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Last month, to mark our return to the AIA Convention, we launched a competition to explore the architect’s role in building energy analysis. We put the following question to architects, engineers and sustainability consultants around the world — What do you view as the Architect’s role in Energy Analysis?

We received many interesting and thought provoking answers that had our judges deadlocked in deciding who would come away with the fantastic prize of a one year license for VE-Gaia, the VE-Navigator for LEED, as well as associated IESVE modules and training.

Our expert panel were pushed to pick a winning entry and we are delighted to announce that the winner is Susan Welker of Harris Welker Architects. Susan’s entry impressed us because it really got to the heart of what the architect must strive for when aspiring to create the most energy efficient building possible. Here is Susan’s winning entry…

As Architects of not just the built environment, but the planet, our role in energy analysis is threefold. We are the thought leaders in the early stages of design and set the form for the building’s needs for light, water, energy and natural resources. Architects analyze their initial energy analysis with engineering consultants to revise and maximize the buildings minimum energy usage. Finally and most importantly, Architects follow through with observations and field testing to achieve the minimum energy usage during the construction phase.

We also had other entries that are too good not to give an honourable mention to…

Ryan Arnold of MSI Engineers made an interesting point about the collaborative nature of energy analysis – Energy analysis has developed into a truly collaborative process, a process that’s success relies on it not being the claim of one profession, but as a shared responsibility to the whole project team. Thus, the role of an architect in energy analysis is the same as all involved parties- to constantly facilitate the collaboration and creativity needed to solve the complex energy issues we all face, together.

Kirsten Wood of Technical Commissioning Services excellently articulated what energy analysis should mean to the architect and humanity – Architects combine functionality with aesthetics to produce structures that are pleasing to the human senses and useful. Today, that usefulness is also defined by how structures consume energy. A structure that is wasteful will not serve humanity well. Therefore, the role of architects in energy analysis is to reflect deeply on the aspects of energy efficiency and incorporate those into the design.

We’d like to thank all of you who took the time to participate in our contest. Your answers provided a real insight in how the architect’s role in energy analysis is changing, and how our software is helping facilitate this change for the better.

And once again, a big congrats to our winner Susan!

VE 6.5 morphs into VE 2012

Posted: May 30, 2012 by , Category:software

This week you may have noticed that we’ve changed how we name our software releases. The product formerly known as “VE 6.5” has taken a hit from the rebranding fist of justice and is now going by the moniker “VE 2012“.

So what does this mean for you, the user? Well by naming the releases in this way, it should make it very clear if you are using the most current version of the software or if you’re a little out of date.

And don’t worry, just because this one is called ‘VE 2012’ doesn’t mean we won’t be offering you regular updates, far from it! From here on in, we’ll simply be focusing on individual Module Feature Packs.

Well that’s the name change covered. Now let’s get to the awesome new features and capabilities that will be available with VE 2012. First up is the ModelViewerII, which features a new solar arc tool to visualize the sun’s position in relation to the 3D Model, new real-time shadows (with video capability) and greatly improved video and image creation.

VE 2012 contains some important new solar analysis features. VE-Pro Suncast users can now view solar intensity/exposure on a 3D model, determine their own parameters for analysis (such as time period and resolution) and quickly understand the intensity of the sun externally on the building façade.

VE 2012 also includes other major new features including: ApacheHVAC enhancements, Daikin VRV Systems plug-in, Monodraught Windcatcher Performance Component, Trimble Plancal nova connection plus new Singapore and New Zealand compliance tools.

You can find out more about these features and all the other new enhancements included in VE 2012 here.

And you can visit our online Download Centre to “morph” your current software version to VE 2012 today.

Happy morphing!

PS — For those of you outside the UK & Ireland, Morph (pictured above) is an animated Plasticine stop motion character who was created in the 1970s by Aardman Animations, the people behind Wallace and Gromit.

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!

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…

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…

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.

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!

Every year, The Princeton Review issues ranking lists for colleges and universities. Everything from ‘Best Career Services’ to ‘Top Party School’ (this list always gets quite the online buzz).

And for the past two years, The Princeton Review has added a ‘Guide to Green Colleges.’

The second annual Green Colleges guide was compiled in response to growing interest among students and families in how universities are making their campuses and curricula more sustainable.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, Senior VP, Publishing, The Princeton Review. “Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.”

Each profile within the guide features “Green Facts,” showcasing the school’s recycling, use of renewable energy, and conservation programs.

Nationwide, there is a growing interest in sustainability among teenagers, and this is translated in their desire to attend a university that offers not only excellent curriculum, but a focus on the future. At a time when getting into a university, any university, is becoming more competitive, it’s interesting to see the shift in thinking as students look to apply to schools.

As universities continue to jump into sustainability and offer more design courses and majors in these growing fields, it will be interesting to see how the ‘Guide to Green Colleges’ evolves. Maybe one day it will be the most talked about ranking from The Princeton Review every year. Although there will always be the party list…

In case you missed it, IES is offering colleges and universities around the globe free Academic Licenses for our early stage analysis tool VE-Gaia. This is an ideal opportunity for educators to embed sustainable analysis into their curriculum. Any institution offering Architectural or Sustainable Design courses will find this tool invaluable, as students continue to look to sustainable design as a career choice.

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.

I got the red eye out of Glasgow to arrive at this year’s Ecobuild exhibition a few hours out of its opening, and still feeling guilty about taking the plane instead of the train I entered the new location of ExCel right next to City airport (there really was no contest in ease of travel!). The anticipation in the air was palatable! What would this year bring? Would the move to ExCel work? Would the visitors come?

Having attended a similar show Greenbuild in Chicago in November last year for a disappointing 28,000 visitors (down from the estimated 40,000) we had no idea what to expect here…

…and WOW what a difference — in all honesty last year’s Ecobuild had felt stale and just a bit depressing, even with the 41,000 visitors — exactly like the market in general. But this year spring was in the air and optimism abounded.

Ecobuild has finally arrived — It has been called “the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment and the UK’s largest construction event of any kind” for a while now. However, this year it well and truly lived up to that expectation.  Plus, the international element was noticeably out in force with visitors and exhibitors from all over Europe and the rest of the world (maybe the close proximity to an international airport helped…).

In addition, the demise of Interbuild aka BEST was announced just prior to the show (for all you non-UK readers this was the UK construction industry’s behemoth show for many years). The obvious conclusion being that our construction industry is all about sustainability now — it’s the norm! An interesting problem for Ecobuild going forward will be how it keeps this specialisation and sustainable building innovation at the core of the show, while embracing the great news that the industry has well and truly changed its outlook over the last 5 years. Back then the show only had 500 visitors, this year an estimated 50,000 came through the doors!

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), I was stuck on our stand for most of the show helping to speak to all you lovely performance analysis enthusiasts, and consequently I didn’t make it too much of the show, let alone any of the seminars. My lifesaver was @PazzaArchitect who did a sterling job of keeping the #Ecobuild twitterarti up to date with live session tweeting. Plus GAB (Green Architecture & Building) Report has undertaken a fantastic report of the show floor. Check out all tweets with the #Ecobuild hastag for a review of the show and loads of funny pics ranging from the Dulux Dog to the Mr S&G Superhero at WhatTheHastag.

So what did we get up to then? Interest from the non-converted IESVEers was definitely up, especially in the architect arena with many seeking us out from among the 1,300 exhibitors. And for them we were offering a 2 for 1 special offer on our newly revamped VE-Gaia tool. If you’ve ever wanted to incorporate sustainable performance analysis into your design process right from the beginning this is the tool for you. Climate, LZCT, Energy, Daylight and much more…

Then on the UK Building Regulations side we launched our unique new guided VE-Navigator for UK Compliance 2010 for new-build compliance and EPC creation. Visitors were able to discover the time saving, facilitation and QA functionality it offers at live demos on stand. Plus, three new software packs from as little as £320 per quarter we launched to offer our customers a range of flexible DSM/SBEM & EPC solutions.

Our very own David McEwan was recorded talking about our presence at the show and plans over the coming year — listen to it here on Audioboo.

Then our very own IES Faculty educational series of free events was launched which will cover a wide range of performance analysis topics — book now if you want to attend places are filling up fast!! The first session is a Modelling Masterclass scheduled for the 21st March in London.

Plus Richard Qunicey of IES and Tristan Kershaw from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Energy and the Environment presented at the UKGBC Big Tent on the village Green on ‘Is Adaptation our industry blind spot?’ Can climate data help buildings cope over the long term? The Prometheus research project was covered to analyze how weather data lets you assess a building’s ability to adapt to climate change.

Phew what a busy week!! Finally thanks you to all for your interest, enthusiasm, wit and inquisitive nature. See you there next year!!

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