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Getting ready for the start of THERM

Posted: February 22, 2013 by , Category:Research & Development

THERMIt’s always good to get recognition from the industry for the products/services we bring to the market – it’s even better getting it for one of our Research & Development projects that is yet to be officially released. That’s what happened this month at the Rushlight Awards when our work on, THERM, was commended in the Energy Efficiency category (the 2nd most entered category of the night).

THERM (THrough-life Energy and Resource Modelling) is a software tool for sustainable manufacturing, which integrates modelling of factory processes within their environment, assesses the materials, energy and waste of the processes and uses data analysis tools to understand the opportunities that exist for reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, integrated with the factory building.

THERM is one of several IES Research projects currently coming to successful completion. Funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board, the THERM team consisted of IES, Toyota, Airbus, Cranfield and DeMontfort University. With UK

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manufacturing accounting for 23% of UK producer carbon dioxide emissions (Defra, 2008), the THERM project was created to solve the demand for manufacturing to become low-carbon and resource efficient.

THERM addresses this issue through the examination of sustainable manufacturing practices and the ability to model and understand what is possible. Currently, no ‘tools’ in regular use assess environmental performance, identify improvement areas and help suggest concrete actions. The final prototype tool has been tested at Airbus and Toyota pilot sites to significant success – figures confidential sorry guys!

THERMInitially being released as an IES consulting service, THERM will in due course be available as part of the IES software suite. Check out the THERM microsite and consulting page for updates.

Research is now very much at the heart of what we do at IES. We are successfully involved in 10 publicly funded research projects: 4 from the Technology Strategy Board in the UK; 2 from SMART Scotland; 1 CIP-PSP and 3 FP7-PPP projects from Europe. We have also just won 6 new European FP7 grant submissions to add to our ongoing Research and Development work.

With ¼ of our turnover being invested in R&D, watch this space for more envelope pushing tools like THERM coming from IES – and hopefully more recognition from award ceremonies like Rushlight too.

IES at SimBuild 2012

Posted: July 31, 2012 by , Category:events

This week the good ship IES has arrived in Madison, Wisconsin for SimBuild 2012. Held biennially, Simbuild is IBPSA-USA‘s national conference that sets out to “improve the design and operation of buildings through advances in the modeling and simulation of building performance”. This is one of the first events we attended (we’ve been coming back since 2006!) when we first took our software to the US and it’s an event that has a very positive impact on the industry.

Prior to the event, which takes place on August 1st — 3rd, we are hosting a two day workshop covering the IES Virtual Environment — Advanced Building Systems Modeling: Loads, HVAC Systems, and Energy. Presenting the workshop will be our IES specialist and HVAC guru, Timothy Moore. Timothy has fourteen years experience to call upon and it’s safe to say that he knows a thing or two when it comes to simulation methods for high-performance buildings, advanced systems integration, and energy modeling.

The workshop will not be your only chance to catch up with Timothy throughout the week as he will be presenting a paper at the SimBuild technical sessions on Wednesday, August 1st at 13:30 — 14:50 (Session 3b). The paper is entitled “Approach to Dynamic Modeling of Thermally Stratified Spaces” and can be downloaded here, for those of you who are not making the trip to Wisconsin.

Following on from the paper presentation, our Project Manager Nathan Kegel will be taking part in the SimBuild Software Demos session that takes place in the University Room from 3:10 to 5:10 pm on Wednesday. This will be a good chance to see the software in action and ask any questions you may have about the Virtual Environment.

We look forward to seeing some of your throughout the week and getting involved in everything on offer at SimBuild 2012!

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…

If you have been keeping up to date with our latest news stories you’ll know that we recently had a visit from the renowned Danish expert Jorgen Erik Christensen and two of his Masters students.

On Wednesday 25th April Jorgen, Espen and Peder appeared bright and early at our Glasgow Headquarters where they spent the day with our Director Craig Wheatley and Project Leader, Special Projects, Michael Pollock. Their intentions were to discover the UK analysis model and understand the process concerning simulation in particular of new, more complicated buildings and from this determine lessons learned to take back to Denmark.

Writing their master project on the future use of energy simulation programs in Denmark, the students saw this visit as a great opportunity to understand first-hand how the IES Virtual Environment (IES VE) software is used within a UK commercial building design process, and how the elements related to UK energy conservation regulations (Part L & EPCs) are incorporated.

Michael Pollock, our expert in this area was only too happy to share his expertise with our Danish friends. Talking them through the UK regulations and showing them how we set up advanced software solutions to meet UK compliance, the students were able to discover the challenges and begin to understand how this process could be adapted for Denmark.

With our new IESVE 2012 due to be released shortly, Michael and Craig were able to give the trio a sneak peek into some of the new features that would benefit them substantially with projects they were working on. Michael observed “Our visitors were wowed with the advanced capabilities of the Virtual Environment, it really seemed to go above and beyond what they had expected”.

Like all good students Espen and Peder had done their homework and had read many of the papers and presentations written by our experts. They were particularly interested in the IBPSA paper based on the Venture Building which is situated in the same campus as our headquarters and were keen to pay it a visit.

In feedback from Jorgen, Espen and Peder they said…

“Based on our meeting with IES we feel confident that the ever increasing demand for energy savings in buildings can be met through intelligent design and analysis of same. This is where IES<VE> comes into the picture; by integrating most of the design phases and Compliance certification into a single simulation tool, the workflow of the project is made more efficient, while at the same time giving detailed energy consumption estimations in order to further optimize the building design. This impression was confirmed by meetings with Buro Happold, Hulley & Kirkwood and Wallace Whittle.”

Craig rounds up the success of the visit…

“We were absolutely delighted to welcome Jorgen and his students from DTU to the UK.  IES have a strong user base in Demark, thanks in part to DTU’s adoption of the Virtual Environment in their teaching. It was a pleasure to share the experience of IES and our customers in the use of our VE Compliance software for the EPBD driven UK Part L & Section 6 building regulations and energy performance certification.”

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…

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.

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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AIA Makes Push for Design Transparency

Posted: December 15, 2011 by , Category:Architects

In the architecture and design realm, keeping it simple often yields the best results. Keeping it sustainable doesn’t hurt either.

A push by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as highlighted in a recent article in The Washington Post, supports this idea. All across the United States, AIA chapters are “taking a stand for visibility, transparency and sustainability.” Brick and mortar no longer separates the AIA buildings from the public, something that becomes clear if you’ve seen the new building of the AIA’s chapter in D.C.

Thomas Corrado, project architect with the Washington firm that created the design, described the concept as “clear, simple and concise.” He went on to say that “the idea was about how to make the space a connection between architecture and the person on the street.”

What I find most interesting about this new open-door style is its appeal to the public. As the United States pushes for a greener, more efficient future, anything that can draw in the public to gain some traction is positive for the sustainability industry as a whole. When pedestrians peer through the floor-to-ceiling glass of the D.C. building, for instance, they see an open gallery that currently showcases the winners of a recent design competition. Next month, the gallery will feature an exhibit on art nouveau architecture from Brussels.

Another example of the AIA’s new design efforts is the soon to be completed Center for Architecture and Design in North Carolina.

The nation’s only AIA building to be built from the ground up, it was designed by Raleigh-based architect Frank Harmon after a statewide competition. Inside, the lighting adjusts to demand, monitored by a donated state-of the-art computer server that responds to the amount of daylight admitted. Early modeling projects energy savings as high as 64 percent.

As we head into 2012, we look forward to seeing the AIA’s new push for design transparency continue to generate public appeal and translate to more sustainable designs nationwide.

Conference recap – Building Simulation 2011

Posted: November 23, 2011 by , Category:events

Last week, we headed to the land down under for the 12th International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA). From November 14th to 16th in Sydney, Australia, simulation researchers, mechanical designers, government legislators and more came together with the local simulation user community for Building Simulation 2011, co-hosted by IBPSA Australasia and the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).

At the conference, we showcased and provided live software demos of VE-Pro, our suite of building performance simulation tools, and VE-Gaia, our architectural analysis tool. Our experts also had the opportunity to present a couple of research papers, one of which involved a case study of the William McCormack Place Stage 2 building, a government office building in Cairns, North Queensland. This paper explored key strategies used in the HVAC systems and discussed the thermal and CFD modeling involved during the earliest stages of the building design to optimize the building’s environmental performance.

The second paper we presented described two new indices to assess and benchmark building energy performance — the Climate Energy Index (CEI) and the Building Energy Index (BEI). In a nutshell, these globally-applicable energy indices were developed as a means of quantifying the climate impact on building energy performance, and distinguishing climate-related and climate-unrelated energy end uses. Our paper specifically described the derivation of the indices calculation methods, and presented some case study results based on two types of building models.

Overall, our team had a great time at the show meeting with others involved in the building performance simulation field. Regarding the papers we presented, they will be available on our website shortly — stay tuned!

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