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Posts Tagged Building Physics


Photo Credit: Onix Building, Lille – Architect: Dominique Perrault

Over the past two years IES has collaborated with Somfy and Philips Lighting to analyse their shade & light combined solution “Light Balancing System” and its potential impact on energy savings. Most recently IES analysed the potential energy savings of a pilot project, the Onix office building in Lille. In this blog post, we invited Christelle Granier from Somfy to tell us a bit more about the collaboration, why they chose to work with IES and the importance of manufacturing companies integrating with the world of Building Physics and Building Performance Analytics…

We (Somfy and Philips) wanted to find a way to provide building design professionals with an effective and worthwhile product that would fit in with a holistic design process and help them to design both comfortable and energy efficient buildings. To do this we needed to validate the impact that the Light balancing system had on energy consumption.

To us, IES was the best choice because it is well known for its advanced dynamic simulation tools with the capabilities to conduct the most accurate analysis. After working closely with its Business Development Consultant, Luc Delestrade for over a year, he taught us a great deal which changed the way in which we demonstrated our solution.

More and more building regulations are being implemented worldwide and current ones are becoming much more stringent. We knew that in order to help industry professionals comply with these regulations we had to validate the Light Balancing System and prove its effect on a buildings energy consumption. In our pilot study, the Onix Building in Lille we proved that the System could reduce energy consumption by 29% in one year.

We understand that Building Physics and performance analytics is key to validating manufacturers building products.  Collaborations such as this one are extremely important for the future of sustainable building design. IES was vital in helping us prove our work. Automated shading should be part of the lifecycle management of the building. Working with IES helped us to democratise this product and make it more accessible to more building professionals.

The collaboration was a deep learning experience on both sides. We now have a much better understanding of where the Light Balancing system fits in the building lifecycle analysis process and how it effects occupant comfort and energy efficiency. The product should be analysed as part of a holistic model looking at HVAC, lighting and façade which includes automated blinds.

I’d like to extend a big thanks toIES, our collaboration helped to leverage our knowledge and understanding of building physics and performance analytics. I look forward to a future that holds further industry collaborations that help validate manufacturer products and their potential energy savings through building performance analysis.

rsz_futuristic_architecture_reflectionTechnology within the construction industry and within our lives generally is developing rapidly.

Forget BIM Level 2, Digital Built Britain looks forward to a time, within the next decade, when BIM will encompass the Internet Of Things, advanced data analytics and the digital economy with the aim of planning new buildings and infrastructure more effectively, building at lower cost and operating and maintaining properties more efficiently and thus enabling citizens to make better use of the digital built environment.

The challenges we now face in trying to get design technologies to talk to one another will disappear as the demand for better, smart, safer construction techniques and smart buildings grows.

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.

Improvements in sustainability are reputed and expected to be a key outcome from deploying BIM, but is that the case?

Percentage of contractors that are conducting BIM activities for sustainability (by country)

Percentage of contractors that are conducting BIM activities for sustainability (by country)

A 2014 SmartMarket Report from McGraw Hill “The Business Value of BIM for Construction in Global Markets” identifies tools for analysis and simulation as helping design professionals generate higher performing design solutions, and enabling contractors to leverage models in a variety of ways to improve the quality and reduce the environmental impact of their work. In addition, an emerging area of BIM activity relates to owners using models to improve building performance by optimizing facilities management.

Building physics is an incredibly important discipline in such building performance modelling, and therefore the design and operation of all sustainable buildings. At IES, we feel that having a basic understanding of the principles and theory behind this discipline is essential for anyone who is part of a design team, client team, or operations team.

By understanding the natural laws of physics, building professionals can develop and operate buildings that consume less energy and function more effectively. Good design relies heavily on the application of physics principles to the built environment. It’s also behind many of the energy performance metrics now mandated within UK Part L Compliance, and BREEAM energy credits. BIM integrated thermal simulation software, such as our VE suite, is a key technology enabler in this area.

We believe that all professionals involved in building design, construction, operation and retrofit should have a basic foundation in key building physics principles and their practical application. It enables fundamental understanding which leads to know how across the areas of climate, fabric and HVAC to aid in more collaborative interaction with building physics experts. Particularly relevant as BIM level 2 and above starts to promote more integrated and collaborative workflows.

I’ll leave you with this thought – how will understanding how these key areas of climate, building fabric, and HVAC affect building energy performance, how they are interrelated, and how you can use this knowledge to optimise the building and reduce energy requirements help you?

Find out More…

Open to all, we’re hosting a joint Introduction to Building Physics training course with the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) in Glasgow on 29th March, 2016. Sign up here.

Plus, we’re also taking part in a unique series of Future Thinking seminars around the UK during 24th February – 24th March 2016, primarily aimed at consultants and specifiers, called Mind the Performance Gap. Energy performance of buildings can be up to five times higher than predicted during design. This seminar series features speakers from the Carbon Trust, Daikin and ourselves. Seminars are hosted from 6pm – 9.30pm, including buffet, drinks and networking at the following locations– Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, London, Cardiff, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham, and Nottingham. Sign Up here.

And finally, if you want more detailed information on how you can practically integrate performance Analysis into a BIM level 2 process watch the video of Jean Carriere of Trailloop as he presents at our recent BIM4Analysis webinar on BIM interoperability for energy modelling. Technology is only one aspect of a BIM enabled approach, a strong process is what drives everything.


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