Sell Sustainable Design to Clients
Energy Modeling, Daylighting, & Moisture/Thermal Analysis

Clients want evidence that design ideas work before they are willing to commit. Architects can use modeling software to test design ideas and illustrate how they result in energy savings. You can produce quantitative data that helps your client understand your design concepts.

Energy Modeling with EnergyPlus (E+)

EnergyPlus is a new energy modeling software from the Department of Energy. Coupled with Open Studio, a SketchUp plugin, it becomes a useful design tool for Architects. You can quickly build a model of your design in SketchUp that gives you immediate feedback on your design's energy usage. You can test ideas and build data to support your arguments. You can compare the impact of vairous strategies such as building orientation, solar shading, daylighting, low-e glazing, wall construction (insulation), and efficient HVAC. EnergyPlus can also calculate how much energy you can generate with Photovoltaic panels. Please read "Designing Net-Zero Buildings with EnergyPlus" for more information.

Daylighting Analysis with DiaLux

(Useful daylight for office work is between 250 lux and 500 lux)

Artificial lighting accounts for up to 30% of the energy usage of typical office buildings. If you include the additional cooling required by heat generated by artificial lights, the total energy usage caused by artificial lighting could approach 50%. Using daylight to reduce the usage of artificial lighting can greatly increase the energy efficiency of buildings. I use Dialux, a professional lighting design software, to quickly model and calculate the daylighting potential of buildings. Daylight modeling can help you evaluate and optimize the impact of top lighting, sidelighting, atriums, light shelves, and sunshades. Please read "Integrate Daylighting into the Design of Sustainable Buildings" for more information.

Building Envelope Thermal & Moisture Analysis with THERM & WUFI-ORNL/IBP

Architects are frequently involved as defendants in mold contamination lawsuits. The old "rules of thumb" about designing for moisture control in the building envelope' may be contributing to the moisture building-up in some buildings. Modeling can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your building wall assembly design. Using software developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, you can develop a heat transfer model of your assembly and determine the risk of condensation. Please read "Building Envelope Thermal & Moisture Analysis" for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do Architects need energy modeling?
Most architects think that only mechanical engineers can benefit from energy modeling. In sustainable buildings, the envelope design has a great impact on energy efficiency and comfort of occupants. I use EnergyPlus to help optimize the energy efficiency of the building through layout, orientation, solar shading, building materials, glazing, and daylighting. The same energy model can be used by the mechanical engineer to simulate the performance of the HVAC system.

Q. Do I need daylighting?
Daylighting is the use of natural light to reduce artificial lighting in buildings. Since artificial lighting accounts for 30% of the energy used by a typical office building, utilizing daylight can make a significant impact on the energy efficiency of buildings. Also, daylit buildings are perceived by users as being more comfortable.

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