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Energy Modeling: Towards Energy Efficient Buildings

Posted by: Bhushan Avastthi | Posted on: August 8th, 2014


There is a heightened public awareness and an increased focus on the efficient use of energy globally. Consequently, Green building design remains in the spotlight. Developers, architects and engineers increasingly rely on energy modeling to evaluate energy consumption in buildings. Based on these evaluations energy efficient buildings are developed.

Factors that Influence Energy Performance of a Building

A building’s energy performance can be defined by several design elements and factors like the basic structure and the geometric formation of a building, its orientation, envelope properties like glazing, wall, roofing, and floor insulation, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and cooling systems and last but not the least, the functional uses of a building. Efficient and aligned designing for all these prime energy spending influencers can translate into an energy efficient house.

Energy Simulation in Building Design

Energy simulation in a building design allows the involved architects and engineers visualize how, energy is consumed and for what reasons. Based on these visualizations the areas that have the highest potential of enabling energy savings and cutting down energy bills can be identified. An energy model, allows comparative analysis between the proposed design and the altered design, making it the best tool for taking energy efficiency design decisions.

Energy simulations facilitate a better understanding of how building systems interact, hence also facilitate the identification of means to reduce equipment sizing. It can also help designers understand how and where they can use solar panels; wind turbines etc and optimize the use of renewable energy. Additionally it also assists in availing green building certifications.

Energy Modeling Management – Groundwork

Before energy modeling for a particular building begins, the involved experts and managers need to do some groundwork and collect some essential statistics, based on which the energy simulations can be developed.

The process requires experts to:

  • Understand and evaluate the general operating parameters of a building
  • Verify the location and geometrical composition of a building
  • Identify the preferred building materials for use
  • Determine the interior load values e.g. lighting, occupancy and plug loads
  • Consider HVAC factors like roof top units, VAV etc.
  • Evaluate the local, state zoning requirements for a project

Energy efficiency is a good and beneficial value proposition for prospective buyers, developers, designers, owners and the society as a whole. Developing a robust building design by using energy modeling helps go green and save money at the same time. The benefits of a green building design are that, one can save money sue to reduced utility bills and there is an improved system interaction across the buildings lifecycle.

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About Author:

Bhushan Avsatthi

Bhushan Avsatthi is a senior manager, consultant, BIM expert and a green building advisor with more than 15 years of industry experience. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advices his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like nonprofit tree plantation project and promotes using cycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan, handles a team of architects, Structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modeling experts.