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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2008
     
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2008 edited
     
    Ah, if only I hadn't spent the last five years learning Tas.

    Revit is awsome and will make a very powerful combination with IES
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2008
     
    So who will Tas chum up with? Dassault Catia?
    •  
      CommentAuthorali.gill
    • CommentTimeMay 1st 2008
     
    just reading over this and toms question over whether hot300 is free for commercial use is unanswered yet. i'll try and look into it but if anyone else knows the answer...
    also what happened to agu, he's picked up hot3000 and run off without telling us what its like.
    any thoughts on designbuilder - anyone.. ?

    i know they used ies on terminal five but i'm not sure whether it was buddied up with revit on that project.
    • CommentAuthordelboy
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2008
     
    Hi all

    I have tried to learn IES but found it to be a complete nightmare to use. Incredibly unintuitive and easy to make a mistake, meaning that you're never quite sure if the result you have is accurate or if you've missed a vital piece of info, like including the correct rate of thermal bridging in the right areas etc.

    However, I imagine that if you could tame the beast, it could be a handy bit of kit, but I reckon you'd need to spend WEEKS figuring it out.

    I've not used it, but I understand that DesignBuilder is much more logical to a humanoid - http://www.designbuilder.co.uk/. I THINK that it is also approved software for Part L2 compliance reports, but don't quote me on that. IES may have approval for some / all of Part L compliance as well.

    Finally, although it may not be as powerful as IES, DesignBuilder is far cheaper (£800). I think the full IES suite is in the region of £20k/year, although it's unlikely many would need the whole lot as not many people are experts in all its software fields eg M&E, valuation, CFD etc, and prices drop as you shed bits of software - I think the hideous CAD-style front end and the thermal simulation package is nearer £3,000/year, which is still a lot more than DesignBuilder's one-off fee of £799.

    Ultimately it's worth considering the value of any of these simulation software systems. Regs require a calculation through approved software for an EPC and I would suggest that this is about as far as you should go with this stuff - I simply can't trust a programme to be as accurate and specific about so many things (eg solar gain on an internal wall, dewpoints etc). Theory only goes so far and more often than not is contradicted by some unpredictable reality.

    Here endeth the lesson.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2008 edited
     
    "IES laUNCHES FREE GREEN BUILDING DESIGN SOFTWARE FOR rEVIT" HTTP://WWW.IESVE.COM/VE-WARE (sorry, caplock), whose only means of inputting the 3D model is by import from Revit - an end to IES's native 3D modeller, which if anything like Tas is hopelessly clunky. It's a cut-down version of IES.

    Also, Bentley (Microstation) is now making big noise about green design, so we should soon see the fruits of their purchase of Uk's Hevacomp, incl. their (American) dynamic simulation tool.

    And while we're at it, Bentley is now offering Generastive Components plus Microstation V8 for $250! - as a standalone 3D parametric geometry generator capable of exporting to Autocad or whatever you have. Snag being that MS V8 within this package is crippled to only work in GC mode - so not a cheap way to get MS V8 as such. Also McNeel Rhino has acquired a comparable 3D generative modeller.

    All this from http://www.aecmag.com
  1.  
    Autodesk/Revit have also just bought Ecotect

    Graphisoft need to watch out or they will be left out in the cold soon...
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2008 edited
     
    The trouble with all of this is that it is not easy to just import a 3D model into Thermal software such as IES or Tas. I have used ArchiCAD and Revit as well as Tas. Importing a 2D dwg is fine. Importing 3D, at least into Tas is laughable - Architectural and Environmental software parameters are like apples and oranges. By the time you make all the necessary changes to an import you may just as well have not bothered - sorry chaps.
  2.  
    You are right Mike, you end up doing twice the work. However by the looks of it Autodesk, through Revit might be taking the bull by the horns and will try and intergrate the two areas. After all, if BIM is the future than enviromental analysis must be a big part of the modelling process.

    where Ecotect gets it right is that it allows initial design ideas to be tested fairly easily before you are too far down the design road.

    A cross between Sketchup and ecotect for the initial design ideas would be a good start, just so that you know you are going in the right direction, with a seamless transfer over to a more complex CAD program later.

    I think someone can do it and who everdoes will take the market. By the looks of it Autodesk have realised the importance of BIM and eco analysis too now.

    Mike, how do you think Revit compares to ArchiCAD? With th eway things are going do you think its worth learning? is it much dif from ArchiCAD?
  3.  
    ArchiCAD and Revit are very different indeed in terms of command functions.

    ArchiCAD is awesome for 3D animations. Revit not in the same league.

    In terms of front end ease of use - the other way around. If you can use AutoCAD, you will pick up Revit easy enough. I have some tutorials which are very good - let me know if you want them.

    On balance, I think Revit edges it, mainly because of the seamless integration out of [and back into] AutoCAD. Takes so long converting Archicad files it may as well be impossible [at least up to version 9] Maybe different in other areas of Europe as ArchiCAD is used as more of an all in one package over there isn't it? Ie No need to export to Auto CAD

    As far as the environmental software is concerned. Tas is without doubt the one to go for at present. It is the only software validated for both Part L compliance and Level 5 EPC's. http://www.ukreg-accreditation.org/ND-ApprovedSoftware.html Not sure if others are trying to gain acreditation or if they will get it
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2008 edited
     
    Interesting you've re established your trust in your chosen Tas, Mike, after wondering about the others. Why do you think Tas seems to maintain splendid independence, when all the others are being swallowed?

    I remember, in the infancy of BIM, 1994 Bentley bought Bricswork, out of 2 or 3 alternatives, and turned it into Microstation TriForma. 14yrs later, it's still starved of development, inflexible, its clever parametrics non-extendable and limited to standard (actually, naive) solutions, but no worse in that respect than its competition. Wonder if the thermal modellers will progress any faster.

    Maybe Dassault Catia will put a bomb under them all, after the Revit bomb that fizzled.
  4.  
    Thanks for the info mike, very interesting. From what you say Im going to go an dhave a look at Tas now.
  5.  
    Tom, I do trust Tas for what it is accredited to do. Ie Part L compliance and EPC's. It is the research stuff we have discussed previously which I am unsure of. That remains the case. I think using any software to do things outside of the accreditation parameters is unwise until the results can be at least considered by the software developers.

    I think it remains independent because of the link up issues with Architectural software - Apples and Oranges - Don't see how exporting from one to the other can be achieved - Hope I'm wrong.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2008
     
    Oh I quite understand about the 'outside of accreditation' stuff - apart from that, I thought you were wondering if you'd backed the right horse, a little while back. Link up issues - same for all of them, isn't it - but the others are getting bought up regardless.
  6.  
    Sorry if the last post came across in the wrong way - wasn't intended to.

    Anyway, I think it is the right horse now. The EPC option seals it for me. I can't keep track of all the others, so don't know why they are attractive to be bought up - but Tas really is on its own in terms of the interface -unlike anything else I have used - that's the only reason I can think of.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2008
     
    You mean the interface once it's time to start defining the attributes of the elements you've modelled - yes that is very good - but shame about the modelling module - that really could use a rework by a proper CAD developer, even accepting that the Tas model has to be greatly simplified compared to (though thermally equivalent to) a typical CAD model.
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2008 edited
     
    When I said its on its own, I didn't mean that it was particularly good, but that it is unlike anything else - especially CAD software. The closest similarity is with ArchiCAD but then that is nothing like AutoCAD which would be most users package of choice ?
  7.  
    Tom,

    From REUTERS http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS149469+30-Jun-2008+BW20080630

    Bentley Expands Building Energy Analysis Software Portfolio Through New Exclusive Worldwide Agreement

    Combination of Environmental Design Solutions' Tas Software and Bentley's Hevacomp Line Makes Bentley the Global Leader in Building Analysis and Simulation Products
  8.  
    I would also have a look at designbuilder. It is based on the energy+ simulation engine one of the most robust, the graphical inteface is one of the best I have seen, it is much cheaper than both ies or tas. creating a building is realtively simple. Ecotect may become a dynamic modelling package as it has just been bought by autodesk, so may also be worth considering. I have used all four packages, TAS being the longest since 1997 and I have taught it to students including Mike George on this foum and published refereed papers on the use of it in practice. However, I really like the feel of designbuilder and it has an opengl modeller. you can export models to sketchup. the tutorials are excellent. In fact I am looking at teaching designbuilder to architectural design and technology students in the academic year starting in september this year. www.designbuilder.co.uk :bigsmile:
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2008
     
    Well well - I knew it, from one little hint first time I rang EDSL. Tas + Bentley Generative Components (GC)! Bentley always the dark horse. You did back the right one Mike, and so did I - Microstation + Triforma owner since 1994 but currently Autocad 2d just because everyone else does. Time to upgrade!
    • CommentAuthorPaulZED
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2008
     
    hmmm...where do I start.

    As a specialist in this field for the last 10 years or so(and ex-IES employee), let me give you my humble opinions:

    IES - nice easy software to produce things quickly. The link with revit is good I suppose but only if you want to bring in the geometry, nothing else of use that you have put into the model. In terms of simulation it's good and quick and can produce results fairly easily without too much effort. The question comes in as to accurate plant modelling. It currently uses a coefficient based methodology which is okay, but isn't full plant system modelling. That is unless you use the HVAC module. There are only a handful of people that I know that can actually use that module effectively as it is pretty complicated to use properly.

    TAS - geometry is bound to be improved soon with the tie up with Bentley. I think this is a very good move for EDSL. Currently only tool level 5 Energy Performance Certified due to it's inherent plant system modelling from first principles. This is and always has been it's strength. I suppose at the moment it's only weakness is the geometry input, but that is bound to change soon.

    DesignBuilder - This is good tool and especially for the money. It is very easy to work with and makes a lot of tasks easy. It has essentially the best bits of IES and TAS slung together in a much more upto date front end. The chaps developing this essentially developed the front end for IES and a lot of the thermal stuff to it's predecessor FACET. The energy+ simulation engine is really really slow if you want to use it on any big buildings though so beware, it took us 4 days to run a school, which probably would have taken 1/2 day tops in IES/TAS.

    Ecotect - Now that its autodesk owned it's bound to get pulled into their products somehow. It's strength has always been with architecural integration and this is how it still fits best. The solar and daylighting tools outputs are much better than in IES and TAS in my own view. It can alledgely link with some serious CFD engines, though I've never got them to talk properly. That being the case it would be really good.

    Hevacomp - this suffers from the same issues as designbuilder in speed due to using energy+. Good that it links up with CHAM CFD and that the cut down version of that is available to it's users cheapily.

    Others:

    Builddesk Carbon Checker - cheap EPC/Part L tool. Relatively easy to use, nice workflow wizard used in it.
    ESP-r - the daddy of all simulation tools really. Hard to understand, but really good if you can.
    E-Quest - popular american tool that is good if you are doing LEED assessment. No real graphical interface though in terms of model generation.


    There are others but not really
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2008
     
    PaulZED, great to read such an overview - what kind of work do you do within 'this field'? Are you able to keep up with latest versions of these?

    A few questions arise - 'the best bits of IES and Tas' - which bits of each?
    ESP-r - do you know anything about its implementation as the engine behind Canadian Hot-3000's front end? Bearing in mind that Hot3000 is free.

    Do you have any insight into what it would take to properly model heat flows through large blocks of solid subsoil, like 20m cubed, including heat distribution in and out via air or water/thermofluid pipes? You mention CFD, and Wiki-ing that I noticed discussion of breaking the volume of the fluid down into cubic modules - like 3D pixels I suppose - smaller the cube the higher the resolution of the model. Any idea how small cube size would be need to be, to reliably simulate heat flow in subsoil?
    • CommentAuthorPaulZED
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2008
     
    Tom,

    Thanks. This is my core business. I've been involved in Energy in Buildings in one way or another for the last 20 years and have for the last 10 or so been interested in Building Physics - My Phd is in Natural Ventilation Design Modelling and I continue to strive to keep up on the leading edge of the technology (where possible).

    Best bits of IES - geometry building is simple, speed of simulation good, templates functions for copying data inputs, nice link to Radiance for daylighting calcs, etc.
    Tas - more accurate than IES generally, but also better macro generation of results. Ability to just draw the perimeter of building then divide up with partitions rather than creating edge linked spaces (as in IES).

    Don't know too much about Hot3000 even though I do have a copy here. Not got round to using it.

    In terms of subsoil modlling you could use Therm probably. If not a conjugate heat transfer CFD model would also be possible. A grid sensitivity test would be required for the modelling of the heat flow and that would determine the size of the grid and how defined it would need to be. Not sure on the required size of cell though.

    Paul
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2008
     
    That's useful, ey Mike? thanks paulZED.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2008 edited
     
    Just noticed in CADUser online, reviewing latest Revit features:

    Sustainability Options
    Finally, the ability of Revit to exchange information with energy analysis and building performance applications has also been enhanced. You can export Revit models, complete with all building information including materials and room volumes, to services such as those available from Green Building Studio, Inc, and IES Limited, using green building extensible markup language gbXML.

    This means that the supposed breakthrough, whereby IES could apparently import a 3D model direct from Revit, instead of having to build the simplified thermal-relevant model from scratch in IES, is not that. gbxml, created by Autocad Green Building Studio, has been around for a while and aims to import from Autocad and, I understood, various other CAD formats into several of the thermal modelers including Tas - but I've heard it's very clunky, and don't know anyone who's tried it.

    Correction - gbxml is not just an Autocad thing - http://www.gbxml.org - needs looking into.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2008 edited
     
    Seems Bentley and EDSL were on stage together as early as Nov 2006, discussing "how can we get models into their systems for analysis" etc, From http://www.construct-it.org.uk/pages/events/members_meetings/November_2006/Members%27%20Meeting%20Autumn%202006%20Summary.htm :

    Construct IT Autumn 2006 Members' Meeting in conjunction with IAI/buildingSMART, 15th & 16th November in Manchester.

    Next, a panel session focused on how we make interoperability more effective. The panel consisted of leading energy analysis software vendors - EDSL, TAS and Bentley Systems - and was chaired by an industry representative - Miles Walker (HOK International Ltd.). Miles opened the session with a short video on climate change and followed this with an industry perspective, discussing HOK's commitment to the IAI/buildingSMART and the recent live demonstration of buildingSMART at the HOK Board of Directors meeting in San Francisco, April 2006. Sue Pavey (EDSL), Brendan McFarlane (DDS) and Volker Thein (Bentley Systems) then each focused on demonstrating interoperability in how can we get models into their systems for analysis, what do users have to include in their models and what level of detail do the models need to be, and how can we get effective results out during the design process.
    •  
      CommentAuthorali.gill
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2008
     
    just reading this article it seems the ies.ve have now produced their first epc using the dsm software.
    http://www.buildingtalk.com/news/inm/inm121.html
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2008
     
    Do we think that such a Level 5 EPC would accurately reflect reality - or is it just a flawed formula needing evolution? How about a Level 4 EPC? How would both stand relative to a HIPS energy certificate?
    •  
      CommentAuthorali.gill
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2008
     
    i think in terms of energy performance certificates it would be interesting to see the differing dynamic simulation software compared against each other on the same property to see if there's any difference in results and therefore certificate grading... and then as tom says, consider the results against sbem (non.dom epc's level 3 and 4) and sap, or even rdsap being used for domestic epc's.
    I imagine to carry out all of the assessments above and a real thermal analysis would cost in excess of £10,000 .

    In any product review one of the key indicators is price and with hot3000 being licence free and open source surely that puts it head and shoulders above the others.?
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2008
     
    Posted By: ali.gillsbem (non.dom epc's level 3 and 4) and sap, or even rdsap being used for domestic epc's
    thanks for summarising that hierarchy - got it now. Do levels 1 and 2 exist? Is there a level 6 and above? Who invented this classification and where's it written?
   
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