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Between 7th-9th August, more than 770 Building Simulationists attended the bi-annual Building Simulation Conference in San Francisco and – for once – I did not have to fly to a conference! This is IBPSA’s big international conference and there was LOTS happening. However, for the purposes of this round up, I’ve decided to highlight five significant points of interest from the event.

1. IBPSA-Fellow
Our CTO, Dr. Craig Wheatley was awarded with the ‘IBPSA-Fellow’ award for his substantial contribution to the field of building performance & simulation. He was presented the award by the IBPSA President, Chip Barnaby. Congrats to Craig!


2. IES User-Group Meeting

This is the second time we hosted a user-group meeting in the US, and this one was a great success. We had 66 people register from 36 different companies. We previewed some new features coming in VE-2018 and the users voted on what they deemed to be priority items. Thanks to everyone who came.


3. The IBPSA Practitioner Competition

This competition is something that the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of IBPSA organized to run in parallel with the traditional student competition. There were initially over 40 registered practitioner teams trying to win a $1,500 cash prize for this modeling competition. In the end, 12 teams qualified to the final report stage and ultimately team AECOM won the first prize. I welcome you all to review AECOM’s final modeling report. Some images below as a teaser.


4. IES Training Workshop

We were delighted to see that our training course was the most popular at the conference. Thanks to PG&E for hosting at the PEC.


5. Papers, Presentations & Posters

I could write a separate article on this alone. The best presentations I personally saw included features of IESVE being pushed to the limit. Examples include modeling glycol in ApacheHVAC, modeling dynamic electrochromic glazing accounting for variable VLTs, the use of Hone for multi-objective outcomes and a very impressive VE model that simultaneously passed for Part L/ASHRAE 90.1/BREEAM/LEED compliance. We don’t see that too often.

I also enjoyed participating in the joint panel of software tools, giving presentations along with EnergyPlus, Simergy, Trace 3D+, Sefaira and DesignBuilder. Of the technical papers, I enjoyed the surveyed results that showed a healthy adoption of the VE in various internationally academic institutions (UK, US, Australia & India).

SBCImage1IES has been chosen as one of the 5 finalists for this years’ Ecobuild and M&S Big Innovation Pitch. At 5pm on Tuesday 7 March IES Founder and Managing Director, Dr Don McLean, will take to the stage in Ecobuilds’ main conference theatre to pitch the IES Simulation Based Control tool to the judging panel.

The winner, which will be announced on the night, will have the opportunity to become an M&S supplier. IES will be up against Arup and Airedale, Organic Response, Protomax Plastics and CBES with their respective innovations.

What is the IES Simulation Based Control tool?
Currently a prototype in several buildings, the IES Simulation Based Control tool helps provide optimal operational performance though a calibrated building simulation model. Uniquely operating every few minutes the model can assure optimal performance to suit the building owners’ objectives e.g. low-energy, low-carbon, reduced running costs. It achieves this by combining simulation modelling with real-time building and weather data to provide advanced, cloud-based performance prediction and optimisation. The calibrated operational model can also be used to deliver:

– Full Real and Virtualised Building Performance Data-sets
– More accurate Energy Conversation Measures scenario analyses (what ifs)
– Fault Detection
– Continuous retro-fit Analysis
– Monitoring and Verification
– Meaningful KPIs & Optimisation

5519-Ecobuild-2017-BIP-Finalist-logo1

For more information on the competition read Ecobuild and M&S Announce Big Innovation Pitch Finalists 2017

CIBSE BSG Award to be Announced This Week

Posted: February 7, 2017 by , Category:Academic

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Once again, IES is proud to be sponsoring the CIBSE Building Simulation Group Award, an annual competition open to postgraduate students from the UK and overseas for the best research project undertaken at Master’s level or equivalent to incorporate the application of building simulation tools.

The Awards will be announced at the CIBSE Building Simulation Group’s next event which is due to take place in London tomorrow evening (Wednesday 8th February). The fully booked event will comprise of a seminar on the topic of ‘Overheating risk assessment simulation and methodologies for buildings’, during which the winners will also be presented their awards by IES’ own Naghman Khan, Secretary of the CIBSE Building Simulation Group.

The winning thesis will be awarded a £1,000 cash prize, a full VE-Pro software licence for one year and a place on one of our 3-day public training events. Two runners up will receive a £250 cash prize, also sponsored by IES.

Watch out for details of this year’s winning submissions appearing on the CIBSE Building Simulation Group Award page after tomorrow’s event, where you can also read more about previous winners of this prestigious student award. Any students interested in entering next year’s awards should also watch out for details of the next challenge being posted on the CIBSE BSG Award page in due course.

Energy-Model

With a new year upon us, exciting times are ahead as we announce that IES will be sponsoring the Practitioner Modeling Competition which is being organized by the IBPSA-USA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter as part of Building Simulation 2017! The challenge, which is open to individual practitioners or teams, provides a competitive forum for non-student members of the building simulation community and aims to encourage wider participation in the conference.

This year’s competition requires entrants to use computer simulation to design and test a laboratory building with mixed uses including labs, offices and classroom spaces located in downtown San Francisco, CA, USA. You can download the competition brief here to find out more.

Not only will the winning entrant have the opportunity to showcase their submission at the Building Simulation conference, due to take place in San Francisco between 7-9 August 2017, we are pleased to confirm that the winning entry will also receive a cash prize of USD $1,500, courtesy of IES!

If you feel like giving it a go, interested candidates are invited to register before the deadline on 6th February 2017, with completed entries then due by 31st March 2017.

So, good luck to all you prospective entrants – we look forward to seeing the winning entry at BS2017 in August!

Lindsey WELL BlogFor this blog Lindsey Malcolm of XCO2 discusses considerations of building services engineers and the potential role of simulation in catering for health and wellbeing in the building industry.

Health and Wellbeing. A phrase conventionally connoting to rhyming proverbs about the doctor-dodging power of a daily apple. Yet the proverbial days of the catchphrase are seemingly behind us, as ‘Health and Wellbeing’ is escalating into the latest buzzword within the building industry.

Our clients are demonstrating a growing demand for office spaces, retail areas and homes that enhance human health, productivity, and quality of environment. A business case for investment in health has driven interest in the commercial sector, and attention to this new industry buzzword in the retail and residential sector signifies this isn’t a short-term fad.

The vision of Health and Wellbeing is the long-term facilitation of productive and comfortable environments for the building occupant. Well-designed and operated environments should inspire conscious and subconscious positive lifestyle choices, resulting in healthier, more productive building users.

Considerations for design and beyond

Human health and wellbeing can obviously be impacted by an infinite number of factors; however, it is easier to consider if we chop this abstract concept into tangible and quantifiable chunks. Several core categories have been identified within the industry covering a broad spectrum of health and wellness drivers and indicators. These range from environmental (air quality, water quality, lighting) to behavioural (nourishment, fitness and lifestyle choices, working patterns and stress management).

As building designers, it is obviously outside our area of potential provision to shape to dietary and fitness of our building’s user. But implementing health and wellbeing into buildings is a holistic concept, and will have tangible effects on areas within our scope (see Figure 1).

The adjustment for engineers to consider is:

As building designers, it is obviously outside our area of potential provision to shape to dietary and fitness of our building’s user. But implementing health and wellbeing into buildings is a holistic concept, and will have tangible effects on areas within our scope (see Figure 1).

The adjustment for engineers to consider is: shifting our focus from the working of the building to the living of its user.

This shouldn’t be viewed as a trade-off against conventional design considerations such as energy efficiency or carbon emissions – our aim should be to adapt our existing solutions to improve our output for the people who will inhabit the building. This may involve throwing rules of thumb out of the window, or being guided by a forthcoming set of industry benchmarks – only time will tell. But for now, what we do know is that demand for healthier buildings is increasing, and we must respond accordingly to these requirements from our clients.

The Role of Simulation

Modelling and simulation support building design. Therefore, in order to improve our building design with occupants in mind, there is clearly opportunity to integrate cutting-edge areas of building simulation technologies.

Areas that could benefit from a simulation-based predictive approach could include:

  • Utilising CFD to assess indoor air quality;
  • Performing discretised zonal analysis of thermal comfort for individual occupants;
  • Performance and feasibility of different ventilation strategies;
  • Moisture and condensation management;
  • Reverberation and acoustic impacts;
  • Measuring and design ambient and circadian lighting.

An exciting assortment of modelling prospects; however, it is important for us to remember that modelling and simulation should support building design, rather than instructing. Particularly for health and wellbeing, where the benefits of a well-designed healthy building can be negated by poor operational use and user behaviours, the simulation of predictive conditions is less significant for design than other areas of the building industry.

And on a practical note, the feasibility of modelling so many different elements of building services is questionable – in terms of both metric limitations and issues on cost and resource effectiveness. Could an industry-wide interest in healthier buildings facilitate interest in the development of new metrics, as a way of regulating a better standard of living? Possibly so. Yet until that day comes, let us remember that simulation used for health and wellbeing should be taken with a pinch of salt – not too much salt, mind.

A healthy future for the industry

Simulation is a fantastic instrument to demonstrate the tangible benefits of health and wellbeing application. But let’s not forget the ultimate goal of the health and wellbeing – whether it be assessed through WELL or loosely ingrained concepts – is to facilitate a productive and comfortable built environment. Simulation can certainly be used to deliver this, but it cannot be considered a one-stop exercise. It must remain a tool to support operational-focused design and help to enforce the positive behavioural changes we are designing into our buildings.

As the health endemic continues to infect the building industry, a new ‘normal’ standard of building will emerge, requiring innovation and flexibility from all parties involved in the creative process to work with new concepts and metrics. As engineers and simulation specialists we can emphasise a greater focus on occupants, ensuring the holistic approach to health and wellbeing required to make a tangible difference to quality of life.

And as our building designs advance in the enablement of healthy living, our old proverb may just need a re-write. Forget the apples, dodge the doctor; it’s the engineers keeping illness at bay.

CIBSE-award-2015 (2)

Here at IES we recognise the importance of supporting young talent within the industry. We are therefore delighted to be sponsoring a prize for the CIBSE Building Simulation Group Student Award 2015.

The annual competition, which has been running since 2012, is open to postgraduate students from the UK and overseas. Entrants must undertake a research project at Master’s level or equivalent in which the application of building simulation tools are a major element.

This year’s award focuses on projects which involve the application and development of advanced simulation techniques and/or software for predicting the performance of buildings and environmental control systems. The winner will receive £1,000, a 12-month unlimited laptop licence for the IES VE software suite and a place at one of our 3-day public training courses. All together this is a prize worth over £7,000! Two runners-up will also receive a £250 prize.

When it comes to our Virtual Environment software, we encourage all students to take advantage of our student licence offer which is available year round. Priced at just £50 (no more than you’d pay for most course books!), a student licence will provide access to all VE modules for a year.

In our quest to support the designers and engineers of the future we also offer heavily discounted licence rates to academic institutions for teaching purposes. As a result, the VE has now been adopted as one of the preferred performance analysis software tools by a number of universities and colleges worldwide, a recent example being the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State University who intend to focus on the VE as one of two energy analysis software tools they will use exclusively in their curriculum. Click here to find out more about our student and academic offers.

If you would like to be considered for this year’s CIBSE BSG Award, expressions of interest must be submitted no later than Monday 31st August. Prospective candidates can download the full entry criteria and timescales here.

We can’t wait to see the winning submissions! In the meantime, read about last year’s winner here.

building-tuning
Building tuning has long been recognised as a critical method for improving the performance of existing buildings. However estimating the potential benefits of HVAC control adjustments can be difficult if you don’t have the right building simulation technology.

A paper written by Dr Paul Bannister and Hongsen Zhang of Energy Action Pty Ltd (incorporating Energy Australia Pty Ltd), was recently published in Ecolibrium, the official journal of AIRAH. The paper named ‘What simulation can tell us about building tuning’ investigates how by using the IESVE, it is possible to test a number of common tuning strategies to determine their effectiveness in achieving energy savings.

Using an IES Simulation Model, the impacts of a number of common control algorithm adjustments were assessed, including dead-band adjustments for VAV terminals, fan control and supply-air temperature control, economy cycle and minimum outside air control. Results are repeated for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Darwin to show the way energy impacts change with climate.

The Base case is a typical Australian commercial building with a conventional well-designed VAV HVAC system. The VAV configuration represents the most common building servicing type for medium to large buildings in Australia.

Combined scenarios with common failures or improvements are used to show that the difference between best practice and poor control can range as high as 90 percent, demonstrating the fundamental importance of control. Sensitivity to control is considerably greater in milder climates.

Click here to read the full paper.

Closing the Performance Gap

Posted: September 17, 2014 by , Category:Energy Performance, events

performance-Gap-blog-image
There has been a growing awareness for some time that many ‘low energy buildings’ use more energy than the designers thought they would. As energy costs have risen, this awareness has started to spread to building owners, who hear much about low energy buildings and subscribe to programmes that rate the design of the building, only to find that their ‘low energy design’ turns out to have a typical energy bill. The performance of low energy designs is often little better than that of an older building they have replaced, or supplemented.

There is a mismatch between the expectations around the performance of new buildings and the reality of the utility bills. This difference between expected and realised energy performance has come to be known as the ‘performance gap’. CIBSE TM:54

Join the IES Team in London on Wednesday 24th September (4pm – 6pm), for the return of the next instalment of our popular interactive Faculty series, where we explore the Performance Gap phenomenon in detail. We’ll discuss what we can do to improve the accuracy of our design modelling, with an insight into the newly released CIBSE TM:54. Following on we’ll discuss the advantages of Soft Landings and what recent advances in Building Simulation can allow you to use real building data to improve the Design Process of new buildings.

Can’t make the seminar in person? Don’t worry, we’ll be providing live updates throughout the event on our live twitter feed, using the #PerformanceGap hashtag. Not only can you follow our World Green Building Week event live but you can also play your part in the discussion taking place, by filling out this quick survey below and by putting your questions and issues to our team using the #PerformanceGap hashtag or the comments section of this blog post.

The Faculty seminars are a place for interaction among the industry and the more feedback that is provided, the better we can start to address the issues we are all facing. It’s time for us to close the #PerformanceGap.

Written by Ruth Kerrigan, our Associate Director of R & D, the following blog post was first published by Building 4 Change. Ruth uses the article to explain that the industry must use virtual testing and performance analysis to cut through greenwash to create truly integrated sustainable eco-cities…

The blame for a major proportion of pollution and waste in our society can justly be laid at the door of cities. However, high density populations also means that energy, water and other services can be provided more efficiently, while minimising the infrastructure associated with modern living.

The design of ‘eco-cities’ – those with sustainable smart buildings that integrate with each other and the grid itself to conserve resources – is becoming increasingly important.  The world’s population is projected to keep rising for at least the next century, and by 2050, 70 percent of people will live in cities, so addressing efficiency is essential. Controlling our use of energy, water and other resources will no longer be an option, but a necessity.

The IES research and development concept is based on smart eco-cities which use information and communication technology (ICT) to incorporate real-time dynamic control. Performance analysis and predictive interrogation of data will play a key part in this.

Emerging vision
IES Smart CIty ImageOur emerging concept is for each building to be designed or refurbished using state-of-the-art 3D simulation to quantify, optimise and verify its performance. The building simulation model would then be used to commission and subsequently control it. However, a true eco-city would require more than independently efficient buildings. It would need a master system that could optimise city-wide energy and water consumption in co-ordination with the relevant utilities.

IES invests over a quarter of its turnover in research and development, and is actively involved in a number of Scottish, UK and European funded projects across all areas of such an eco-city lifecycle. We are also actively involved in key sustainable building/community test sites considered to be at the forefront of global research.

Across these projects we are both providing the underlying technology and acting as a hub to connect many different organisations and stakeholders in the eco-city lifecycle. Our concept maps the entire process, from masterplanning through to simulation-based control of eco-communities and links with smart grids.

We played a part in the £24 million Future City Demonstrator grant recently won by Glasgow – which saw off competition from London, Peterborough, Bristol and 30 other UK cities. IES contributed on the use of a communications hub to inform buildings how to improve energy efficiency.

The company is in negotiation for a number of larger projects due to start in later 2013 and is involved in the following smart city related R&D projects.

  • People Friendly Cities in A Data Rich World – EU COST Action
  • Interactive Decision Support Platform for the Creation of the Eco-City through the Integration of Sustainable Urban Metrics and a Common City Index (CitySUMS) – SMART: Scotland
  • Indicator-based Interactive Decision Support and Information Exchange

INDICATE ImagePlatform for Smart Cities (INDICATE) – EU FP7

  • Intelligent Urban Energy Tool (iUrban) – EU FP7
  • Friendly and Affordable Sustainable Urban Districts Retrofitting (FASUDIR) – EU FP7


Overcoming barriers

A major challenge is the discontinuity between actual utilities consumption and design/simulated data. Buildings rarely perform as predicted, and building energy management systems (BEMS) only monitor and report in a descriptive, ad-hoc way. Vast amounts of data are collected but not fully utilised to inform decisions. These conventional management methods are laborious and make it difficult to maintain optimal control. Post-design, BEMS monitor only the individual building and rely on facility managers to interpret the data and act accordingly. This creates a lot of data but doesn’t produce viable smart buildings.

Until now, technology didn’t exist to simulate and test optimisation hypotheses based on real operational data. There was a reliance on design simulation technology that could point out flaws and optimise performance virtually before the building was constructed, and BEMS systems which monitor usage after the fact. However, new software and computer modelling capabilities has made creating smarter, more efficient buildings easier than it has ever been. IES believes that performance analysis can truly drive eco-communities, districts and cities.

Building design using 3D models is already the norm and it can deliver a model suitable for operational activities.  Connecting the dots by incorporating real operational data into the model is the next step, and one that we have already successfully taken, through our Scottish Enterprise funded VE-SCAN research project and resulting product.

The application of 3D building performance simulation on new-build, refurbishment and operation optimisation projects facilitates a greatly improved integrated and sustainable design process. It paves the way for smart interaction between buildings in a community or city to optimise efficiency at the next level.

Through virtual testing and performance analysis the industry is able to cut through greenwash and deliver measurable results. These are what will drive eco-cities.

 

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