Energy modeling processes involve collecting building design data: construction documents, product specs, ASHRAE, owner's goals, utility bills and communications with design teams. Our modelers then create a virtual copy of the building within DOE approved simulation software. After data is input, reports are run calculating the energy use throughout an operational year with multiple design scenarios. From these reports it can be determined if the proposed building will perform to ASHRAE, Green Building and/or project goals. By involving us early in the process, major design changes like building orientations or shell and mechanical adjustments become much more manageable.

For existing construction renovations or additions energy modeling can model the affects of design choices. Design decisions can result in unexpected and unwanted consequences. Energy modeling can replicate the building down to its building materials so you and your clients can feel confident making final design decisions.

Energy modeling is not only meant for viewing energy consumption (though helpful), it can also show solar collection samples, air movement, natural day lighting, and heat transfer. Building information modeling covers geometry, spatial relationships, light analysis, geographic information, process and non-process loads, quantities and properties of individual building components from manufacturers.

The Energy Modeler’s role in a project requires a close working relationship with the architect, lighting and mechanical designers throughout the design process to ensure an integrated building design. This approach facilitates critical decision-making regarding the impacts of the building envelope, the day-lighting and interior lighting systems and the size of the heating, ventilation and cooling equipment. Accordingly, the Energy Modeler’s initial project involvement will occur during the schematic and early design development phase of the project to produce maximum impact. Green Ideas recommends performing energy analysis early enough in the design process to help the design team make design decisions that will affect energy consumption and comfort.

During the Schematic Design phase, the Energy Modeler will work with design team to develop a preliminary list of energy conservation measures (ECMs) and HVAC system alternatives that will be evaluated for the project. These ECMs typically include alternatives for wall and roof construction, window type and location, natural day-lighting opportunities, high-efficiency package unitary equipment, etc.

The Energy Model will then be developed for an hourly computer model of the schematic design using the software program. Using this model, PSDI will develop a minimally compliant (ASHRAE 90.1) model of the facility. This baseline model will serve as the basis for evaluating potential energy efficiency measures and system alternatives. The design team will be provided with the expected overall performance of the facility as well the economic viability (simple payback and life-cycle cost) of each of the energy efficiency opportunities.

At the end of Construction Document phase, the Energy Modeler will reconcile the computer model of the facility to reflect the final building design. At this time, the Energy Modeler will complete the Green Building documentation.