonal approach;
  • Operation, management and occupant use that has a significant impact on actual energy consumption.



The Performance Gap: Causes & Solutions (Green Construction Board Buildings Working Group)

So in conclusion, the power of outstanding collaboration comes from not only collaboration between design/operation team partners to effectively use data, but also integration across the different stages of a buildings lifecycle.


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