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According to the Carbon Trust, UK schools could save around £70 million per year by reducing their energy costs, which would equate to reducing CO2 emissions by up to 300,000 tonnes. You don’t have to have done well at maths class to figure out that these are pretty substantial savings…

Getting the energy management of our schools right has multiple benefits. Firstly, the savings on energy bills for schools will free up much needed funding for educational resources such as extra teachers and assistants. Spending money on bills or extra resources for our children?  It’s a no brainer.

By introducing new saving measures in schools we also have the opportunity to educate a new generation of children about energy efficiency and the earth’s resources, giving them firsthand experience of an energy aware culture. All the while cutting down on our carbon emissions and combating climate change in the process – bonus!

veryschoolAll these benefits brings me nicely on to VerySchool, a European Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP) funded project that the IES research & Development team have been involved in since last year. The aim of the project is to develop customised energy savings strategies and ICT solutions for schools across Europe. It will do this through the integration of Smart LED Lighting, Smart Meters, Building Energy Management Systems, Energy Simulation Software, and Energy Action Management Software. The integration of these technologies will be conducted under the guidelines and practices of ISO50001 (energy programs) and IPMVP (measurement & verification) and will be called the VERYSchool Energy Action Navigator.

The project is already under way with four chosen Pilot Schools. These schools are the starting point in evaluating the benefits of the VERYSchool project in terms of energy efficiency savings and carbon reduction.

But for VerySchool to truly succeed in making an impact on EU schools we need your input. We want to understand the current level of confidence school managers and decision makers have in the Energy Management Programme. You can help us by completing this online questionnaire and passing it on to anyone you know that could help us understand how Energy Management is performing in EU Schools.

You can also keep up to date with the progress the project is making by signing up to the VerySchool newsletter here.

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.

Ten Reasons to Visit IES at Ecobuild

Posted: March 1, 2013 by , Category:events, research, software

eb300x250exhibitorWith over 1,000 exhibitors at Ecobuild vying for your attention, here are ten reasons why you should take the time to come and meet the IES team at this year’s event…

1. The IES Sustainability Hub – One Year On: It’s now been a year since we brought our Sustainability Hub concept to the industry and this year we’re showcasing the successes of the Hub. At Stand N429 we’ll be demonstrating how our industry leading technology and expertise can give the ability to quantify, optimise and verify objectives through analysis, helping more rapidly deliver a sustainable future for our cities and buildings.

2. IMPACT Compliant Software Tools: Ecobuild will be your first chance to find out about our unique new integrated approach to whole-building evaluation and ensuring the most sustainable solution regarding building cost, operational efficiency, budget and embodied environmental impact across product’s life cycle is selected. The Life-cycle Assessment (LCA), Life-cycle Costing (LCC) and Capital Costing (CC) tools from IES now deliver these benefits direct from a BIM/CAD interoperable 3D model.

3. New Smart Energy Management Consulting: We’re also launching our new consulting service which will help you define and implement a measurable energy/carbon reduction strategy across your whole building portfolio. Come and see how our team can uncover hidden cost savings for your business.

4. Lessons Online Knowledge Sharing Platform: A website that supplies users with easy access to “lessons” learnt by construction professionals from their previous building design experiences – sounds good eh? Well that’s exactly what we’ve created with our new Lessons website. Sign up for free here.

5. IESVE for LEED®: Interested in our LEED® tools? Our experts will be on hand over the course of the three days to fill you in on our recent software and consulting developments which significantly help streamline and assist the LEED certification process.

6. IES TaP Updates: Heard of IES TaP? It takes the headache out of Green Building Ratings project management and submissions. You can now use IES TaP to streamline, manage and automate BREEAM, LEED, EcoHomes and Code for Sustainable Homes certification processes.

7. IES Research & Development: With ¼ of our turnover being invested in R&D, 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. Come by our stand to find out about these projects or to find out how to collaborate with us in the future.

8. Innovation Zone: We have been chosen to present our new IMPACT Compliant tool (listed above) at the Innovation Zone, the M&S sponsored competition for the best innovations in sustainability. Join us at Stand N630 to view this innovation and cast your vote in person. You can also vote online here.

9. Presentation at the Nemetschek Vectorworks Stand: Our BDM Sarah Graham will be presenting “BIM and the positive impact it can have on the design process with regard to measuring sustainability” at the Nemetschek Vectorworks Stand (N420) at the following times: Tuesday 5th March – 14:30 // Wednesday 6th March – 15:30 // Thursday 7th March – 14:00.

10. IMPACT Seminar: Head along to Seminar Room 5 on Wednesday 6th March (14:30-16:00) for the IMPACT Seminar that will be led by Daniel Doran of BRE and features a demonstration of IMPACT by Richard Quincey of IES. Add to your planner here.

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.

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.”

Last week was Ecobuild week, an important date in our annual calendar as it is for the rest of the industry. Everyone is there, or at least it certainly feels that way. Over the years I’ve seen it grow and this year not an inch was left unused at the Excel Centre. While I have attended EcoBuild over the years as a visitor, it was my first as an Exhibitor and I enjoyed the different angle of the event. Being the new boy at IES I was given the task to help setup our stand, not knowing what this entailed, I was full of confidence and enthusiasm. Little did I know…

I turned up on Monday and our stand had only just been built, but there is camaraderie at EcoBuild that encourages everyone to chip in. It wasn’t long before I found the decorators to paint the stand and the electricians to wire in power to get our lighting and computer demonstration pods up and running. People from all types of companies from all around the world were sharing duck tape, ladders, Stanley knives and hoovers, giving a real sense of positiveness. Maybe this a reflection on our industry currently, after so many years of challenging times due to lack of investment, maybe there is a sense of optimism that we’ve turned a corner, maybe it was the glorious weather or maybe both. After a long day on Monday setting up our stand, all was ready and awaiting for the opening on Tuesday.

I reached the Excel centre early on the Tuesday morning. It’s amazing the transformation that happened overnight; there were no more pallets, forklifts, carpets were down, and exhibitors had swapped their denim for shirts and ties, anxiously waiting for the doors to open at 10am. We had a very interesting stand this year, in fact we had three; our main stand (covering new releases and partnered alliances), Research stand (discussing all of our ground—breaking research projects) and our stand at the Innovation Zone.There’s a lot to talk about at IES, something we’re very proud of, and EcoBuild allows us to communicate all that’s going on to our customer base, which was received extremely well over the three days.

At our main stand we had representatives from Plancal, Monodraught, and Track a Project (IESTaP.com), and over the course of the 3 days I got to know our new commercial partners very well. Everyone was positive about the future and power that the partnerships can bring to the <Virtual Environment> and we were all encouraged by the hundreds of interested visitors that came our way. Clearly our partnerships went down very well and have set the building blocks for future developments. The visitor feedback assured us that we are following a direction that falls in line with what is required within the industry.

Before you know it, EcoBuild comes and goes. The three days were extremely busy and exhausting but I particularly enjoyed my time as an exhibitor. We packed up our stands and got the boxes ready for delivery back to IES HQ. But the work didn’t stop there; the following day I was back out meeting clients and following up on what seems a never ending list of actions. It’ll take me weeks to follow up on just three days at EcoBuild.

So the new boy has cut his teeth at EcoBuild and looks forward to the next exhibition with the same enthusiasm as he did when he arrived at the Excel centre on that Monday morning.

{You can follow Niall on Twitter here}

It might be a down market, but green building is not following the trend. From 2008 to 2010, the value of green construction increased by 50 percent, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011. And analysts predict three to five-fold growth by 2015. Still, this growth represents only a very small segment of the overall construction industry.

As Forbes points out, there’s an incredibly slow green building adoption curve: “At this stage, there’s only a very small market segment that will buy something because it is energy efficient,” said Reuben Schwartz, Residential Energy Programs Manager of the Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco. The problem, I think, is an incredibly slow learning curve and a disconnect between industry veterans and the consumer.

Dan Geiger (Executive Director of the USGBC) cited research undertaken by the USGBC on schools. What parents want, he said, “is a modern, healthy school, so that their children get good grades and go to college. I didn’t say the word ‘green.’ Consumers

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think about this in a different way than we, the practitioners, think about it.”

And that’s really the problem. The architects, the engineers, the modelers — they understand it. It’s what we do day in and day out. But readily available technology and a good price point simply aren’t enough. Without a knowledgeable consumer who knows the advantages of green building, there will always be that disconnect from our world and the consumers’.

Education is vital to the health of the green building industry. The future depends on the general public understanding what I do every day. Only then will I be confident that green building will continue to advance and progress, eventually becoming the standard.

It’s that time of year again — the construction industry gets ready to flock to London for a three day event dedicated to creating a sustainable built environment.

Last year’s event attracted over 50,000 visitors, more than 13,000 exhibitors and 750 speakers. This year’s show promises to be even bigger! And just as Ecobuild is growing every year; so does IES and our presence at the event.  This time around our Ecobuild activity will be spread across 2 stands and the Innovation Zone. That’s right, you can run, but you can’t hide…

But why would you want to hide? We have loads of exciting news and updates to fill you in on…

  • At our main stand (N224) we’ll be launching IES TaP, which is a new online tracking tool for managing the evidence gathering process for BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) assessments. We’ll also be presenting a range of commercial partnerships with Daikin, Monodraught and Plancal and showcasing the new innovations that have come from these alliances. Find out more here.
  • Over on stand N221 we’ll be exhibiting our ground—breaking research projects. With approximately a third of our turnover going into research and development, this is an interesting part of what we have on show at Ecobuild. Drop by the stand to speak with our research experts and to find out about our latest research projects: OPTIMISE, VE-SCAN, IMPACT, THERM, VERYSCHOOL, LESSONS and EASEE. Find out more here.
  • We’ve been selected to present our new VE-Scan project at the Innovation Zone (N530). VE-SCAN is a state of the art tool from IES R&D that goes beyond the traditional use of building simulation at the design stage. It uses building simulation to substantially improve the operational performance of a building. Learn more about VE-SCAN here and cast your vote for your favourite innovation at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/innovationzone2012

We’re also looking forward to once again getting involved in the live Ecobuild tweeting and meet ups over the course of the three days. So much so that we’ve even come up with an exclusive special offer for our twitter followers. With our Twitter Loyalty Offer you will be able to get 25% off a package that includes our architectural analysis tool, VE-Gaia, and the VE-Navigator for BREEAM new customer package.  To qualify for this offer you will need to do the following…

1. Follow us on twitter — www.twitter.com/IESVE
2. Watch out for our daily Special Offer tweet during Ecobuild.
3. Retweet our Special Offer tweet.
4. Bring proof of the retweet to our stand and talk to one of our experts about VE-Gaia and the VE-Navigator for BREEAM.
5. Fill out our special offer form which gives you until the end of April 2012 to claim this fantastic promotion.

And finally, we realise we’ve been tweeting a lot of you over the last year without actually knowing what you look like. So if you are taking a photo of your team or something that has caught your eye at Ecobuild, remember to use our special photo hashtag – #ShowUsYourEcoFace

We’ll be sure to get the ball rolling on Tuesday…

SESG/CIBSE Seminar

Posted: May 19, 2011 by , Category:events

Last month I was asked to attend and present at a SESG/CIBSE seminar at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The event was held to explore the latest developments in the Scottish Regulations, and to investigate the concept and future implications of “zero carbon” building in Scotland.

My presentation mainly focused on the key changes in 2010 Section 6 and 2010 Part L2A in terms of building compliance simulations. It also carried out a good comparison study between these two new regulations to see how buildings will be affected respectively by these regulations in terms of compliance. An example was set up based on an office building which was comfortably passed the compliance under both previous Section 6 and PartL2A, but failed in the new regulations. Different improvement strategies have been taken to see which area can be looked at to improve the building performance. You can find my presentation below and as always any feedback is very welcome.

Overall this was an interesting event which generated a lot of exciting discussion, while also demonstrating that these are issues that are high on the agenda in Scotland. Other speakers included members of BRE, SESG and the Scottish Building Standards Division, addressing issues such as research perspectives and industry reactions to the current technical standards. I am now looking forward to reporting back from such forward thinking Scottish events in the future!

Global Snapshot

Posted: February 4, 2011 by , Category:Sustainability

Is 2011 going to be another exciting year for sustainable design? We scanned the globe for some awe-inspiring projects as we welcome in the New Year.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore: Dubbed a master class in green architecture, the lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum is a living, breathing embodiment of the ArtScience theme. The Museum will feature naturally illuminated galleries at its ‘fingertips,’ while a dish-like roof harvests rainwater for its 115 ft. waterfall.

Santiago, Chile: The Costanera Center, South America’s tallest towers to date, is aiming for LEED Gold with extensive sustainable design strategies. The center features a massive 30,000 square meter green roof and a natural cooling system that channels water from nearby San Carlos Canal.

Tainan, Taiwan: Also known as ‘The Magic School of Green Technology,’ The Y. S. Sun Green Building Research Center is Taiwan’s first and only zero-carbon building. Incorporating 13 green building design methods, it features the world’s first natural buoyancy ventilation system, which keeps an international conference hall cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Florida, USA: A fantastic geodesic-inspired glass atrium in St. Petersburg, Florida is the new home to the surrealist artwork of Salvador Dali­. While its thick concrete walls were purposefully designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, its thermal mass doubles as a heat sink to minimize temperature highs and lows.

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