April 20, 2009
Green Buildings with Bentley’s Energy Performance Series
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Green Buildings with Bentley’s Energy Performance Series

By Susan Smith

In a recent webcast entitled “High Performance ‘Green Buildings’ Bentley Systems outlined their new Bentley Energy Performance Series, which encompasses technology derived from some recent acquisitions made in the energy performance space.

Huw Roberts spoke about Bentley’s position in the markets they serve: in building performance their global business earns 56 percent revenues internationally, and 44 percent from North America. The software is used by 90 percent of the top 500 firms in the world, according to Roberts, and the company has approximately 2800 colleagues in 50 countries, with revenues reported for 2008 at over $500 million.

In previous articles on sustainable design some of the following statistics have been cited: the fact that in the U.S., the U.S. Energy Commission reports that buildings account for the majority of energy usage. Buildings account for 39 percent of energy use, 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 65 percent waste and 71 percent of electricity consumption.

In addition building owners are putting increasing demand on the building industry to deliver high performance buildings.

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) defines the criteria for such buildings in the following categories: cost effectiveness, safety and security, aesthetics, sustainability, historic preservation, accessibility, productivity and functionality.

In the webcast Bentley focused on the “sustainability criteria.” As the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program is becoming the standard by which we measure sustainability in buildings in the U.S., it is rapidly emerging as a reference standard around the world. It defines the sustainability of buildings in these five criteria: sustainable sites, indoor and environmental quality, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency and material resources. Bentley focused on energy and atmosphere and indoor environmental quality for this webcast.

Roberts noted that in the UK, through BREEM, the industry has been demanding more energy efficient and higher environmental quality for many years. “This is probably the world’s most demanding environment for high performance energy efficient sustainable buildings,” he said. Now the U.S. government mandates energy performance certificates for all new and remodeled buildings and is extending that for buildings when they make a significant change in ownership or use as well. This type of government requirement is being replicated in many other countries around the world.

As a result of some of the early efforts at energy efficiency and green buildings, Roberts warned that many of the tools and approaches that are available in the U.S. and Canada today have resulted in many green buildings, that when built, perform badly. “There’s a lot of greenwashing going on,” he said. “The impact can be worse than the design that was promised. And in fact the energy performance may not match the predictions even closely. Operating costs can exceed the estimates, and most apparent to the users, the buildings can be uncomfortable or unhealthy, which reduces their performance of the mission they serve for the occupants and the businesses they

In response to the need to avoid this type of occurrence, Bentley announced the Bentley Energy Performance Series, which consists of Hevacomp Simulator V8i and Hevacomp Mechanical Designer V8i, both optimized for typical projects and utilize the industry standard Energy Plus engine. Bentley TAS Simulator V8i is the tool for the most complex building design.

Noah Eckhouse, vice president of the Building Performance Group, said that the Bentley Energy Performance series takes input from a variety of sources – wind, weather, solar, usage patterns and brings all of this together for the design simulation and analysis of the building. This series utilizes input from a variety of sources including BIM models, drawings and data, which produce a better building with lower operating costs and a better environment for occupants.

What you get is real time analysis with your results informed and available during design to act upon as you design, according to Eckhouse. “Secondly, the analysis is detailed and precise; it’s certified by government agencies and supports key industry standards. Finally, the tools are integrated with a heterogeneous workflow and with each other.”

Jim Barr, director of product management, said that ultimately the building owner benefits from a better building and more favorable economic returns. However the Energy Performance Series is intended for use by engineers, architects and those in the emerging role of “energy assessors.”

65% of the UK’s building services consulting firms use this software plus it is used in 28 countries. So this software is already well accepted by those responsible for energy performance in buildings.

Areas Analyzed and Simulated by the Energy Performance Series:
  • Weather Data
  • Solar Gains
  • Heat Gain and Loss and Peak Loading
  • Natural, Mechanical and Mixed-mode Ventilation
  • Renewable Energy Contribution Calculations
  • Day Lighting and Shadow Casting
  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air Flow
  • Energy Consumption and Cost
  • Duct, Pipe, and Plant Sizing
  • CO2Emissions
  • Building Composition

  • Codes, Standards, Methods Supported:
  • UK Building Regulations, Part L2, Levels 3-5
  • UK Building Regulations, Energy Performance Certificates
  • U.K. British Standards
  • ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004
  • LEED Energy and Atmosphere Credit 1
  • ASME
  • ANSI

  • Case Studies

    The following are case studies of buildings already using the Building Performance Series –

    The Digital Media Centre, Leicester, UK is an 11-floor mixed use facility that utilizes Hevacomp for all phases of the design and allows them to identify problems in the planned natural ventilation system partially supplied by the landlord or the building owner and rectified in the design phase. This eliminates costly occupant comfort issues and retrofit.

    click to enlarge [

    London Gherkin building

    At the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Hevacomp was used for full compliance from Part L of the UK Building Code for providing the required audit trail for quality assurance. One of the key outputs for Hevacomp was a required documentation for submission to building regulators. It is easy to use, accurate, comes out of the Hevacomp software and goes right to the government.

    TAS was used in the design of the Heron Tower, London. At 46 stories, it will be the tallest building in London, incorporating and modeling some really innovative ideas: a double skin with active shading natural ventilation, photovoltaic panels, and thermal wheels. The result was a truly high performance building that could be next big icon of the London skyline.

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