E-Solution Eases Energy-Efficiency Evaluation


Predicting a building's energy-saving potential early in the design process can be tricky.

While software exists to make such evaluations, it's an expensive, labor-intensive process to prepare the input to accurately represent the building and it's efficiency features—a process that is often put off until it's too late to take full advantage of viable economical options for increasing energy efficiency.

The Green Building Studio (GBS) is hoping to change this pattern. The free web-based service, funded by the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program and the California Utilities, lets designers integrate whole-building energy analysis into the early stages of the design process. Engineers and architects can communicate a building's geometry to GBS via their CAD systems, and GBS conducts an energy analysis. As such, it lets the design team explore the energy impact of early decisions and look at alternatives and share design information easily.

GBS is enabled by Green Building XML (gbXML), a software that allows the simple transfer of information with 3-D CAD systems. Regional building standards and codes are built into the equation, allowing the system to make intelligent assumptions about systems based on their location and climate. For facilities in California, the system also performs an analysis using building equipment assumptions based on the Savings By Design program, a utility-run effort to improve building efficiency. This option can be used to compare a Title 24-compliant building and a high-efficiency alternative.

GBS also allows designers to revise their CAD models to compare the energy impact of multiple scenarios as determined by varying design and product decisions, building orientation and multi-level vs. single-level designs.

According to PIER, GBS is suitable for any new construction or major renovation projects. For more information visit www.greenbuildingstudio.com .

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