An integrated design process is proving to be the key to achieving high-performance, sustainable buildings. By bringing all of the project stakeholders to the table at the early conceptual stage of the process, the team can set forth with a common set of goals. The result is that sustainable strategies are better coordinated during design and construction, and projects are more likely to be completed on time and on budget. Once the project is complete and the building is operational, the owner and building operators are familiar with the efficiency measures that were implemented and know how to keep them running properly.

Let’s focus on the role of the design team — architects and engineers. As a mechanical engineer, I have always enjoyed collaborating with architects to begin the analysis as early as possible. The decisions we make during conceptual design will impact a building’s performance for its entire life, so it is important that we begin to quantify the impact of these decisions. The building’s site orientation, its geometry, its envelope design, and the arrangement of spaces within the building (planning), will have dramatic effects on its energy consumption, the availability of daylighting, thermal comfort, and the effectiveness of passive strategies. This is also the stage where we must develop an understanding of the climate to determine which sustainable strategies are most appropriate.

VE-Ware and the VE-Toolkits have been designed with these issues in mind, but also as a means to improve collaboration between architects and engineers. As the architects devise various conceptual options in SketchUp or Revit, they can assess performance metrics along the way and share this information with the engineers for their input. The engineers can then use the same analysis model to help refine and optimize strategies that have been found to be beneficial to the building’s performance, or make recommendations where aspects of the design are found to be detrimental.

So, you can see that this approach starts to blur the line between the traditional roles of the architect and engineer. Architects performing analysis…Engineers helping the designers with the building form…What’s next? Cats and dogs living together in harmony? Only time will tell…

Dimitri Contoyannis, PE

Taking it to the Streets

Posted : October 9, 2008 by Nicole

I had the great pleasure of launching what might be best termed a “Green Blitzkrieg” last month as we landed in 9 US and Canadian cities and over 70 design firms from coast to coast. Many thanks to all those who hosted us — we hope you stay tuned via When after I’m you. It […]

International Challenges

Posted : September 30, 2008 by Chien Si

This problem of making a sustainable world is one of the most challenging that the world has ever faced. Although a number of people still actually debate whether CO2 comes from anthropogenic sources, I accept that humans are indeed having an impact. Making the change to a more sustainable built world is going to take […]

Model Merge

Posted : September 16, 2008 by Craig Wheatley

I’ve got a workflow conundrum for you today: I’m using SketchUp or Revit and I’ve delved into the Full <Virtual Environment> made some changes to the Templates in the Full <Virtual Environment>. I’m happy with the analysis. I now want to go back to the original model in SketchUp or Revit and want to change […]

Map CO2 Emissions

Posted : September 12, 2008 by Craig Wheatley

Hi there, The FT today posted a map of CO2 emissions on their website. It gives a geographical and US state-by-state snapshot of carbon dioxide emissions and a timeline of major events in climate change negotiations. Really interesting to look at the per capita figures, there are certainly some of us on this earth using […]

The 2030 Blueprint

Posted : September 5, 2008 by admin

I was reading today about the presentation that Ed Mazria gave at the National Clean Energy Summit last month, it was really great to hear him pushing how important reducing a buildings energy consumption is as part of the mix required to create carbon neutral buildings. “We tend to rush toward the complex when trying […]

Welcome to very exciting times here at IES. Our new link to Google SketchUp, we think, is a real game changer and means there’re no longer any barriers for considering energy performance and the Architecture 2030 Challenge right from the very earliest stages of design. However, you can read all about the benefits of the […]

To Blog or not to Blog?

Posted : August 22, 2008 by Don

Well the answer is To Blog and therefore welcome to the new IES Blog. I’ve been volunteered by our Marketing Team to write the first entry. No pressure then. So what can I write about that will wow you? Well, I don’t want to do that. This Blog will not be about marketing, but about […]

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