Building design has improved dramatically over the centuries. In the 20th century, architects and builders figured out how to build hundred-story skyscrapers. At that time, standard protocol was to design a stable building first and adjust heating and cooling elements later. That approach is quickly becoming outdated, thanks to energy modeling.
Defining Energy Modeling
Energy modeling is a pre-construction, whole-building assessment of energy efficiency that uses computer programs for calculations. A model of the entire building is created on a computer. That model is then run through computer simulations to show energy performance, usually for an entire year based on meteorological information.
Energy modeling accounts for all systems within a building and examines how they impact each other. For instance, while a certain lighting system may be extremely bright, it may release excessive heat that the building’s cooling system must offset in the summer months.
An energy modeling program can even incorporate data on human usage – right down to details about the heat and respiration humans expel. An energy model also includes data on local weather patterns.
Here are a few more beneficiaries of energy modeling:
•Building owners– Energy modeling helps them maximize investment before construction.
•Building occupants – Energy modeling helps keep tenants comfortable throughout the year, while also cutting down on their energy bill costs.
•Engineers – Energy modeling allows engineers to see important data all in one place, without referring to dozens of enormous, unwieldy spreadsheets.
•Manufacturers – Those who create construction materials love energy modeling because it allows them to showcase their products’ energy efficiency and long-term cost savings prior to construction.
•Environment – Buildings hog a large portion of our energy expenditure. If every new building was optimized for energy efficiency with energy modeling, we could significantly cut our energy usage and carbon footprint.
Overall, energy modeling is an essential component to any building design and can dramatically improve both the efficiency and functioning of buildings.