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Eleventh International IBPSA Conference Glasgow, Scotland July 27-30, 2009

ARCHITECT FRIENDLY”: A COMPARISON OF TEN DIFFERENT BUILDING PERFORMANCE SIMULATION TOOLS

Shady Attia1, Liliana Beltrán2, André De Herde1 and Jan Hensen3 1 Architecture et Climat, Université Catholique de Louvain La Neuve, Belgium 2 Department of Architecture, Texas A&M University, USA 3 Building Physics and Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands Corresponding author: shady.attia@uclouvain.be

ABSTRACT A wide range of scientifically validated Building Performance Simulation tools BPS is available internationally. The users of those tools are mainly researchers, physicists and experts who value empirical validation, analytical verification and calibration of uncertainty as defined by e.g. BESTEST. However, literature and comparative surveys indicate that most architects who use BPS tools in design practice are much more concerned with the (1) Usability and Information Management (UIM) of interface and (2) the Integration of Intelligent design Knowledge-Base (IIKB). Those two issues are the main factors for identifying a building simulation program as Architect Friendly”. Now, with the advancement of BPS tools and the recent announcements of direct links between BIM or non-BIM modeling tools and BPS tools it is important to compare the existing programs. Based on an online survey, this paper presents the results of comparing ten major BPS tools. The following programs are compared: ECOTECT, HEED, Energy 10, Design Builder, eQUEST, DOE-2, Green Building Studio, IES VE, Energy Plus and Energy Plus-SketchUp Plugin (OpenStudio). With 249 valid responses, the survey ranked the tools in three classes and revealed that architects seek the IIKB above the UIM of the interface. Finally, the paper summarizes the key findings and underlines the major requirements for future improvement and development of BPS tools, mainly from an architectural perspective.

INTRODUCTION Building simulation as a discipline can be traced back to the 1960’s when the US government was

involved in environment

projects to evaluate the thermal

in

fallout

shelters

[1].

Since

its

inception, constantly produced

building simulation has been evolving as a vibrant discipline that a variety of BPS tools that are

scientifically Realizing the

and internationally validated. increasing importance of the

decisions made early in their impact on energy

the design process and performance and cost,

several BPS tools have been developed the 80’s to help architects perform early

during energy

analysis,

and

create

more

energy

efficient

more

sustainable buildings [2]. It was not until the 90’s, that architects and designers got more and more encouraged to join the building simulation field. The architecture discipline started to integrate building simulation, similar to the integration of CAAD and virtual environment (VE) tools into practice. However, despite the proliferation of many building simulation/energy analysis tools in the last ten years, architects and designers are still finding it difficult to use even basic tools [3]. Findings confirm that most these BPS tools are not compatible with architects’ working methods and needs [4-6]. From the perspective of many architects, most BPS tools are judged as too complex and cumbersome [7]. In fact, it is repeatedly reported in literature that a growing gap exists between architects as users and BPS tools [8]. Most BPS tools, are of necessity developed by technical researchers, building scientist or HVAC engineers. During development they are mainly concerned with empirical validation, analytical verification and calibration of uncertainty as defined by IEA BESTEST [9].In order to bridge this gap we have to recognize that building simulation is also a human, psychological and social discipline because it directly involves man-computer interaction and human knowledge processing, while enriching human experience. Therefore, we have to comprehend architects’ problems in interacting with such tools because architects have a different background; different knowledge processing methods and they are visually oriented. Now, there is a chance to bridge this gap. The advent of Building Integrated Modeling (BIM) and the recent announcements of direct links between BIM and non-BIM modeling tools and BPS tools in addition to the waves of energy codes and rating systems such as LEED, AHRAE 90.1 etc., are proving that disciplines are merging. There is a common objective and chance to improve the integration and alliances between engineers, architects and even constructers to create realistically integrated projects together and overcome the differences between the logical model and the realities of AEC industry practice. Therefore, the aim of this study is to compare and evaluate existing tools, from an architectural point of view to provide

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