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IES TaP for LEED launched at Greenbuild

Posted: December 13, 2012 by , Category:IES TaP, LEED

The dust has just about settled after another hectic Greenbuild. If you were there in person or following online, it’s clear to see that this is the biggest and most anticipated green building conference of the year for a reason — it creates an energy and atmosphere that brings out the best in our industry.

If you were following our countdown to Greenbuild on twitter you’ll know we had a lot planned across the 3 day conference in San Francisco — presentations, workshops and manning our booth were just the tip of the iceberg! The most exciting part of our time at the show for our team was the launch of IES TaP for LEED 2009, taking us a step closer to automating as much of the LEED process as we can. There’s always a buzz in the company when we launch a new product and having the opportunity to present it exclusively to attendees at Greenbuild added to it.

IES TaP, our collaboration portal for managing Green Building Ratings Online, has been further developed to support LEED 2009. IES TaP for LEED enables project administrators to manage and track the process of gathering all submittal documentation from Charrette to Certification — allowing responsibility to be allocated to the project team for each individual documentation requirement. With seamless integration into LEED Online, LEED Online Forms, and the USGBC Online Credit Library, IES TaP for LEED enhances the management of the whole LEED workflow.

Additionally, it can be used in conjunction with our VE-Navigators for LEED and ASHRAE 90.1 (LEED Energy). These tools do analysis calculations and create the required documentation via LEED online.

Our aim with IES TaP for LEED is to substantially reduce the amount of time required by users to make a LEED submission, which will then hopefully have the knock on effect of encouraging them to use some of that time to make the building a little more sustainable.

After our 9th visit to Greenbuild, it’s fantastic to see IES and our peers in the industry continually pushing ourselves to bring products like IES TaP for LEED to the industry. I wonder what new IES software development I’ll be talking about after next year’s conference…

If you want to find out more about IES TaP for LEED and how you can use it to streamline, manage and automate the LEED submission process, check out our introduction movie on YouTube or sign up to one of our free webinars here.

Countdown to Greenbuild 2012

Posted: November 8, 2012 by , Category:events, Green Building, LEED

All it takes is a quick look on Twitter using the #Greenbuild hashtag to see that not only is this the biggest green building conference in the world, but it’s also the event that brings out the most passion and creativity from within our industry.

If the green building industry had an Olympics; it would be Greenbuild. If we had a Woodstock; it would be Greenbuild. If we had a Cannes; it would be… ok I’ll stop now, you get the idea.

There is a lot going on every year at Greenbuild and this year is no exception. To find out what was planned for San Francisco and to get involved in the pre-Greenbuild conversation, we decided to create our “DaysToGB” twitter hashtag. Starting on October 14th, we’ve been using the hashtag to countdown the 30 days leading up to the main event next week.

But what have we learned counting down the days to Greenbuild? Quite a lot actually! We know the USGBC is coming full circle by heading back to its roots in San Fran and it’s an ideal location as it’s a city with green building high on the agenda. We’ve learned that attendees are spoiled for choice for what they can do with any spare time they can grab (film festival, walking tours etc), and also that this year’s event has more fantastic seminars and presentations then you could shake a stick at!

We’ve also been using #DaysToGB to share what IES have planned over the course of the conference. At booth #1732S, we’ll be sharing our recent innovations and developments which significantly help streamline and assist the LEED certification process. As a USGBC LEED Automation partner, we’ll be launching our new online LEED project management software and showcasing our software solutions for automated LEED performance credit assessments and sophisticated LEED Energy Modeling.

Our IES experts are also taking part in a number of educational presentations throughout the week; you should have at least one logged in your diary:

IS04A – Removing Barriers for International LEED Projects {Tues 13th Nov}
B06 – Energy Monitoring that Provides Meaningful Data AND Value {Wed 14th Nov}
LEED Automation Partner Presentation {Wed 14th Nov}
D13 – The Ghosts of Climate Past, Present, and Future {Thurs 15th Nov}

You can click here if you would like full details on the above sessions.

So what have you got planned for Greenbuild? There’s still time to tell us using the #DaysToGB hashtag or alternatively you can comment below.

6 #DaysToGB

When it came to writing this World Green Building Week blog the resounding thought I had was — blimey, it’s September already and a year has passed since the last World Green Building Week! But as the great proverb says; “Time and World Green Building Week wait for no man”…

But putting the concept of time aside, after the success of the WGBW event (Environmental Modelling for a Low Carbon Scotland) we hosted last year in Glasgow, we have decided to do it all again this year in Central London on Tuesday 18th September.

Our event this year, which is part of our free Faculty series, will bring together a selection our partners (Davis Langdon, BRE, Daikin, Monodraught) to share our vision of “Virtual Building Models: Driving Measurable Change for Sustainable Built Environments“. By bringing together our expanding partnership programme we want to demonstrate the power of Virtual Building technology to not only reduce carbon impact, but to also substantially reduce costs across the whole building lifecycle.

Commercial buildings utilise more than 42 per cent of all electricity produced, yet waste up to 50 per cent. It is clear that looking at innovative ways to manage energy use throughout the building portfolio offers very substantial savings. Furthermore organisations need to urgently adapt from ‘business as usual’ if they are to meet CSR targets, and comply with current and future environmental legislation, whilst ensuring on-going reliability and investment value of building stock.

In addition, the costs to operate and maintain building stock look set to rise even further. These increases arise from; new expenses associated with environmental legislation, rising fuel costs, the impact of climate change, and increasing energy demands — all external factors over which management has little control.

We believe that the application of Virtual Building technology from design, through construction & commissioning on into operation and renovation/adaptation offers a 3D platform upon which Smart building principles can be built. At next week’s event we will demonstrate through a number of practical and educational sessions how projects and research we are involved can be used in your day-to-day, and how it’s all starting to join-up:

– Software partners are addressing connectivity between Virtual Building and CAD/BIM platforms
– Product manufacturers are testing & verifying performance, creating user tools and undertaking due diligence to cut through greenwash and prove effectiveness of innovative systems virtually
– Research partners are working with us to expand technology horizons
– Rating systems partners are leveraging our technology to facilitate compliance and investigate alternative routes

If you don’t already know, World Green Building Week is held annually to highlight the importance of sustainable buildings for businesses, communities and individuals across the world and this year it takes place from 17th — 21st September. This year’s theme is “Green Building for Great Communities” and we believe that Virtual Building technology can help support the creation of great communities through:

Thinking Healthy: Making buildings for people with better indoor environments and air quality etc.
Thinking Wide:
Connecting the building to natural systems and aligning tech systems across multiple buildings
Thinking Long: Creating lasting value by setting clear performance targets, incorporating future-proofing and ongoing monitoring of building operations to optimize long-term performance, while creating transparency throughout the building lifecycle
Thinking Connected: Collaborating at every stage and integrating design teams, stakeholdersand industry, government etc.
Thinking Big: Acting now for a greener, healthier community

So if you’re in the London area next Tuesday make sure you come along and join us for this free event. If you want to find out more details about what’s happening on the day and book your place, head over to our website.

Sustainable cities and net-zero buildings are great buzz words for the green building industry. But it seems like every major city in the world is using these words to treat sustainability like a competition. They are creating plans to be energy efficient, to implement retrofits and to have zero waste within the next 10, 20, 40 years. This is great for the green building industry, but a word of caution — let’s be smart with our spending and avoid wasting money.

Big goals require big results and create pressure to meet those set goals. It’s important that the industry doesn’t fall victim to the pressure of bigger projects and loftier goals than can realistically be accomplished. Here’s a look at some cities that are truly setting the bar high, according to C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group:

– Seoul plans to retrofit 10,000 buildings by 2030.
– Austin has a zero-waste plan for 2040.
– Tokyo is introducing higher energy efficiency standards for large urban developments.
– São Paulo plans to reduce the use of fossil fuel on public transportation by 10 percent each year, aiming for 100 percent use of renewable fuels by 2017.

When it comes to the sustainable eco cities of tomorrow, it’s easy to have good intentions but miss the mark. That’s what new technology and gadgets can do to us sometimes — we get caught up in the hype and shoot for the stars.  We expect that because a particular product is new to market or a particular sustainability strategy is innovative, it’s a no-brainer to not only implement it but to use it to exceed our wildest green expectations. When the goals are set high, the stakes are high. It’s easy to fall victim.

At Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts, for example, CBT architects had some extra room in their budget when designing the school’s new science building. They looked into upgrading the windows to a new model that was designed to reduce solar heat gain and thus reduce energy consumption. However, after using energy modeling software to run a simulation, architects discovered this particular window application would have done more harm than good. In the end, they were able to avoid spending $200,000 on an upgrade that would have actually made the building more inefficient.

A lot was on the line for this particular project — CO2 emissions, energy savings and the school’s overall sustainability goals. With this in mind, architects and engineers pushed for the absolute best results, and were it not for their extensive backgrounds and training in building modeling they would have made a costly mistake. This project acts as a bit of a microcosm for the rest of the sustainable building industry. With lofty goals come lofty expectations and more room for error.

High goals mean high expectations, but never assume that the newest technology or product is going to help meet those goals. Whether it’s taking baby steps to achieve one goal at a time or setting the bar extraordinarily high, the trick is to do it intelligently.

green-buildingCommercial building owners are very willing to invest in energy efficient technology…as long as the government is willing to reward them for their efforts, according to the latest survey from the Institute for Building Efficiency at Johnson Controls.

While more building owners and managers are moving to cut costs and incorporate energy efficiency measures in their buildings than in previous years, tax credits, government incentives and rebates are playing a huge role. Federal government programs such as the Better Buildings Initiative are providing those incentives in an effort to make commercial buildings more energy efficient.

According to the Institute for Building Efficiency survey:
The sixth annual survey found 85% rely on energy management to drive their operational efficiency, up 34 percentage points from the Energy Efficiency Indicator survey conducted two years ago.

This is both good and bad news for the sustainable building industry, and here’s why. The obvious good news is that energy efficient building is on the rise — we’ve seen this over the last decade and market share continues to confirm this. But the results of this survey beg the question: what happens when the rug is pulled out from underneath programs that offer incentives and tax credits?

“Nearly 75% of commercial buildings in the United States are more than 20 years old and are ready for energy improvements,” said Dave Myers, president of the building efficiency business of Johnson Controls. “Building owners and operators are looking to lawmakers to bring down the cost of energy retrofits through incentives and rebates.”

As sustainable building technology continues to advance, education is going to play a large role. When building owners and managers begin to understand that they can drastically cut costs and decrease overhead with efficiency upgrades, tax incentives will be a relatively small side note. This understanding will be essential to tomorrow’s sustainable building industry.

I don’t think it’s safe to rely on government policy forever. At some point, the well will run dry and policies will change. But even without government incentives, there are still plenty of reasons why building owners should be capitalizing on efficiency upgrades. We just need to let them know about it!

IES TaP Logo2012 has been a very busy and eventful year — we’ve joined forces with IES, launched IES TaP at Ecobuild and continued on our mission to provide the most efficient environmental assessment tracking tool on the market.

So what exactly is TaP? IES TaP is an intelligent online project tracking solution that allows you to access and track all of your BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) projects and evidence documents in one secure online location, without having to rely on email or fax to manage the process.

This tool is the brainchild of Track a Project Ltd. The idea came from the desire to streamline the way in which the Assessor gathered evidence from the Design Team, a notoriously difficult and time consuming process! The concept popped into the head of one of our BREEAM Assessors during a typically long winded Pre-Assessment meeting. The usual array of architects, engineers, M & E consultants, contractors and Project Managers were assembled around the table.

Running through the laborious process of pen and paper, scribbling down which member of the team was responsible for which piece of evidence, trying to explain what was needed, knowing full well that once back in the office, it would all have to be typed up into an excel spreadsheet and emailed to everyone and would be out of date the minute you hit send!

That was the driving force behind the need for something new, something better. Track a Project was born and the rest, as they say is history!

A team of BREEAM and CSH Assessors set off developing the idea. Talented software programmers, with a background of working on some of the leading information portals on the market, were drafted in and the ideas of the team were quickly made reality.

Once operational, the tool was tested by our in house Assessors for over 12 months. The flaws were ironed out, features added and improvements made. Within weeks of the portal going live, positive feedback from our clients and design teams was pouring in. The impact was enormous. The time the tool was saving was phenomenal. The word was beginning to spread and we knew we had something special on our hands, something capable of revolutionising the Environmental Assessment process.

At that point, we realised this was too good to keep to ourselves, we knew we had to release it to everyone! Track a Project was officially released in October 2010.

With a growing customer base, initial take up of the system was good, however if the product was to explode, we needed more muscle and who better to join forces with than world leading environmental experts, IES Ltd.

Many nights of burning the midnight oil followed, Track a Project was streamlined even further and eventually, after months of collaboration, the new IES TaP portal was launched.

It was fantastic to finally present IES TaP to the industry, and there was no better place to do so, then at the Ecobuild conference at Excel London, in March. It was a manic few days that brought a conveyor belt of people to the IES Booth. We had the opportunity to demo IES TaP throughout the event and we spoke to a lot of interested assessors that wanted to know more about the tool.

So what can this tool do for BREEAM and CSH assessors?

Save time? Check.
Save money? Check.
Make assessments easier? Check.

As far as ticking boxes goes, we’d say IES TaP is pretty much on top of its game. But don’t take our word for it…

“Assessing BREEAM credits can be such a complicated process and this makes it so much easier to be organised. It keeps everyone in the team on the right track and ensures that we never miss our deadlines. It’s a feature that I’ve never seen before in any other tool making it by far

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the number one choice for me.” Andrew Matthews, Director of Vale Interiors Ltd.

“TaP has been an amazing assistant throughout our Code experience! It cuts the paperwork, the hassle and the timescale of passing on the relevant information to your code assessor! Fenwood Estates would recommend TaP to any company trying to achieve CSH whether it be a single plot to a multi-unit development!” Melissa Fennell, Development Director, Fenwood Estates.

So it’s onwards and upwards for IES TaP and this exciting new collaboration. We want to continue to provide the best project tracking tool to our customers in the UK, while also making plans to automate and streamline the process for building rating systems around the

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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!

IES at eSim 2012

Posted: May 10, 2012 by , Category:events

This time last week I pitched up at the eSim coference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. eSim is IBPSA-Canada’s biennial conference that brings together professionals, academics and students interested in building performance simulation advancements and applications. I was particularly looking forward to attending eSim because

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not only is it held in a beautiful part of the world, but we also had the pleasure of presenting at and sponsoring this year’s event.

I was kept pretty darn busy over the course of the three days; hosting a pre show training workshop, manning the IES Booth and conducting an IES-VE demo. Happy to report that the workshop and demo were both well attended and I got a lot of positive feedback from current customers and those new to the Virtual Environment. I’d like to thank everyone that took the time to come along to the workshop, demo or booth, and I hope you came away with some useful information (and a free trial).

Getting the chance to talk to the industry face to face is what drives me to attend these types of events. It makes the plain, trains and automobiles all worthwhile when you get the opportunity of show people the power of our software.

The IES-VE is currently approved energy simulation software for LEED Canada to demonstrate compliance for EAp2 & EAc1. The VE offers detailed, comprehensive, and integrated dynamic simulation of solar shading, daylighting, bulk airflow (natural ventilation), thermal loads, HVAC systems, controls, and building energy performance.

With the VE-Pro applications, users can take a project from climate analysis and schematic 3D modeling through to advanced daylighting analysis, detailed thermal-comfort (CFD) and loads analysis for critical spaces, and finally to whole-building energy modeling and reporting for the LEED/ASHRAE-90.1 Performance Rating Method. Our energy simulation software is also on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Internal Revenue Service (IRS) list of approved software.

We have also been confirmed as approved energy modelling software (whole building or specific system) with Efficiency Nova Scotia. Efficiency Nova Scotia offers financial incentives worth up to $500,000 for new construction projects 10,000ft2 or larger, for those working in Nova Scotia. Find out more here.

All in all, it’s an exciting time for IES in this region, and I look forward to meeting more of you at events like eSim in the future.

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…

Some are calling it a debacle; others are calling it a massive u-turn on the Governments behalf. Whatever way you label it, the general consensus in the green industry is that any plans to scrap the “consequential improvements” policy would be a massive mismanagement of the UK’s long term low carbon objectives.

The “consequential improvements” scheme would require home owners that wish to carry out extensions or loft conversions to make additional energy saving improvements to their building. The home owner will not bear the brunt of these costs as funding will be provided by the Green Deal. If the energy savings do not at least match the extra costs involved, then the owner can refuse to carry them out.

So we make our homes more energy efficient, take a step closer to a low carbon Britain, create new jobs, and all at no cost to the home owner?  Where did the u-turn come from?

Well Kevin McCloud puts it down to “scaremongering” in the press, who have labelled the proposal as a “conservatory tax”. Kevin said “Government’s plans to require homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home when they build an extension are about as sensible as sensible gets, especially when the homeowner doesn’t have to pay for those improvements. Reading the recent coverage I began to wonder if there was a secret anti-insulation lobby rabidly bent on increasing our domestic fuel bills.”

Paul King, CEO of the UKGBC, continued to lay the blame on the doorstep of the press, saying “Government has a responsibility to look beyond the ludicrous media headlines. This policy would have helped protect ordinary people from soaring energy costs, as well as reduce carbon emissions to meet its own supposedly legally binding carbon budgets.”

So what do you think? Could this be a major blow to our carbon emission reduction targets? Would a potential u-turn on this policy show a lack of commitment by the Government to an energy efficient UK?

Answers on postcards, or the comment section below…

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