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“ARCHITECT FRIENDLY”: A COMPARISON OF TEN DIFFERENT BUILDING - page 7 / 8

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respondents. The friendliness of the interface concerning UIM came in second place (28%). In the third place, selection was made for the IBM. Finally, AASDC came in last place (18%). These results reveal a very interesting finding. Respondents prioritize the IIKB over the UIM of the interface and even the AASDC. We believe architects need consistent information that assist the design optimization process and guide them into building science designs. However, the small difference between the respondents’ preferences requires an analysis of significance.

Fig.10 Criteria ranking of ‘Architect Friendly’ tools

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS With 249 valid responses, this survey collected a reasonably plausible pattern of surveyed respondents. The significance of the results was not calculated and the results cannot be proven as representative of the architects community but at least are showing interesting findings. Comparing the tools In this survey, ten tools were compared by architects, designers, architecture educators and students according to the (1) UIM of interface and (2) IIKB. The final results of comparing the ten tools are illustrated in Figure 11. The ten tools can be grouped into three categories.

Fig. 11. Ranking the ten tools

IES VE (85%), HEED (82%) and eQuest (77%) came in the first category. Respondents strongly agreed that those three tools are ‘Architect Friendly’. The strength of IES VE lays in its user friendly GUI and its template driven approach. The tool offers default values and templates that facilitate quick entry and supports a progression in thermal performance analysis from getting quick answers in early design to detailed analysis in later design phases. HEED’s strength is not only related to its strong GUI and ease of use, but also its ability to compare multiple design alternatives and above all, its ability to consistently provide the design guidelines for

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different

climate

zones.

eQUEST

has

many

common strong points with IES VE, in particular its extensive capabilities in modeling conventional components or systems, however it is very constrained when it comes to unconventional building components or systems. In the second category, comes ECOTECT (61%), DB (58%), GBS (58%) and E10 (57%) with less agreement among respondents. Although these four tools are popular and are known for having friendly GUI and varied graphical output features, respondents reported a common weakness: mainly, the difficulty to integrate the tools with the architectural design process. The tools lack the flexibility to facilitate the design process moving from conceptual to detailed design. Additionally, they lack the extensiveness, which make them always used with at least one or more other tool. EPSU (40%), EP (36%) and DOE-2 (29%) came in the third and last category. This result was expected. Many respondents criticized the EPSU because it works well only for fairly simple geometry and building description (wall, roof, floor, etc.). Apart from that, it should be noted that in this paper the tools were ranked against criteria (1) and (2). In the second phase of the research, the ten tools will be compared against (3) IBM and (4) AASDC. Integration of Intelligent Design Knowledge- Base This survey revealed that architects want the IIKB BPS tools. There is no doubt that using BPS tools requires analysis, technical savvy and the ability to interpret results. But most architects need consistent information that assist the design optimization process and guide them into building science designs. A design tool for an architect should educate as well as inform the architect on the assumptions that are behind the results. In contrast, the examined tools are far from the integration of an intelligent knowledge- base and do not embrace an integrated design approach that include architects, engineers and constructors. Usability and Information Management of Interface Respondents identified the UIM of the interface as the second important priority for an ‘Architect Friendly’ tool. This survey showed that respondents are looking towards a greater ease of

use

of

GUI.

Architects

need

a

tool

that

provides

graphical output,

representation of simulation input

simple

navigation,

flexible

and and

customizable

control,

in

addition

to

intelligent

default features. They would like simulation in a 3D environment,

to to

build their be able to

create

comparative

reports

for

multiple

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