Making Energy Modeling a Standard Part of the Design Practice

Posted by Guest Author on 12/2/14 11:55 AM  |  3 min read time

Liam Buckley, Project Manager at Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES)

At IES, we enjoyed reading a recent post from Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning on how firms can take part in the AIA 2030 Commitment program. As a follow-up, we wanted to examine why architects must embrace energy modeling if we are to meet the challenge.

Build Qatar Live 2012 - Solar exposure analysis performed with IESVE

When announcing the publication of the latest AIA 2030 Commitment Progress Report, AIA's president said energy modeling must become a standard part of the design process to maximize the energy efficiency of buildings and realize the ultimate goal of carbon neutral buildings. Rand Ekman, AIA, Cannon Design, is also quoted in the report, stating that energy-modeled projects show an approximate 20% improvement in predicted performance.

The AIA has actively promoted the use of energy modeling since releasing An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process in October 2012. Its message is clear: Architects who have not started incorporating energy modeling into their practices, must start now; otherwise, they risk being left behind.

Technology such as IESVE for Architects is making it easier for architects to get on board. However, some architecture firms are still struggling. The question is, why? What’s stopping them?

The Berkeley Hotel, Knightsbridge, London, by IES Consulting

We asked this very question in the latest AIA 2030 tweet chat, with one respondent saying, "@IESVE Wish I knew. Maybe fear of software, too much like "engineering," how to fit into the workflow. Has to be seamless. #aiachat"

We can break down these barriers. In 2012, IES began providing formal training and education programs to firms focused on sustainable design procedures and the use of simulation and analysis tools across its practice and design processes. These programs use in-depth, immersive training and other initiatives for architects to facilitate a cultural change into firms with a strong, sustainable design foundation.

With stricter code compliance, regulations such as Title 24 coming into place, and voluntary rating systems like LEED V4 and ASHRAE Standard 189 introducing more stringent, performance-based prerequisites, it's becoming clear that the industry must be ready to use a performance-based simulation approach across the entire building lifecycle.

This was the IES message at Greenbuild 2014, when we asked the industry, "Are You Ready?" IES’ performance modeling software allows users to use one model across the entire building lifecycle, from early stage analysis to detailed design, as well as for code compliance, operation, and retrofit. So it’s safe to say the IESVE is ready. However, the question now is, are architects ready?

Performance modeling is fundamental to creating a more energy-efficient and sustainable built environment for our future. The key is to understand different levels of detail and how different modeling approaches must be used at different stages.

If you're ready and want to learn more about how our partnership with Nemetschek Vectorworks provides comprehensive energy analysis capabilities, visit their website.

Topics: BIM (Architecture), Partner Products

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