In this edition of our Q & AEC blog we will be responding to a question that has popped up quite a few times across our forums and social media pages…
“Does the LEED review panel accept IES-VE as an energy simulation engine? Has it passed the required ASHRAE 140 tests? And has the IES software been used for LEED accreditation of a project?”
Simply put, the answer to the questions above is a resounding yes. So let’s take a look at each question in more depth and shed some light on this area as we do so.
Ok firstly it is important to point out that the USGBC do not actually approve or certify software for LEED energy modelling. Instead, LEED depends upon previously established guidelines published by the energy modelling community, in this case the ASHRAE standard 90.1 and associated Appendix G Building Performance rating (PRM). These requirements provide two things for the building owner/developer and design team:
1. Ensures that software used to simulate buildings, in accordance with a set of general software requirements for thermal and energy modelling, includes a sufficient level of detail in terms of hourly dynamic thermal and energy simulation and is of appropriate quality and accuracy for the purposes of the PRM.
The VE has been tested in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 140 and meets or exceeds all requirements of this test. Plus it meets all general requirements of the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 PRM. Click here to download the results of the ASHRAE 140 test. You can also review our EPAct Qualification documents, which provide supplementary details on how we meet these requirements.
2. Facilitates HVAC systems design, control, and performance in accordance with ASHRAE standards and best practices, through a set of mandatory system design and modelling requirements provided by the ASHRAE standard 90.1 and associated Appendix G PRM.
The ApacheHVAC interface provides a stable, dynamic, and robust platform upon which nearly any HVAC system can be designed and modelled, including conventional VAV systems with state-of-the-art airside controls, highly tailored system controls and configurations, waterside free cooling, indirect-direct evaporative systems, desiccant wheels, hybrid hydronic/air systems, radiant chilled/heated floors and ceilings, displacement ventilation, underfloor air distribution, vented stack-effect double-skin facades, earth tubes, and mixed-mode systems that use integrated mechanical and natural ventilation.
In addition to the requirements of 90.1 and 140, Version 6.3 of the VE takes a new approach to assist with LEED Energy Modelling. We have introduced the ASHRAE 90.1 VE-Navigator and enhancements to ApacheHVAC that speed up the process of producing large HVAC networks. This latest version is available to download from our website.
Now let’s take a look at who has used our software to submit reports that have been accepted by the LEED review team. The project that catches the eye would have to be the Syracuse Centre of Excellence in Washington. The SyracuseCoE is a pioneering high-performance green building. It was opened in March 2010 and achieved a Platinum rating under the LEED program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. This highly impressive rating was achieved by Ashley McGraw Architects with the application of theÂ <VE>Â and is a project that is at the forefront of green building. They even had some nice things to say about us too — “I would definitely recommend IES to any firm that is interested in designing high performance buildings. IES is a comprehensive, fast, user-friendly package compared to the vast amount of convoluted software available”.
Another project that used our software to acquire LEED accreditation of a building development was the Peterson Elementary School, Oregon. The DLR Group applied the IES-VE as their analysis engine for this 60,000 SF elementary school and achieved LEED Silver certification. You can find some more excellent photos of the school here.
Ok so some of this may have been bordering on blowing our own trumpet but I hope we have given you assurance that our software is being used on LEED projects, in the process of such questionable behaviour!
Remember, to have your question featured in our Questions & AEC series, just get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.