Towards Reliable Workflows for Designing and Operating High Performance Buildings

March 1, 2011 - 9:00am
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Current building design practice relies on a non-standardized and mostly non validated analysis workflows and performance metrics. A design workflow may be anything from a rule-of-thumb to a computer-based process to evaluate a specific performance aspect of a project. This presentation initially reviews a series of interrelated research projects that lead to the development, validation and testing of a comprehensive framework for architects and urban planners for designing daylit spaces with superior occupant comfort and reduced operational energy use. The framework promotes the use of validated rules-of-thumb in combination with a Radiance/EnergyPlus-based plug-in for the popular Rhinoceros NURBS modeler. A series of Grasshopper components further allow users to conduct geometrically complex parametric modeling studies. Simulation outputs range from climate-based daylighting metrics, annual daylight glare probabilities and view analyses to traditional thermal space loads, operational energy costs and equivalent carbon emissions. Based on a recent collaboration with the Harvard Medical School, a simulation-based alertness/performance predictor for occupants in daylit spaces is presented. Finally, a new ‘form suggesting’ algorithm for static shading systems is presented that can help designers to transform formally inspired objects into environmental high performing solutions. The last part of the presentation discusses results from a field study and an online survey that explored technical and non technical opportunities and barriers related to using building energy models developed during the design process for fault detection and performance monitoring.

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