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LEEDing the way to NeoCon East 2012

Posted: October 17, 2012 by , Category:events, LEED

This week I’ve headed stateside for NeoCon East 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Kicking off today and taking place over two days, NeoCon is the premier design exposition and conference for commercial interiors on the East Coast. I’ve been invited to the conference to take part in a seminar (taking place on Thursday 1-2pm) with the USGBC to demonstrate the benefits of LEED Automation and how LEED Automation Partner software can streamline the LEED workflow.

At IES we’ve been designing & selling LEED Automation tools for almost 4 years. Our tools are specifically targeted to be used by architects and engineers throughout the entire building design process and are used to aide integrated design. It’s an approach that sits well with the LEED methodology. For the NeoCon seminar I will be presenting our three software tools that specifically help LEED accredited professionals: IES VE-Navigator for LEED, IES VE-Navigator for ASHRAE 90.1 and IES TaP for LEED (launching next month at Greenbuild). These tools provide three levels of benefits to the LEED professional:

– Credit assessments straight from your BIM model (no need to recreate geometry or data)
– Credit interpretation — the software interprets the results of the analysis and crucially the LEED methodology and provides output tailored for submission to LEED Online
– LEED Design Team management — streamlining time spent chasing and organizing your design teams responsibilities and submission material

The first tool IES is offering as a LEED Automation Partner is the IES VE-Navigator for LEED. This tool, targeted at both architects and engineers, at any stage in the design process enables the assessment of a number of common sustainable analysis topics — Daylighting, Thermal comfort, Water, Renewables and Sustainable Sites — and crucially interprets the results output from the analysis tool, and creating reportage suitable for use within LEED letter templates. The tool can be used for the following versions of LEED: LEED NC V2.2/V3, LEED SchoolsV1/V3 and LEED Core and Shell V2/V3 and can be used for Daylighting, Comfort, Water, Renewables and soon Sustainable Sites credits.

The second software tool that aligns with the LEED Automation partner program is the IES VE-Navigator for ASHRAE 90.1. This tool is an EPACT Approved (since 2009) LEED Energy modelling tool for Ea Credit 1. The functionality and approach of the ASHRAE 90.1 Navigator follows the same concept as the LEED Navigator, in that it simplifies and streamlines the use of analysis tools to create efficient ways of assessing the energy credit.

You may be already familiar with the tools above but the final part of my presentation will be taking a look at a new one; IES Tap for LEED. Following on from a successful BREEAM version of this tool, IES TaP for LEED is a Project Management tool. IES TaP allows you to streamline and keep control of the project team and the material required for a LEED submission. It allows you to access and track your LEED projects and evidence documents in one secure online location, increasing the efficiency across the project team and cutting down on time spent chasing people up! The benefits of this tool are numerous and include two way communication between IES TaP & LEED Online, IES TaP directly populates rating system documentation requirements from USGBC online credit library (so the IES TaP system is always up to date), Score Card Functionality to easily calculate your certification goal and current credit rating, and automatic email notifications to keep the team updated.

So that’s where we are as LEED Automation partners. A lot has been done to assist you with your LEED projects, with more in the pipeline. I look forward to seeing some of you in Baltimore tomorrow at 1:00-2:00pm, for what should be an interesting insight into LEED Automation.

Remember to stay tuned for the launch of IES TaP for LEED at GreenBuild.

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…

IES Presents at Denver Revit Users Group

Posted: January 17, 2012 by , Category:BIM, events

IES sat down with 16 architects, engineers and contractors at the Denver Revit Users Group last Thursday for a roundtable discussion. The result? Some great conversation about how best to utilize Building Information Modeling, a sustainable building analysis tool.

IES worked with Colorado-based Ambient Energy, a building performance and sustainable design consulting company, to showcase some of BIM’s more practical uses. The relatively new technology doesn’t just spit out data and geometric designs anymore. More and more often, we are seeing BIM taking on a different role. The spatial relationships and geographic information can help architects and engineers out in a big way; from daylight penetration to average temperature and wind direction, analysis software is an integral part of sustainable design.

An IES and Ambient Energy project at Colorado State University in 2011 proved the point. Faced with the challenge of designing a more efficient atrium for the school’s Engineering II building, Ambient Energy consultants used IES’ VE-Pro software to test and verify their various energy efficiency concepts. Daylight and mixed mode ventilation analyses run early in the schematic redesign process determined which window and ventilation solutions would work best with maximized use of natural daylight. The end result was a more efficient atrium with a much smaller carbon output. You can view the video case study for this project on the IESVE YouTube page.

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Training Road Show Recap

Posted: January 5, 2012 by , Category:Training

2011 was a busy year for IES! We made some upgrades to our award-winning software, consulted with a number of architects and engineers on some exciting projects, and we launched a series of training sessions and architectural seminars throughout North America. These Road Show events proved to be successful, and something we plan to continue in 2012. But for now, a recap…

Starting off in Chicago and Denver in August, our Road Show carried on to Portland, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Houston and other great cities across North America through the rest of the year. Our Road Show gave us a great opportunity to connect with both existing and new IES users face-to-face. We were able to show them capabilities of the software, including many of the new features launched this year, and answer any questions they might have about our suite of products. We were also able to establish relationships with various local groups, and we love all the contacts we’ve made throughout North American this year!

Our final training event of the year was in Washington, D.C. last week. There were a lot of new faces, and we had a very successful event. Thanks to our hosts at AECOM!

Also in D.C. last week was our final architectural seminar of the year. Approved by the AIA for Continuing Education System credits, our seminars offer hands-on training focusing on conceptual analysis in sustainable design. Participants who are AIA members receive 2.5 learning unit hours.

Thanks to everyone that joined us this year, and to all of our customers and partners who helped us out with venues and our presentations. We’re looking forward to meeting more of you in 2012 as we continue to hit the road. Next year, we’re heading to Omaha, Seattle, Kansas City, Nashville, St. Louis, Birmingham and more. Stay tuned for more details about when we’ll be in a city near you!

I’m at Autodesk University this week. What is Autodesk University? It’s an annual event that ‘provides Autodesk enthusiasts from around the world the opportunity to learn, network and celebrate the power of Autodesk technology and the international AU community.’ Probably one of my more favorite events each year…

On night one, the International Community Reception recognized the international presence of attendees and companies at AU this year. Quite the group of people, which was great to see!

At the IES booth, we are focusing on VE-Gaia for architects and PRM for engineers. Lots of great discussions so far. We are also spreading the working about our roadshow, which continues to get great response.

I pulled this from Jeffrey McGrew’s keynote presentation. I think it shows where the industry has been, and where we see if going in 2012. And it’s exciting!

Now I originally became an architect because I wanted to build great things. But I got stuck, pushing CAD lines around to draw yet another bathroom plan, or debating BIM standards endlessly, watching myself growing more and progressively bitter. We all went into this industry wanting to make stuff, just to come out not making much of anything. But then along comes digital fabrication. This powerful, affordable, disruptive technology. Suddenly we can all make stuff, all the stuff we’ve always wanted to make. And find lots of people to make it for.
{Courtesy of Core 77}

I’m heading to the exhibit hall now. And if you are reading this and you aren’t in Las Vegas, you can participate via your computer this year, thanks to a Facebook app.

October was a busy month for our North American training road show! Toronto, Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta, and Minneapolis! Over

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the course of the two-day programs, our IES experts have helped attendees across the country to learn first-hand how to use our sustainability solutions to design more energy-efficient buildings and achieve LEED credits.

Not familiar with our training programs? Starting back in August in Chicago and Denver, we set out on a Road Show across the United States and Canada to conduct two-day training events. Designed for engineers and sustainability consultants, our events aim to give attendees the opportunity to learn simulation techniques and methods to enable more sustainable design practices. The first day focuses on intermediate simulation analysis, followed by advanced and building integrated systems modeling on the second day. In your city, if you’re only available or interested in registering for one of the two training days, that’s not a problem since they can be taken together or separately.

So where are we headed next? After Thanksgiving, our Road Show wraps up the month in Orange County / Los Angeles on November 29th and 30th. On December 13th and 14th, our last two-day training program of 2011 will take place in the Washington D.C. area.

To register or learn more about when we’ll be in a city near you, contact erin.lofstrom@iesve.com and check out http://www.iesve.com/training/events.

We look forward to seeing you!

USGBC Green School Symposium recap

Posted: October 20, 2011 by , Category:BIM, events

Is the dream of BIM and energy modeling not being fully realized?

Last week, our BDM Nathan Kegel participated in the panel discussion “How to better BIM to Energy Modeling Transitions, Issues and Discussions” at the USGBC CT-B Green School Symposium — a regional event in Central Texas for educators, administrators, facility managers, architects and contractors.

Along with fellow panellists, Nathan presented architects and engineers currently using BIM and energy models with examples of energy modeling tools, pointing to some real-life projects as examples.

It was a great session, and one we hope to participate again in next year. The greening of our schools is certainly a topic that isn’t going away. And it’s not just architects and engineers talking about it. A recent poll revealed that one in three Americans think U.S. schools are in “poor shape,” and there is support for federal investment in “green” schools.

According to the press release issued by the USGBC, our schools are bleeding money, specifically when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings.

“Americans understand the importance of our nation’s school infrastructure and see the urgent need for significant investments,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. ―Too many of our schools are outdated, woefully energy inefficient, unhealthy and negatively affect our children’s ability to learn — and ultimately to compete in a global marketplace. In 2008 alone the U.S. deferred an estimated $254 billion in school facility maintenance and inadequate investment into maintaining our nation’s school infrastructure has led to a significant number of schools in need of major repair and replacement. That’s unacceptable.”

In closing, I thought I’d pose the question to those involved in schools and universities — how will you change the way we design, construct and operate our schools so that they are more energy efficient in the 21st century and beyond?

What's NEXT?

Posted: October 4, 2011 by , Category:events

This year's Greenbuild theme seems particularly appropriate to us. Since our formation in 1994, IES has always been involved in the 'What's NEXT'. Back then, we took academic performance analysis thinking and technology, and created the first commercially viable suite of performance analysis software. Our expert consultants also worked closely with early adopters on its implementation and incorporation into the design process; helping to establish the backbone of today's simulation market.

It was our involvement in these seminal projects which really set the stage for us, projects such as; Heathrow Terminal 5 right from the earliest concept stages, and BA “Waterside” Headquarters near London Heathrow. Since then IES has attained a unique position in the global marketplace delivering world-leading analysis expertise to help produce sustainable buildings.

For almost two decades, we have been pushing the ethos of integrated design and incorporation of performance analysis right from the earliest new-build and retrofit stages as the route to achieving truly sustainable, low-energy structures.

Now as the sustainability market is starting to catch up with this thinking, I'm seeing organisations beginning to understand the value and benefits of the IES approach. Consequently, we find our role changing. Increasingly organisations are coming to IES to help overcome technical or commercial barriers in getting their sustainability products and services to the market.

Consequently, we find ourselves today still working at the leading edge of building science, investigating how analysis plays a vital role in cutting through greenwash to deliver measurable sustainability. Whether that is designing or analysing a product range, regulatory system, building or entire communities/eco-cities.

IES has been approached in this capacity by Governments, ESCO's, Venture Capitalists, software companies, product manufactures (both building and clean energy), regulation setters, voluntary rating system developers, and those managing large property portfolios.

So what's NEXT? I certainly see this as the start of a new age in the role of analysis in a low-energy, zero-carbon built environment, as well as in the role of our company. At Greenbuild this year I'm spending a great deal of time discussing these developments and how I think analysis will develop and change the future face of sustainable cities and buildings.

Part of this is presenting at the GreenTech@Greenbuild event this Thursday 6th October. This is an exciting new event organised by the USGBC and Regenerative Networks which is designed to increase awareness and adoption of emerging disruptive technologies that provide exceptional solutions for the building industry.

Featured firms were selected for the significant advances they contribute to green building, so needless to say I was excited by the invitation. Watch this space for a recording of my presentation.

Or come along to our booth #2325N and say hello. I'm more than happy to discuss our innovation and expertise in creating cutting-edge building performance analysis tools, as well as the supply of related consulting and specialist services.

Plus, you can catch up with executives from Halcrow, Doo Consulting, Perkowitz + Ruth Architects, Building Momentum Group and Ambient Energy. Who will share first-hand insight on analysis and integrated design:
Wednesday, October 5

1:15 p.m. — “Analyzing Double Skin Façades for Different Global Climate Regions” (Halcrow)
2:15 p.m. — “Early Conceptual Analysis of the Brickstainable Winning Design” (Doo Consulting, Perkowitz + Ruth Architects)

Thursday, October 6
1.00 p.m. — “LEED Energy & HVAC Modeling of Roosevelt University Vertical Campus” (Building Momentum Group)
1.45 p.m. — “Optimizing an Atrium — Daylight and Mixed Mode Ventilation on Colorado State University Engineering II Building” (Ambient Energy)

Read more about our activities at the show here.


Last week our Software Development Director, Pete Thompson, returned from the 10th International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) Symposium. Pete, who is now a regular attendee of this yearly event, is the creator of Simulex, our tool which enables you to define a building and its occupants, and simulate how they move around a building day-to-day and evacuate during an emergency. The event was hosted by the Department of Fire Protection Engineering and took place in College Park, Maryland, USA.

With over 400 scientists and engineers attending the Symposium, it offers a great networking opportunity as IES continues to push into the North American market. While in the states Pete met with Don, our Managing Director, who is in the middle of a 4 country, 9 city, 32 day, 18 flight N.American & Asia trip. That’s a lot of timezones!

While at the event Pete was asked to co-chair a workshop examining how science and computing power feed into the process of modern building design and approval. The aim of the session was to “facilitate discussions between experimentalists (advancing the basic science & data), developers, users, and regulators to increase the information flow between the disciplines and attempt to focus minds on common areas of concern and benefit”. The workshop, entitled “Fire & Escape Modeling — from bits and bytes to safe buildings”, is available in the PowerPoint slides below, and they also contain links to the other discussions which took place during this block of sessions.

Last week, we

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were invited to present at the Seattle Energy & Design Roundtable (SEDR) meeting. SEDR is a Seattle-based group of architects, engineers and other design professionals interested in energy efficient design and renewable energy in buildings. The group hosts monthly presentations that address energy and design related topics, including software tools, design methods and case studies.

Last week’s session was entitled, “Using IES Energy Modeling to meet the 2030 Challenge.” I was able to present an overview of the VE from VE-Ware all the way through VE-Pro, showing a project in the early phase design all the way through project completion and submittal to rating authorities.

But the best part of the presentation was when Dan Munn and Matt Glassman of DLR Group presented their first-hand experiences using VE-Gaia. DLR Group uses IES software for early phase design to help architects reach their Architecture 2030 goals. Dan and Matt were able to share how the team at DLR Group is able to do 7-hour energy modelling at early stages, using tools like the VE to educate architects on how to do it.

It’s certainly the highlight of my day when I can see the fruits of our labor at IES come to life on screen.

The event was a great opportunity for attendees to see real results of how our software has been implemented by users, and to ask questions in real-time. We also have a video of the presentation that we will post on the IESVE YouTube channel soon.

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