Building Energy Simulations
The architect designs the building shell, the electrical engineer specifies lighting, and the HVAC engineer determines how to heat and cool spaces. This sequence is followed during commercial and institutional building design across the country every day.
Most of these buildings meet the owner's functional needs but fall short of achieving a greater potential. Cooperation is required to construct a building that is economical to erect and energy-efficient to operate. Building energy simulation allows the design team to make wise decisions early in the schematic design project phase. Building energy simulation allows functional building needs to be addressed at lowest building energy cost.
Buildings use windows for vision, electricity for lighting, and fans for ventilation. An energy-conscious design may improve each component separately by specifying low-E window glass, T8 fluorescent lamp fixtures, and high-efficiency fan motors.
Building energy simulation allows the design to go beyond better hardware to a better concept by examining system synergy:
- Can natural light reduce artificial light need?
- What is cooling load reduction if electric lighting load is reduced?
- If cooling load is reduced, can smaller fans be used?
- If natural ventilation is used, can ventilation fans be turned off?
Building energy simulation can answer these questions so windows, lighting, and ventilation systems can be designed simultaneously rather than sequentially.