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We believe that much more needs to be done to mitigate climate change. It’s happening faster than anyone wants to believe. And buildings play a huge part in this. In fact, buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions – that’s more than any other industry. If we are going to save the planet, we need to focus on dramatically reducing this number. This is fundamentally why we do what we do at IES. We want to reduce the environmental impact that buildings have on our planet.

As Earth Day approaches, we want to help raise awareness about the impact that buildings have on the environment and why we need to take action now before it becomes too late. Recent political events such as President Trump’s reversal of US Climate Change policies means it’s now more important than ever that we stand together and fight against what we all know to be a very real threat. This is why IES are standing side-by-side with Green Building Councils and other like-minded organisations across the globe to do as much as we can to mitigate the effects of Climate Change. We recently signed a letter by the USGBC to support them in trying to save key programs run by the Environmental Protection Agency, you can too by clicking on this link.

Last year a powerful message from Architecture 2030 resonated strongly with us and is as relevant (if not more so) now. The message came in an article just after Donald Trump was elected as President and it said it was important to remember that we are far from powerless to continue to effect meaningful change, and that change had to happen from the bottom up and not the top down. It reminded us of all the great work that has already been done and this momentum will continue regardless of what is being said at the top. The following statistics were cited in the article…

“Worldwide, 533 cities are now reporting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a 70% increase in reporting since the Paris Agreement. To date, 30% of these cities have GHG emissions reduction targets. In North America, 56% of the cities reporting have GHG emissions reduction targets, many declaring zero emissions or an 80% reduction by 2050 or earlier.” Read the full article.

In its 2014 2030 Commitment Progress Report, the AIA stated “Quite simply, energy modeling presents the greatest opportunity for architects to realize more ambitious energy-saving in their design projects.” With this in mind, a holistic approach to energy and performance modeling is imperative.

The IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) gives you the factual insights required to accurately establish everything from what building materials to use to reduce drafts and avoid overheating from the sun, to how best to right-size your systems, to dramatically reduce running costs, to how to reduce water consumption and overall energy demands. The key to our success, and the reason why tens of thousands of people around the world are using IESVE to make better buildings, is our ability to look at the building in an integrated way to pinpoint simple but highly effective things you can do to reduce your buildings impact on our planet.

At IES we think we should make every day Earth Day. As our Founder and CEO Dr Don McLean said, “Only by looking at buildings and cities as the integrated environments that they are – instead of parts of the problem in isolation – can we ensure everyone involved in the conception, design or management of a building gets to leave our world in a much better state than we inherited it.”

Let’s work together and do more to save our planet. We’ve only got one. Are you up to the challenge?

What You Can Do

Take advantage of our FREE Earth Day special give aways to empower you to help save our planet.

Have a look at our Earth Day Infographic for more facts and figures on how buildings are impacting our planet.

Watch our Founder and CEO, Don McLean’s Earth Day video message.

Join us on our quest to fight climate change. Subscribe to our DiscoverIES newsletter.

Have your say. Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #EarthDayEveryDay. You can also join us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Russia’s largest retailer approached IES recently to ask for help in designing significantly better performing buildings – the result a UK 4-day study tour led by our Business Development Consultant for CEE, Guy Eames.

“Britain is one of the leading countries when it comes to high performance or “green” buildings”, boasts Guy, “IES’ technology highlights what is possible, when building owners set their minds to reducing their carbon footprint”.

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Skanska shows off their “Deep Green” engineering and manufacturing workshops near Doncaster

The executives saw first-hand how buildings are passively heated and cooled using locally grown materials pressed into blocks; how green roofs affect insulation and provide natural habitats and how rainwater harvesting reduces water use by 50%. “Implementing such build strategies would be impossible without first making careful calculations”, continues Guy. “Building simulation analysis offers the best way to do that, allowing “scenario analysis” or comparisons between various construction materials and technologies. IESVE offers the most integrated and speediest approach.”

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IES Business Development Consultant Europe, Guy Eames

We were pleased to welcome Environmental Sustainability Manager at Adnams, Ben Orchard on the tour to present to the executives and share the firms sustainability story. Part of this is its BREEAM Excellent distribution centre which incorporates many eco-friendly measures such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels and LED lights. “It was a pleasure to be able to highlight the features and demonstrate the success of our award winning, ‘eco’ designed, distribution centre; an iconic and crucial milestone in our sustainability story”, said Ben.

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Passively heated and cooled distribution centre at Adnams

Globally renowned architect and pioneer for super-efficient buildings Bill Dunster, CEO of ZED Factory, also welcomed the group and praised the IESVE (Virtual Environment) platform. Zed Factory demonstrated the “Zero Bills Home” and how to use innovation to reduce energy demands whilst taking advantage of natural renewable energy – sun and wind.

Renewable energy was a reoccurring topic throughout the tour, as all of the buildings seen were powered naturally. “In the CIS there are very few wind turbines, although PV and hydroelectric are playing a growing role, so there’s nothing like standing under a wind turbine and comparing how whole communities can be powered on renewables.”, said Guy. It was a pleasure to meet with companies like RES which specialise in such schemes and demonstrate how IESVE can calculate loads on individual buildings”. RES showed off their thermal storage capabilities as well as combined solar heating and power installation. Visitors were impressed to see electric vehicles charging from wind and solar power.

The Zero Bills Home at BRE Innovation Park

The Zero Bills Home at BRE Innovation Park

The ZEDfactory Zero Bills Home showed how battery power could store excess energy or cheap off-peak power to cover energy peaks and even charge electric vehicles. The homes, although grid connected, are energy positive for 8 months of the year and only energy negative for 4 months, when they rely on the grid. This is possible thanks to their solar voltaic roofs (BIPV), low thermal loads by maximising energy efficiency and using all electric heat pumps producing hot and cold water, and the reduced costs of electrical storage. There is almost no case for centralised power plants with this combination. Affordable near off-grid buildings are now ready to replace investment in fossil or nuclear powered centralised grid infrastructure – however it requires clients and local government to stop investing in large scale solutions and concentrate on higher quality optimised local buildings and masterplans.

A green-building tour of the UK wouldn’t be complete without learning more about BREEAM. The group was lucky to visit 6 BREEAM certified buildings (many award winning) as well as being greeted by senior staff at the BRE (Building Research Establishment). BREEAM is increasingly being used abroad, either using the international BREEAM or National Schemes. IES works closely with the BRE, projects include IMPACT and modules for the VE to speed up the BREEAM certification process.

The tour was intense but deep – covering retail strategies (Mike Barry from Marks & Spencer found an hour for us), manufacturing and distribution buildings (Skanska, Adnams), and Residential and Office. To complete the day, the group were treated to a presentation of Terminal 5 at Heathrow – the UK’s largest free-standing buildings, where IES was selected as  Energy and Sustainability Modelling Consultants.

Guy concluded, “The tour was a great success, full of inspiring projects, showcasing the best of British in taking forward the sustainability agenda. We look forward to these ideas being transferred across CEE countries and greeting more Eastern Europeans!”.

Team IES

 

You may remember we blogged back in August about our participation in the ASHRAE LowDown Showdown competition. Well, we have some great news… Team IES won the Best Energy Use Results category! Liam Buckley coached the winning team, fighting off competition from seven other practitioner teams, representing software-specific tools from: Autodesk, Carrier, DesignBuilder, eQUEST, EnergyPlus, Sefaira, and Trane. We asked Liam to tell us more about the winning entry and the winning team…

Our brief was to design a three-story; 53,600-square-foot office building that included a number of specific design challenges, but also encouraged design creativity. Projects were judged on energy efficiency, design creativity, workflow innovation, teamwork and collaboration.

Obviously, the team decided to make the challenge even more challenging by locating the building in downtown Boulder, where the climate experiences vast and extreme variations including annual external conditions ranging from (-4° F to 93°F); (6% -100% Relative Humidity) and commonly occurring daytime-to-night-time temperature swings of 35°F.

The team considered 150+ Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) and eventually chose 25-30 strategically sequenced ECMs, which included daylight harvesting controls; natural ventilation with exposed thermal mass and automated night-purge control; an air-to-water heat pump; energy-star equipment; plug load schedules from metered ZNE evangelists; fixed and dynamic solar shading; airside heat-recovery wheel; IT server virtualization; radiant floors for improved thermal comfort; an optimized electric lighting design; a high-performance envelope with heat-mirror glazing and insulated panels. Finally, the integral ECM of the building showcased a passive negatively-airflow-integrated atrium, which considered all climatic eventualities.

To compliment the solar hot-water heating system, which was coupled with electricity-generating PV panels, additional explicit onsite renewable energy technologies included 5 Vertical Axis Wind Turbines. These were further optimized by the building architecture.

Our team wanted to ensure that the design would not only meet net-zero standards for next year, but that 50 years down the line, would still be operating at net-zero energy. To ensure this, we morphed the TMY15 weather data 50 years into the future (to 2064) and planned for the addition of two building-integrated evaporative down-draft cool towers that assist with cooling, which would keep the building operating at zero net energy despite higher cooling loads.

I was thrilled that our team won this award for Best Energy Use Results. The team worked really hard; although the IESVE is a powerful software suite with vast capabilities, the tools are only as good as the people using them, and we had an incredible team using them. They deserved it. It was a real pleasure working with such a talented group of people.

The team members were: Anna Osborne (Integral Group), Ben Brannon (Arup), Shona O’Dea (DLR Group), Megan Gunther (Affiliated Engineers, Inc.), Cory Duggin (TLC Engineering for Architecture),  Greg Romanczyk (exp) and Scott West (HKS Inc.).

Our team has created a video presentation of the winning design which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/7V5LktxK5ig.

Pulkovo Airport Terminal 1
Being a co-founder and CEO of the Russian Green Building Council and co-founder and board member for GBCs in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, I was delighted to have the opportunity to join the IES team in July as a Business Development Manager for the European Division in Russia. I am excited to share my great love for building modelling and to encourage others to adopt IES technology to create high quality interior environments, maximise building performance and optimise energy use.

When the Russian GBC was founded in 2009 there was not one single Green Building project in the Russian Federation. Today, a whole industry has been formed, bringing together Russian and international property owners, investors and solution providers. There are now around 100 green building projects in Russia, including some of the largest green building projects in the world, for example, Sochi 2014, FIFA 2018 and World Expo 2017.

A few weeks back I was joined by IES European Division Head, Michelle Farrell, and IESVE resellers, Buro Ecoseven, in Moscow for 3 days of activities to promote the use of the VE. The Russian-speaking countries are fascinated by building modelling and BIM in general and so I was pleased to see that the response to these events was strong with interest coming from engineers, architects, students and the green building community.

Over 300 professionals tune in to Webinar
The first main event of the week took the form of a Russian-language webinar held in Moscow with the Russian ASHRAE Association (ABOK). The webinar attracted an impressive turnout of over 300 online participants, from 67 cities and 13 countries around the world. The session comprised of 90 minute presentations made by Michelle and Sergey Zhukovsky (CEO, Buro Ecoseven) giving an overview of the VE’s capabilities in addition to some case studies. Participant engagement was high and we were pleased to see plenty of questions being asked by the attendees. The webinar was a first for Sergey, who felt that “it was a great success and very powerful.”

Architectural students look to IESVE
Students from three leading Universities then came together for another of the events to listen to Michelle and I present IESVE at the newly opened Eco School in Kuskovo Park, Moscow. The event was organised by the City of Moscow’s Department for the Environment, who are organising a public design competition for a visitor centre and masterplan for a nature park in Moscow. We were both impressed by the turnout and interest; many of the students are advanced users of CAD programs and the support from the city authorities in organising the event was top notch.

Guy-and-Michelle

Guy and Michelle meet students at the Eco School in Kuskovo Park, Moscow.

Since joining the Russian and Azerbaijan GBCs, IES has been active in these growing markets for LEED and BREEAM projects. I am proud of my new role at IES and love their approach to sustainability. The VE has so much potential, not only to become the main tool needed for architects and engineers in new and retrofit green projects, but also to allow owners and users to clearly monitor energy and water use, temperatures, CO2 and daylight levels to unprecedented levels to bridge the performance gap. Eastern Europe is quickly adopting green building and therefore offers IES substantial opportunities. I have already started to connect major potential users of the software and consultancy services to IES and its resellers and look forward to growing the use of IES technology in Russia and other European markets.

Interested in finding out more about these developments and how you can benefit from using the VE? Drop me an email to connect and find out more.

For the second year in a row we’re pretty chuffed to have another one of our solutions shortlisted for the 2degrees Champions Awards. Last year we had IES TaP nominated in the ‘Solution of the Year’ category and this year our Smart-Building Energy Management tool, IES-SCAN, has been shortlisted for ‘Innovation of the Year’.

So what is IES-SCAN and why should you vote for it? Well we’ve put together a short movie to tell you about our new Smart Control ANalysis solution…

As part of the 2degrees Champions Awards, nominees were given a t-shirt selfie challenge.  Basically we were sent a blank t-shirt that we had to design and take a ‘selfie’ while wearing it. So the marketing team got arty to design the tee and then got IES founder and ‘Star of Building Science’ Don McLean to take the selfie (with us lot grinning in the background). It’s no Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars, but you can see our effort here…

2degrees awards selfie

Head over to the 2degrees website to find out more about IES-SCAN and how it enables next generation building analysis. Oh, and don’t forget to cast your vote there too.

Star of Building Science

Posted: August 23, 2013 by , Category:Green Building, Sustainability

don-building-science-star1

This week our Founder and Managing Director, Don McLean was announced as one of fourteen nominations for Building4Change’s Stars of Building Science Awards.

So what makes a Star of Building Science? Well according to Building4Change, it’s somebody who is promoting the very best in building science to improve the quality, sustainability and resilience of the built environment, and ultimately to make people’s lives better. Needless to say, we think Don fits the bill…

Don founded IES in 1994 and since then has grown it into a successful business and research base, providing innovative performance analysis technologies at the cutting edge of building science. Don’s passion for sustainable building analysis and his vision for creating better performing buildings and cities that consume less energy has been the key to his success.

Pre-IES building performance technology was too complex to use and remained in the hands of academics making very little impact on mainstream commercial design. Recognising this, Don saw this opportunity and in the late 1990’s released the first major commercial version of the Virtual Environment software suite.

Since then Don has invested heavily in Research and Development, constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in building performance analysis and promoting integrated working partnerships between all those involved in building design to create more sustainable buildings and

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If, like us, you believe that Don should be recognised as a star of Building Science, then you can vote by emailing your selected nominee to Building4change@bre.co.uk. Voting will remain open for six more weeks, when they will announce the list of the top scorers, who together will form a virtual academy of scientific excellence.

Countdown to Greenbuild 2012

Posted: November 8, 2012 by , Category:events, Green Building, LEED

All it takes is a quick look on Twitter using the #Greenbuild hashtag to see that not only is this the biggest green building conference in the world, but it’s also the event that brings out the most passion and creativity from within our industry.

If the green building industry had an Olympics; it would be Greenbuild. If we had a Woodstock; it would be Greenbuild. If we had a Cannes; it would be… ok I’ll stop now, you get the idea.

There is a lot going on every year at Greenbuild and this year is no exception. To find out what was planned for San Francisco and to get involved in the pre-Greenbuild conversation, we decided to create our “DaysToGB” twitter hashtag. Starting on October 14th, we’ve been using the hashtag to countdown the 30 days leading up to the main event next week.

But what have we learned counting down the days to Greenbuild? Quite a lot actually! We know the USGBC is coming full circle by heading back to its roots in San Fran and it’s an ideal location as it’s a city with green building high on the agenda. We’ve learned that attendees are spoiled for choice for what they can do with any spare time they can grab (film festival, walking tours etc), and also that this year’s event has more fantastic seminars and presentations then you could shake a stick at!

We’ve also been using #DaysToGB to share what IES have planned over the course of the conference. At booth #1732S, we’ll be sharing our recent innovations and developments which significantly help streamline and assist the LEED certification process. As a USGBC LEED Automation partner, we’ll be launching our new online LEED project management software and showcasing our software solutions for automated LEED performance credit assessments and sophisticated LEED Energy Modeling.

Our IES experts are also taking part in a number of educational presentations throughout the week; you should have at least one logged in your diary:

IS04A – Removing Barriers for International LEED Projects {Tues 13th Nov}
B06 – Energy Monitoring that Provides Meaningful Data AND Value {Wed 14th Nov}
LEED Automation Partner Presentation {Wed 14th Nov}
D13 – The Ghosts of Climate Past, Present, and Future {Thurs 15th Nov}

You can click here if you would like full details on the above sessions.

So what have you got planned for Greenbuild? There’s still time to tell us using the #DaysToGB hashtag or alternatively you can comment below.

6 #DaysToGB

Gone are the days when energy data for private buildings was, well, private — at least in some cities.

Mandatory policies regarding the release of energy data for the private sector are becoming more and more popular. New York City is the first to release its results consisting of 2,065 large commercial properties. This report is part of New York’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, which focuses on energy efficiency in the city’s commercial buildings. According to EnvironmentalLeader.com, this plan consists of four different regulations, one of which is Local Law 84 requiring commercial buildings to benchmark their water and energy use. The data collected also goes towards the PlaNYC goal of reducing citywide carbon emissions.

This is the first time any city, state or county has released this kind of information, and I’m taking it as a step in the right direction. The report contains interesting information which may have us rethinking the types of spaces that should focus on energy efficiency.

The data displays information on energy usage per square foot, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage per square foot, and more. The New York City Local Law 84 Benchmarking report shows that large buildings are responsible for 45 percent of New York City’s carbon emissions. By monitoring energy use, that number can be reduced.

So what can we take away from this? New York is beginning to realize that it is crucial to improve existing buildings, not just new ones. Energy modeling can have a hand in improving both. While the larger buildings typically have more financial resources to take on energy upgrades, modeling can assist smaller buildings for a fairly low cost, allowing building owners to hone in on specific factors and improvements such as ventilation, solar heat gain and even building envelope.

Focusing on these structures will have a large impact on the city according to the New York City Local Law 84 Benchmarking Report, which states that if all inefficient large buildings were brought up just to the median energy use intensity in their category, NYC inhabitants would reduce their energy consumption by 18 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. And that’s just by doing the minimum!

When it came to writing this World Green Building Week blog the resounding thought I had was — blimey, it’s September already and a year has passed since the last World Green Building Week! But as the great proverb says; “Time and World Green Building Week wait for no man”…

But putting the concept of time aside, after the success of the WGBW event (Environmental Modelling for a Low Carbon Scotland) we hosted last year in Glasgow, we have decided to do it all again this year in Central London on Tuesday 18th September.

Our event this year, which is part of our free Faculty series, will bring together a selection our partners (Davis Langdon, BRE, Daikin, Monodraught) to share our vision of “Virtual Building Models: Driving Measurable Change for Sustainable Built Environments“. By bringing together our expanding partnership programme we want to demonstrate the power of Virtual Building technology to not only reduce carbon impact, but to also substantially reduce costs across the whole building lifecycle.

Commercial buildings utilise more than 42 per cent of all electricity produced, yet waste up to 50 per cent. It is clear that looking at innovative ways to manage energy use throughout the building portfolio offers very substantial savings. Furthermore organisations need to urgently adapt from ‘business as usual’ if they are to meet CSR targets, and comply with current and future environmental legislation, whilst ensuring on-going reliability and investment value of building stock.

In addition, the costs to operate and maintain building stock look set to rise even further. These increases arise from; new expenses associated with environmental legislation, rising fuel costs, the impact of climate change, and increasing energy demands — all external factors over which management has little control.

We believe that the application of Virtual Building technology from design, through construction & commissioning on into operation and renovation/adaptation offers a 3D platform upon which Smart building principles can be built. At next week’s event we will demonstrate through a number of practical and educational sessions how projects and research we are involved can be used in your day-to-day, and how it’s all starting to join-up:

– Software partners are addressing connectivity between Virtual Building and CAD/BIM platforms
– Product manufacturers are testing & verifying performance, creating user tools and undertaking due diligence to cut through greenwash and prove effectiveness of innovative systems virtually
– Research partners are working with us to expand technology horizons
– Rating systems partners are leveraging our technology to facilitate compliance and investigate alternative routes

If you don’t already know, World Green Building Week is held annually to highlight the importance of sustainable buildings for businesses, communities and individuals across the world and this year it takes place from 17th — 21st September. This year’s theme is “Green Building for Great Communities” and we believe that Virtual Building technology can help support the creation of great communities through:

Thinking Healthy: Making buildings for people with better indoor environments and air quality etc.
Thinking Wide:
Connecting the building to natural systems and aligning tech systems across multiple buildings
Thinking Long: Creating lasting value by setting clear performance targets, incorporating future-proofing and ongoing monitoring of building operations to optimize long-term performance, while creating transparency throughout the building lifecycle
Thinking Connected: Collaborating at every stage and integrating design teams, stakeholdersand industry, government etc.
Thinking Big: Acting now for a greener, healthier community

So if you’re in the London area next Tuesday make sure you come along and join us for this free event. If you want to find out more details about what’s happening on the day and book your place, head over to our website.

More efficient buildings vs. more efficient utilities — this is what we are seeing recently between New York and San Francisco. The west coast is moving forward with a bill that could require utilities to invest in energy storage systems. The purpose is to help grow the use of solar and wind power within the state. On the other side of the U.S. the first PlaNYC benchmarking report has been released. These reports will serve as a foundation for increasing building efficiency from year to year. Two different solutions are being implemented to achieve the same goal of handling peak demand or when energy demand is at its highest. Produce more energy or consume less energy?

The potential mandate for utilities to require energy storage in California would help overcome some of the obstacles we face when using wind and solar power. Unfortunately, fossil fuels can be stored and provide a constant stream of power, the same cannot be said for renewable energy. Energy storage could take this advantage away from fossil fuels. A steady stream of renewable power would result in a grid that can handle the peak demand hours of the day. Downside? This is going to take a

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major amount of money in investments by utility companies. Who do you think is going to end up paying for it? The cost is going to be passed along to the low man on the totem pole, meaning the end user. But if this works the investment now might be minimal compared to the benefits we could experience in the future.

Although California’s plan is not perfect, neither is New York’s. The data that was collected through a 2009 ordinance, and just released, shows high amounts of variations. Feedback on the program is that when providing data some of the categories are hard to define. People either include unnecessary data or leave out data that they should be including. What this program does do is provide a set of data to benchmark against and track progress, even if it is not 100 percent accurate. The theory is – what gets measured gets done. If you want to see real changes you need to start measuring. It’s like when you were back in middle school if you knew an assignment wasn’t going to get graded, how much effort did you really put into it? The same principle is what makes energy modeling so important. Instead of supplying more power to meet peak demand, New York is trying to make buildings more efficient and reduce the demand on the power grid.

Both ideas reduce the amount of pollutants and greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere, provide a solution to meet high demand, and reduce the overall burden on the power grid. Two different coasts have two different schools of thought. Which do you think is the more effective path? Ultimately it’s going to take a combination of ideas and solutions to meet our future demand.

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