Figure 7 plots respondent’s top priorities concerning information management of an interface. First, 28% of the respondents considered the ability to create comparative reports for multiple alternatives, as a priority. Second, 23.7% of the respondents favored the ability to assure quality control for the simulation input parameters. The third preferred criterion (17.7%) was the ability to allow assumption and default values to facilitate simulation data entry. Flexible data storage and user customizable features (16.1%) in addition to simple input and reviewing options (14.5%) were the least important among the 5 criteria. In the comments box, most respondents stressed flexibility and the ability to accommodate beginner and advanced users concurrently. For beginner users, the interface should facilitate quick, transparent and simple entry values (debugging) next to default templates and libraries. Simultaneously, the interface should allow advanced users to create and modify their own customizable building types, systems, components/features, templates and output reports.
Fig. 7. Criteria concerning information management
Which tool(s) fulfill the following criteria? Next, respondent were asked to compare the tool(s), concerning the information management of their interfaces. Six sub-criteria, shown in table 2, were used to compare the ten different tools. The raw votes of respondents were normalized and plotted as percentage in the table. Respondents’ top ranking concerning information management of interface was for IES VE, HEED and eQUEST (100%), followed by GBS, DB and E10 (77%). There was less
Table. 2. Ranking the tools according to information management
agreement on ECOTECT (72%), while EP, EPSU and DOE-2 did not meet the user’s
expectations (42%). One interesting idea came from a respondent who wanted to combine IES VE, ECOTECT and Radiance.
Part 3: Integration of Intelligent Design Knowledge-base The integration of a design knowledge-base in the tools is required to support decision making under risk and uncertainty. Architects are looking for tools that can support sustainability design decisions and make detailed comparisons between different building design and equipment measures [7, 20]. In order that the design advances, the designer has to increase the input in the design with a higher level of knowledge and details. Therefore, it is essential that the simulation tools include an interface that supports such a knowledge-base. A knowledge- base that contains descriptive explanations, examples and procedural methods for determining appropriate installation and systems, e.g. guidelines, case studies, strategies etc. In this part of the survey, the questionnaire was designed to investigate ‘Architect Friendly’ tools that can support the designer to comply with building codes and to be consistent with the rating systems, in addition to be able to assist in adjusting the design parameters to the needs within the framework of existing codes. The questionnaire also investigated the ability of the tools to allow the examination of sensitivity and uncertainty of key parameters in relation to design-decisions. Already, significant application of knowledge-based tools is present in intelligent computer-aided-architectural instruction or intelligent tutoring systems that support the architect’s intuition or assists in solving a
problem [17, 21].
INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE-BASE? As shown in Figure 8, respondent’s top priority concerning the integration of knowledge-base in an interface was the ability to provide guidelines for building codes and rating systems compliance (35%). The next priority was the ability to provide case studies databases for decision making (28%) followed by the ability to provide weather data and extensive libraries of building components and systems (25%). The fourth and last chosen criterion was the ability to support online user help and training courses. In the comments box, most respondents stressed the importance of integrating a knowledge-base, that supports the compliance with LEED, baseline standards such as ASHRAE 90.1 and even the 2030 Challenge benchmarks. One interesting concept that came from a respondent was the development of a genuine overall architectural design development toolkit that calculates LEED credits and also offers the