Designing buildings with energy consumption in mind is the topic of a free new architect guide by the American Institute of Architects.
The guide aims to help architects more accurately predict energy usage in their design projects and better understand the concept of “energy modeling.”
An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process is an 86-page step-by-step roadmap to predicting and thereby reducing the energy usage of buildings from the outset, the organization says.
A complimentary copy can be downloaded here in either Tablet or PC/Mac formats.
Written and assembled by a committee of architects, sustainability experts, and government building- science officials, and AIA staff, the guide surveys a wide swath of the building design and construction industry to present baseline best practices for empirically evaluating the energy performance of buildings, AIA says.
According to the report, “energy modeling,” in its most simple form, is a calculation engine that accepts inputs such as building geometry, system characteristics and operations schedules and produces outputs such as performance and compliance reports.
Beyond defining and making a case for energy modeling, this guide walks readers through different types of energy modeling and the individual tools and software available for it, AIA says.
The publication is divided into seven sections.
• Energy is a Design Problem
• Why Should Architects Care about Energy Modeling?
• Performance Design Process
• Performance Analysis and Modeling
• Current Tools
• Our Future Begins Today
• Additional Resources and Credits
Because energy modeling is a relatively new technical specialty, the guide also discusses how to bring the concept to other building team members, like engineers, contractors and clients, AIA says.
“From initial exploratory design concepts to code compliance and ongoing energy maintenance, this manual covers the entire spectrum of design and building,” according to the organization.
Considering Energy ‘Early and Often’
“Energy modeling is fast becoming a more useful means to better inform major design decisions early and often throughout the building design process,” according to AIA President, Jeff Potter, FAIA.
The guide can help practitioners lead their clients toward energy-efficiency goals, green-code compliance and building-certification programs, he added.
“It is imperative for the entire design and construction industry to be cognizant of the energy use implication buildings have, in terms of limited resources, climate change, and rising utility costs. This guide provides the energy modeling fundamentals that can serve the client’s high expectations and ultimately reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Helping Owners Meet Targets
New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities nationwide have passed regulations requiring nonresidential building owners to measure and report their buildings’ annual energy use, AIA said.
“By employing energy modeling during the design phase, it will become much easier for building owners to meet energy efficiency targets,” AIA notes.