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IES-Faculty-Review-of-current-Design-Guidance-

We were hugely encouraged by the attendance at last week’s Faculty and would like to thank everyone again for joining us and for your patience with the spatial availability! This Faculty is number 10 in our series and more popular than ever, surprising as we had been worried that the subject matter would perhaps fail to draw much interest. We were wrong!

In preparing the content the aim was to condense the vast amount of information into a digestible half day seminar. At the same time we aimed to identify opportunities for our customers in helping to address the requirements, add value. As a secondary objective we wanted to highlight efficiencies of using the Virtual Environment suite.

Naghman and I reviewed the literature including design guides, technical memoranda, applications manuals, regulatory and voluntary requirements for the 4 main building types selected – Educational, Commercial, Healthcare and Retail.

Not surprisingly the two main areas of literature pertain to Education and Healthcare and we noted a marked difference in the ‘structure’ of the information. Healthcare is organised with an overarching set of documents driving improvement forward whereas the schools information was a bit disjointed. Having said that the Education Funding Agency has provided an overarching set of requirements upon which funding depends. However, whilst the lighting design guidance relevant for all schools has been updated to reflect the EFA requirements, the ventilation, thermal comfort and IAQ has not.

As an addendum to this there is a working group, including IES, currently looking at updating Building Bulletin 101, the EFA requirements form part of this discussion. The timeframe is as yet undecided. If the EFA requirements are extended to all new schools and major refurbishment and adopted as standard this might help to drive improvement over time.

A common theme within the EFA requirements and the Healthcare standards is Performance In Use (PIU) – the move away from ticking Design Criteria boxes during design to closing the loop between design and operation. Something very close to our heart!

As always the Faculty provided a good opportunity for like-minded individuals to get together and share ideas, we have attempted to capture some of the discussion points below;

  • Politics get in the way of green/sustainability/energy conservation agenda, with the move away from the Green Deal and zero carbon targets for domestic dwellings. Incremental improvements in Building Regulations and the uncertainty this creates is an obstacle to innovation. If developers had longer term goals to achieve (e.g. zero carbon non-domestic target by 2019) they could build that into their investment portfolios and confidently innovate to deliver the targets over time. If they do not know which way things are going to go they are reluctant to invest in innovation which keeps the cost of innovation elevated.
  • Despite the move away from zero carbon in the UK there is a European Directive (Directive 2010/31/EU EPBD recast) for near zero energy public buildings from Jan 2019 onwards and that all new buildings are near zero-energy from January 2021. http://www.epbd-ca.eu/themes/nearly-zero-energy
  • Energy centres are commonplace in German cities which makes it easier for new developments to connect thereby taking advantage of the efficiencies these can offer. The London Plan is driving this and as a result we see more examples of district schemes – Kings Cross, Olympic Park and Crystal Palace amongst many others. This is the level of infrastructure and the sort of long term strategy required to really make a difference.
  • An audience member remarked that the design guidance for buildings is over complicated and how can we expect to measure this in reality once the building is occupied. Perhaps if we keep the requirements achievable and the metrics simple it would motivate building owners and their designers to consider the Performance In Use aspects more often. As it is it’s a costly and somewhat complex exercise.
  • Some of our audience claimed that they are being asked for TM54 assessments and Soft Landings on projects other than schools, which indicates perhaps an enlightened client.

We also had a few questions related to VE capability and application;

  • Q: Can the Priority Schools Building Programme Climate Based Daylight Modelling requirements be adequately demonstrated using Radiance despite the fact that blinds are not represented in Radiance?
  • A: Our view is that the correct approach is to assess the design first without blinds to get the baseline level of UDI performance. It is reasonable to assume that whenever the 3000 lux threshold is exceeded blinds or similar would be in operation to mitigate glare.Having said that we are looking to develop this capability and reduce the calculation time. We will also look into producing a Schools Navigator which pulls all of the different requirements into one place.
  • Q: Questions were raised about the implementation and applicability of ApHVAC.
  • A: We are seeing an increase in interest and use of ApHVAC in the UK, often in relation to TM54 and/or Soft Landings. My recommendation would be to have another look at the module. This auto size demo video from 2 years ago which suggests that robust sizing of plant can be carried out early in the design process. If you have questions or would like a demo please get in touch.

Due to the success of this Faculty we have decided to take the event to Glasgow on Tuesday 17th November so I look forward to seeing some of you there. You can get your free tickets here: http://ow.ly/TLsGC

Got a design guidance question you’d like to ask Sarah? Use the comments section below.

 

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.

Winning BIM at Build Qatar Live 2012

Posted: January 11, 2013 by , Category:BIM

Just as 2012 came to an end; another feather was being added to the IES cap. A group

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of us at the India office took part in Build Qatar Live as part of the BIM Unlimited team, winning the award for “Best use of BIM for technical assessment”.

Build Qatar Live is a “48-hour virtual competition in which participants use cloud-based technology and a variety of software platforms to design a multi-use development for an internationally known site”. The brief of the competition was

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to design the ‘Museum of Architecture’ for Doha. The key component of the brief was to build a ‘Zero Carbon’ built environment, in compliance with the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), LEED and QSAS.

The BIM Unlimited team was made up of members from the Dominican Republic (Architects), UK (BIM Management), France (Energy analysis), Brazil (HVAC/ MEP) and India (Energy analysis). We were one of 12 teams competing among participants from 41 countries. In our team, different software such as Vectorworks, DDS-CAD, ArchiWIZARD, CadFaster, SimTread and of course IES VE, were used as part of the challenge.

Adopting a true Open BIM workflow using the IFC file format, it was refreshing to see a range of different disciplines, from architects and structural engineers to energy analysis experts, collaborating to meet one common goal. Being presented with the award for “Best use of BIM for technical assessment” was great recognition for the collaboration that had taken place over the course of the 48 hours.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary collaboration in the BIM domain. Working successfully with the BIM Unlimited team reminded me of the basic ethos we have at IES – “One team culture” and “work smarter not harder” – and showed me how these principals can also help a team achieve a successful BIM project.

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.

I’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Glasgow, in bonnie Scotland – where it rained for an estimated 92% of the time! I’m happy to report that these damp days did not spoil my trip as I was in the city to finalise the deal that sees BVM Engineering become a new division of IES.

BVM Engineering, of whom I am the founder of, will now become the first base for IES in the southern states. We’re an experienced group of engineers and LEED APs that have accumulated many years of experience working on projects across the globe. Our skillset is one that will complement IES, and as highly experienced LEED consultants and LEED reviewers, we’d like to bring this practical experience to bear enhancing the current LEED capabilities of the <Virtual Environment> software.

Our expertise will also reinforce the work IES consultants currently undertake on behalf of their <Virtual Environment> software customers; supporting delivery of their client’s projects through a combined offering of consulting services, software support and training.

So what attracted us to join forces with IES? Well I have known IES CEO Don MacLean for over eight years now, and during that time our relationship has grown due to a shared

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passion for sustainable building design and a common vision for the essential role performance analysis plays in the process. I’ve also had eight years to get accustomed to the Scottish accent too… the food, however, is another story…

As you know, my sustainability practice has been rooted in building energy analysis (“modelling”) and I have been teaching for years that the way we analyse buildings, as a separate entity from the designer, has to change if we are to truly impact the sustainability of the built environment. The suite of analysis tools IES has and is developing, is intended to facilitate detail-appropriate analysis at all stages of design by the true ‘designers’ of the building. Hence, our move to join forces with IES!

As long term users of IES software we know a lot about the company and their culture, and it is one that we are all very excited about being part of. My new colleagues at the Glasgow HQ couldn’t have made me feel more welcome, and getting a chance to sit down with people across the company really opened my eyes at the exciting times ahead for IES in North America.

Well now that the boxes have been ticked and the deal has been done, it is time for the real work to begin. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress…

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…

Believe it or not, there was a time not too long ago when cranking the air conditioning all day was cheap. So cheap, in fact, that it was financially smarter to turn down the thermostat than to invest in green upgrades for a building. I must admit, when I think about this now I’m left scratching my head. It seems….ridiculous!

But, as an article on TreeHugger.com points out, before there was air conditioning, there was shade. And, just as it always had, it worked quite well for keeping people and buildings cool. With today’s soaring energy prices, high electricity demands and the desire for greener, smarter buildings, shade is back.

Brise soleil, or sunbreakers, used to be a popular and effective way of keeping cooler before air conditioning; Like awnings, they were another way of stopping the heat from the sun before it got inside. They could be carefully designed to permit the lower winter sun to enter, and the vertical fins controlled the late afternoon sun in summer.

Ok, but how effective are products like light shelves, solar canopies and awnings? The short answer is — very. CBT Architects used IES’ VE-Pro performance analysis software to run daylight modeling for a renovation and addition to Fitchburg State University’s Science Building in 2011. Models showed that using larger overhangs on the building’s exterior would reduce reliance on air conditioning. The result was a 21 percent decrease in cooling loads during warmer months. Find out more about this project here.

Ok, so these products are pretty effective if utilized correctly. But do they look good? The short answer is yes. An architect with an eye for design can really make a building envelope pop with the right products. TreeHugger agrees.

Really, if more architects would start thinking of these as architectural features as well as simply solar control, we might actually save energy and get more interesting architecture.

Between last year’s heat wave on the east coast of the United States and this year’s, it seems like crazy weather is becoming the norm. Turning on the news and hearing “record breaking temperatures” is become routine. This year we have had to endure triple digit heat in cities such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and St. Louis. All of this has caused injuries, deaths, wildfires and a strain on utilities.

A recent study conducted by the A NOAA/UK Met Office, doesn’t have great news. It stated that last year’s heat wave in Texas was 20 times more likely to occur now than in the 1960’s due to global warming. It seems like we need to get used to the idea that the heat is here to stay. This doesn’t just apply to the United States either; November’s unusually high temperatures in Britain were 62 times as likely. So what does this mean for us in the long run?

The answer is: we can’t be sure. A lot of the studies that have been written don’t have enough clear evidence to be fully accepted as fact among experts. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for the worse. A lot of the country is not as prepared as it should be for these occurrences. You can look at the blackouts as proof. Blackouts due to heat have occurred from United States all the way into The Great White North.

The solution to better handling these heat waves isn’t going to be taking a dip in a pool, going to the movies or sipping an icy drink. It’s going to involve changing the way we design and construct buildings and cities. To avoid blackouts and deal with extreme weather, buildings need to be as efficient as possible and that starts in the design process. By using modeling software we can design a building and know exactly how it will deal with the worst case scenario, whether it’s oppressive heat or violent winds. The building can also be designed in a way that it relies less on power consumption in order to maintain a comfortable environment for the people inside it. People can add all the power conserving and power efficiency technology they want to a building, but if you’ve built a building without testing the design you may be starting behind the eight ball. It’s important to know how extreme weather is going to stress buildings as well as people.

From the design of our buildings to educating people, we need to be ready for whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us. Is this extreme? Maybe. But we construct buildings to be around forever, not with the intent of ripping them down and starting over in a couple years. So we better design them right and know how they will handle all situations.

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