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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!

Lowdown Showdown 2016 Model

What do you get when you challenge nine interdisciplinary teams to design a net zero (or below) 50,000 ft2, 3-story Outpatient Health Care facility in Omaha, Nebraska? You get ASHRAE’s Lowdown Showdown, an energy modeling competition that showcases the talent and innovation of those in our industry using building performance analysis software.

Last year, Team IES won Best Energy Use Results and we were delighted that the winning streak continued after the team were awarded Best Workflow at SimBuild 2016 in Salt Lake City on August 11th.

This year’s IES team – going under the name Insane Energy Savers – consisted of the following members: Kent Beason, Joanne Choi, Cory Duggin, Alexandra Gramling, Ken Griffin, Amy Jarvis, Shona O’Dea, Igor Seryapin, Irina Susorova, Tristan Truyens, Brian Tysoe, Scott West and Xiangjin Yang.

A remote team meeting for the Insane Energy Savers

A remote team meeting for the Insane Energy Savers

Our Project
Our design started by modifying the massing and program to be as climate responsive as possible, while still maintaining the core mission of an outpatient surgery center.  Any non-critical spaces were migrated to the second and third floors where a common atrium was added in lieu of the circulation program areas.  Exam rooms and office spaces were placed along the perimeter to allow cross ventilation from them through the atrium.  Based on wind roses for the shoulder seasons, when natural ventilation is most viable, the building was rotated for the south façade to be in line with the predominant south eastern wind.

Stair stepping the south façade allows the building to self-shade for the entire cooling season and allows for passive heating in the winter as well as passive reheating of air-change dominated spaces on the first floor.  Since Omaha has a significant heating season, the R-value of the walls, roof and glazing were optimized to reduce heat loss.

The air change constraints in the first floor program caused us to consider it separately.  A separate dedicated outside air system (DOAS) is used for the critical spaces coupled with earth tubes to precool and preheat the required ventilation air.  The non-critical areas use another DOAS with a south facing vertically mounted transpired solar collector for preheating since the windows will be open for cross ventilation during much of the cooling season.  All spaces and both DOAS use a geothermal, water-cooled VRV system for their cooling and heating.

The tilted roof of the atrium was designed to hold photovoltaic panels with a 19.6% efficiency.  Wind turbines were also used to produce the remainder of the energy required to get net zero.

Take a look at the poster below for more info on the project’s energy saving strategies.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

An ‘Insane’ Effort
In my role as team mentor, it was awesome to see first-hand how our talented team used the Virtual Environment to complete this challenge. A lot of work was put in and it paid off when they picked up their award for Best Workflow.

It was a great effort by all involved – not just the insane ones – and it’s fantastic how each team came together to demonstrate how energy modeling tools can be used to make such a positive impact on our built environment. Bring on next year’s challenge!

Click here to see view the Insane Energy Savers’ Lowdown Showdown presentation slides.

new-york building

BIM experts around the world are gearing up for the latest event in the Build Earth Live series: Build New York Live! Following the success of events in Newcastle, London, Qatar and Sydney, the 48-hour virtual design competition, organised by cloud technology company, Asite, will kick off at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 21, 2015.

Through the power of collaborative working in the cloud and using a range of interoperable technologies, teams will demonstrate the benefits of an open BIM workflow in designing a multi-use development for an internationally known site.

The event’s headline sponsor, Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., have worked in close collaboration with IES over the years to provide access to high-quality building model and building site data exchange with energy analysis and modelling applications, using the IFC file format. The connection offers interoperability between Vectorworks Architect or Vectorworks Designer software and our own energy analysis suite of tools, and is just one example of the kind of technology that will prove invaluable to the teams competing in next month’s event. Find out more about the IES and Vectorworks IFC Connection here.

The team here at IES are no strangers to the competition itself and were honoured to receive the award for “Best use of BIM for technical assessment” as part of the BIM Unlimited team at Build Qatar Live 2012. You can read more about our experience here.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to compete, why not build your own team or join forces with an existing group for a chance to win a coveted Build Live award? Registration is open now.

TLC Energy Modeling Competition

Posted: December 19, 2012 by , Category:Modeling, software

During the summer you may have read the case study on our website that reported on TLC Engineering for Architecture and their commitment to selecting the Virtual Environment (VE) as their primary energy calculation tool, to utilize its advanced capabilities for HVAC loads and energy modeling, as well as helping their architectural clients with daylight analysis and modeling. The case study shows that with 300 employees and 11 offices, rolling out our software and educating their staff was not without its challenges, but a combination of face to face training and an internal user forum (initially monitored by IES) assisted the process.

I was curious to see the progress TLC were making with the VE since the case study was published, and that’s why I jumped at the opportunity when I was asked to be on the judging panel for an internal Energy Modeling competition that the company were running as part of their 1st Annual Green Week.

The competition was open to all VE users in the company and had two categories. The first was Best VE Project to Date, which required entrees to present their most interesting and significant project modeled in the VE to date. The 2nd competition was for Upgrade Design and Model, which challenged the company’s VE users to take a base building model, upgrade the design and present the results of their energy model. The winner for this category would be selected on the basis of greatest energy savings.

Each member presented their models for the competition in a live webinar on September 27th, with the winners being announced as Edward Gillet (Upgrade Design and Model) and Socorro Jarvisto (Best VE Project to Date). The video below is taken from the webinar which took place during the TLC Green week and features the competition’s two winning presentations.

So what did I think of the competition entries?

TLC’s commitment to sustainable design puts them in the highest echelon of integrated design firms in the US and I’m amazed with how quickly TLC Engineers have become VE-Pro experts.
The passionate leadership shown by the company is clearly complimented by the truly talented daylight, airflow and energy modeling capabilities their engineers express through VE-Pro.

For me, the ‘Best VE Model to Date’ project presentation highlights included the statements:
– “By modeling the solatubes, we achieved all 19 points available for LEED EAc1; Optimize Energy Performance.”
– “At an pEUI of 35 kBtu/sf/year; we realized our AIA 2030 commitment with a 60% energy saving.”
– “The resulting pEUI of the hospital was 108 kBtu/sf/year.”
– “I used the VE-Pro model to give the architect a small lesson in heat transfer”
The ‘Upgrade Design & Model’ Competition allowed some really innovative ECMs (Energy Conservation Measures) to be evaluated. The ECMs included double-skin façades, daylight harvesting, HE heat pumps, demand controlled ventilation and underfloor air distribution.

All in all I was hugely impressed with the modelling skills the team at TLC have shown and I’d like to thank them for letting me be a part of their Green Week celebrations. I can’t wait to see the future long list of net-zero buildings they will soon have on their resume.

Last month, to mark our return to the AIA Convention, we launched a competition to explore the architect’s role in building energy analysis. We put the following question to architects, engineers and sustainability consultants around the world — What do you view as the Architect’s role in Energy Analysis?

We received many interesting and thought provoking answers that had our judges deadlocked in deciding who would come away with the fantastic prize of a one year license for VE-Gaia, the VE-Navigator for LEED, as well as associated IESVE modules and training.

Our expert panel were pushed to pick a winning entry and we are delighted to announce that the winner is Susan Welker of Harris Welker Architects. Susan’s entry impressed us because it really got to the heart of what the architect must strive for when aspiring to create the most energy efficient building possible. Here is Susan’s winning entry…

As Architects of not just the built environment, but the planet, our role in energy analysis is threefold. We are the thought leaders in the early stages of design and set the form for the building’s needs for light, water, energy and natural resources. Architects analyze their initial energy analysis with engineering consultants to revise and maximize the buildings minimum energy usage. Finally and most importantly, Architects follow through with observations and field testing to achieve the minimum energy usage during the construction phase.

We also had other entries that are too good not to give an honourable mention to…

Ryan Arnold of MSI Engineers made an interesting point about the collaborative nature of energy analysis – Energy analysis has developed into a truly collaborative process, a process that’s success relies on it not being the claim of one profession, but as a shared responsibility to the whole project team. Thus, the role of an architect in energy analysis is the same as all involved parties- to constantly facilitate the collaboration and creativity needed to solve the complex energy issues we all face, together.

Kirsten Wood of Technical Commissioning Services excellently articulated what energy analysis should mean to the architect and humanity – Architects combine functionality with aesthetics to produce structures that are pleasing to the human senses and useful. Today, that usefulness is also defined by how structures consume energy. A structure that is wasteful will not serve humanity well. Therefore, the role of architects in energy analysis is to reflect deeply on the aspects of energy efficiency and incorporate those into the design.

We’d like to thank all of you who took the time to participate in our contest. Your answers provided a real insight in how the architect’s role in energy analysis is changing, and how our software is helping facilitate this change for the better.

And once again, a big congrats to our winner Susan!

Live from AIA 2012

Posted: May 18, 2012 by , Category:Architects, events

Notes from the show floor…

I’m back from dinner and a wonderful evening in Washington, DC, and I’m sitting down to take a look at my notes from the day.

What do I think of AIA so far? I’m happy to report that the show is fantastic! There was some great traffic in the 2100 row, and we had some great conversations at the booth today. The buzz in the air was refreshing. I think the architecture industry is going to see some big things in 2012.

The theme of the show — Design Connects — is certainly something we’ve been talking about for years at IES. Early stage analysis, including solar shading and the impact of daylight levels, for example, are an important part of the whole-building design process. The understanding of how climate and building design connect as part of the key to low-energy, sustainable design is an integral part of our software, and we are excited to share this with attendees this week.

I haven’t had much time to step away from the booth and walk the floor, but I hope to check out some of the other booths today. Maybe I’ll see you?

And we’re trying to Tweet throughout the day (when the Wi-Fi is cooperating), so follow us here – @IESVE.

There is also time to enter our AIA 2012 competition, to win a one year license for our architectural analysis tool, VE-Gaia, and the VE-Navigator for LEED, and associated IESVE modules. All you have to do is answer the following question in 100 words or less:

What do you view as the Architect’s role in Energy Analysis?

Entries can be made here. Good luck!

It’s already May! Can you believe it? May! And that means just one thing for me — AIA 2012 is right around the corner.

The IES Team will be manning booth 2121 this year — and I’m very excited for what we have in store. We’ll be showcasing some of the great new updates to our software. Architects, engineers and designers will get an in-depth look at the new ways to visualize solar shading, solar arc and solar analysis with VE-Gaia and VE-Pro.

As we prepare for this year’s show, I’ve been thinking about IES’ role in architecture and how it has adapted and changed based on the trends of the industry. Energy modeling has changed the way many architects think about sustainable design. The ability to test architectural hypotheses for energy efficiency before ever laying the first brick brings a lot to the table, and more and more architects are seeing the advantages of simulation as they tackle new projects. But, just as IES adapts to a changing industry, architects do as well.

So just what is the architect’s role in energy analysis in 2012? Well, that’s what we’d like to know from you! We’re running a competition at AIA this year, and the winner will receive a free one-year license for VE-Gaia, one of the most comprehensive architectural analysis tools available. In addition, the winner will get free access to the VE-Navigator for LEED, as well as associated training.

Want to win? Just answer the question.

What do you view as the Architect’s role in Energy Analysis?

You can enter your response

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online at http://www.iesve.com/AIA2012Comp. To see other entries and for updates on the competition, follow the official hashtag — #IESCompAIA —on Twitter.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at the show! Let the countdown begin…

If we’ve learned anything from recent headlines, it’s that energy efficiency and sustainable design companies have to spend big money if they hope to develop the next big green solution. With today’s rapidly advancing technologies, millions of dollars in government-backed loans and venture capital appear to be crucial. But is all of this really necessary?

One of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest endeavors, referenced in a recent International Business Times article, is taking a different approach. As part of its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Program, the EPA has awarded 45 grants of $15,000 each to colleges and universities across the United States. Students will use the money to design solutions for everything from water, energy and agriculture to the built environment and chemical use. The program’s overall goal is to “improve quality of life, promote economic development and protect the environment.”

What I find exciting about this particular EPA program is that it is set up as a competition, which is helping to spark innovation and excellence.

After working on the project for eight months, the teams will take their designs to the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. At the expo, the projects will be judged by a panel of experts and a select few will be awarded P3 Awards and Phase II grants up to $90,000 for students to further their designs, implement them in the field, or move them to the marketplace.

When it comes to new sustainable technologies and solutions, perhaps the companies developing them should prove themselves first. Competing for funding, just as participants of the P3 program are doing, will not only be conducive to better products and services, but also safer investments when it’s time for investors to take out their checkbooks.

Live from the show floor – Greenbuild 2011

Posted: October 6, 2011 by , Category:events

The theme of Greenbuild 2011 is ‘What’s Next?’ It couldn’t be more timely for our company.

What’s next for IES? Glad you asked. Our Founder and Managing Director Don McLean was talking at the booth all day yesterday about our vision — a better vision where IES can impact not only the architectural market, but a range of markets — from VCs to manufacturing, etc. This is certainly an exciting time for us.

As for the show itself, this is the first time USGBC has hosted Greenbuild outside the U.S. People here seem to think this represents a big move for the USGBC in terms of working with other countries toward a bigger green movement. And the one thing that everyone here is saying is “Wow, Toronto’s amazing!” The architecture here is pretty cool, a mix of modern and metropolitan. A lot of glass buildings — and in a city that gets such cold winters, energy performance is definitely a relevant topic and good market for Greenbuild.

The halls are split this year — and very far from one another! (My feet can vouch for that!) The North hall has been much busier than the South hall, but the energy in both halls has been high. The show is packed, and that’s exciting to see!

Traffic at the booth has been very busy. We’ve been doing trainings which have attracted some nice crowds. Nathan did a presentation with Peter Doo of Doo Consulting and Ron Moore from Perkowitz-Ruth Architects, where they talked about the Brickstainable Competition and talked about the winning design. (We’re so happy to be involved with Brickstainable — what a fun competition!) The winning design had a zero net energy goal, which is fantastic to see!

So far, so good here in Toronto! For another perspective, take a look at Daily Commercial News and Construction Record’s first-hand account of the show — ‘U.S. Canadian green building councils kick off Greenbuild conference in Toronto.

I’m headed to the booth (2325N), so stop by and say hi today! And follow us on Twitter for live updates throughout the day.

We Have a Winner!

Posted: November 19, 2010 by , Category:Environment, Sustainability

After weeks of anticipation and around 250 entries, we are happy to announce the winner of our Global VE-Gaia contest. The envelope please…

(Drum roll followed by dramatic pause)

And the winner is…Brian J Wolfe of HKS!

With the quality of entries extremely high, Brian managed to impress us with his

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answer detailing how he felt “VE-Gaia = Sustainable Projects.” Brian went on to explain the early sustainable analysis role VE-Gaia could play at HKS within its DesignGreen team, which he is part of. His detailed and lengthy answer showed he really understood how VE-Gaia could make a difference in his day-to-day work, and that he was ready to get going using its features on real-life projects as soon as he could. I’ve included some extracts from his entry below…

IES’s program VE-Gaia seems to meet the wish of seamless workflow by providing many features. One of the most beneficial features is the Energy/Carbon Simulation. In the discussions of what is important to reducing Green House Gas (GHG), some groups say that project teams should focus on reducing the energy demand. Others say it’s more important to focus on reducing the carbon footprint. The fact of the matter is that this is similar to, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”Â

“I believe that the IES feature Energy/Carbon Simulation would be of great benefit to design teams. By allowing teams to see how their design decisions can reduce the project’s carbon footprint, teams can better understand the project’s impact when compared to reduction of vehicle use, trees cut, etc. The reduction of the carbon footprint in turn translates to a more energy efficient building, hence energy efficiency.”

“By being able to determine the affects of the design decisions, teams will be able to proceed with confidence that the project is a quality project. For society to continue to enjoy the valuable resources nature offers and NOT compromise its future, project teams must develop sustainable projects. With so many different factors that contribute to providing a project that is sustainable, teams need assistance. Any program that allows the team to work seamlessly through design and sustainable analysis will not only provide that team a distinct advantage, but the team will have the satisfaction of knowing that it has done its part in seeing that the next generation’s future is not compromised.”

Brian has won a one-year stand-alone license for VE-Gaia, the company’s revolutionary architectural green building analysis tool. He will also receive a three-part training course for two people, with a certified IES consultant. The total grand prize is valued at $1,840 / £1,200.

Brian was officially announced the winner at our booth at Greenbuild in Chicago yesterday.

Many thanks to all who participated in our contest. The feedback you provided us is priceless. As always, we remain committed to improving our products every day to better serve you, and we also hope that you will continue to help us help you make our world greener, one project at a time.

Once again, thanks to all the contest participants and congratulations Brian!


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