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As someone who has had multiple conversations with architects about sustainability and building performance over the last 7 – 8 months, I am often asked the question: “Can architects really make a difference to the low carbon transition within the built environment?” So, I decided to put my thoughts in a blog and let you be the judge of it…
Architects will often say that they have the intent, but they don’t have the budget or the expertise to deliver on performance based design. Others will say that there is not enough demand; the cost considerations overshadow sustainability initiatives; the clients are interested in maximising rooms rather than minimising energy and carbon in a development; or they are happy with the existing outsourcing relationship with their partners (including M&E partners and cost consultants). The list goes on and on.
However, there are strong commercial reasons to support why architects should be taking the initiative to set the sustainability agenda within the built environment space.
There are opportunities for them to:
At IES, we foresee a future where architecture is synonymous with sustainable design, irrespective of the size of the practice or complexity of projects. Given our 20+ years of experience in developing cutting edge building performance tools, we are well positioned to support architects in this vision. We have been striving to make it easy for architects to push sustainability within their practice, especially during RIBA project stages 2 & 3, and, keeping in sync with digitisation trends in the industry, we have made our tools BIM Level 2 ready with a high degree of interoperability with platforms including Revit, SketchUp, Rhino and Archicad.
IES provides a comprehensive approach to sustainable design which includes multiple elements to cover daylighting, solar shading, visual comfort, thermal comfort, energy & carbon, costing and environmental impact. The VE software can also be used to help secure BREEAM credits across categories like materials, management, health & well-being and energy.
In fact, those looking to maximise their BREEAM potential might be interested to learn that IESVE can help them achieve 33% of all BREEAM credits. That’s almost half the credits required for a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating!
Furthermore, with the IES IMPACT suite of tools, architects can target up to a total of 12 capital costing, life cycle costing and life cycle impact credits, which have traditionally been thought to be cost prohibitive. Unlocking these credits can make the difference between achieving an ‘Excellent’ rating and a ‘Very Good’ rating, so there’s definite value to be gained. What’s more, reporting to the BRE couldn’t be easier as it can be done by sending the IES model directly to them.
The more advanced users out there can also take advantage of the latest Parametric, HONE (optimisation) and Python Scripting capabilities within the VE to challenge their client’s approach or to aid participation in research projects or competitions.
Don’t take our word for all the WOW features and capabilities. Try it out! You already know how technology can make a difference to your workflows and give you a competitive edge.
Go to our website and download the 30-day trial today. With built-in navigators and Distance Learning courses available, you’ll be up and running in no time. And, if you get stuck, reach out to our friendly support team, dip into the FREE resources available from our Knowledge Base, user manuals and YouTube channel, or connect with others in the IES Community via our user forum and LinkedIn group to see how they are using the tools within their own practice.
As they say – Dream Big, Start Small, Begin Now! We’d love to be part of your sustainability journey – why not contact me today to find out how?
Guest blogger, Dr Craig Robertson – Head of Sustainability at architecture firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, shares his insight on the value of integrating performance analysis tools from even the early stages of design.
At Allford Hall Monaghan Morris we work across a range of sectors, specialising in designing buildings that are enjoyable to use, beautiful to look at and easy to understand. Our ethos is to create buildings that work over time and have lasting qualities intrinsic to their architecture.
For us, a project begins with a strategy rather than a design solution. Each strategy arises from understanding the fundamental drivers of a brief and the parameters, problems and opportunities it represents. Although this approach might involve a complexity of thought, the aim is always to produce a simple, legible proposal that can be responsive to change while still remaining true to the core of the brief. This ensures that our design ideas are robust enough to survive the pressures that can be expected on the way to the finished building.
Our design process is architectural, in that our primary decision drivers are that of townscape, spatial qualities, user experience, materiality and form. However, we recognise that making buildings is a collaborative process and we work hard to integrate engineering and space conditioning strategies into our designs. We focus on adaptable, occupant controlled environments using passive means where possible.
Performance-based design is important to enable understanding of the energy, cost and comfort implications of our design decisions. We have to balance all these factors and more, and carrying out performance analysis provides us with the detailed information we need to make better design decisions.
We use IESVE to perform more detailed analysis of our proposals and to support our architectural decisions, challenge briefs and integrate a strategic environmental approach into our architecture. It is an essential tool to understand how our architectural proposals can be optimised to maximise comfort and minimise energy consumption.
Early stage examples we are currently working on include developing a fixed shading strategy for a new commercial office building, illustrating the benefits of hybrid conditioning to a developer client, reassuring a planning department over concerns about sunlight and simplifying the servicing requirements for a residential project.
We find that as the legislative framework around energy and sustainability becomes increasingly stringent, the onus is on us to make the case for low energy, high performance architecture. Outputs from IESVE help us do that.
Want to find out more about integrating VE analysis tools within your architectural practice? Visit our VE for Architects webpage or contact one of our representatives at email@example.com for more information.