July 05, 2010
Climate and the Built Environment – Bio-Climatic Analysis
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Climate and the Built Environment - Bio-Climatic Analysis
By Susan Smith
The newly released version 6.1 of Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) software suite includes among other features, a new Bio-Climatic feature within VE-Gaia.
Richard Quincey, Technical Director for IES, filled in AECWeekly on the importance of bio-climatic analysis and the features of the Bio-Climatic feature in version 6.1.
AECWeekly: What is Bioclimatic analysis?
In architecture there is a persistent organic theme of using the environment to inform built form, both urban and building; obviously vernacular architecture does this intuitively, but in the latter half of the 20th century people have explored this theme such that cause and effect are explained.
Greatest interest in this has occurred at times of energy crisis. Now with climate change, there is demand for solutions that are climate responsive and climate adaptive. Some of this subject is taught in universities so it has a familiarity and attractiveness, especially to architects; indeed some of our testing was done with students and younger professionals.
The reason why this theme has not been leveraged extensively in the past is that it is very broad and deep and the logic is somewhat fuzzy. Manually doing it properly is complex, difficult and very time consuming. Thus few have been able to master it and turn it to everyday use; however the desire is still there.
IES have researched the subject globally and developed the logic to a level where we can automate it.
AECWeekly: What is the tool?
This release is the first version of this feature:
AECWeekly: What does it do?
It carries out a number of analyses that are very time consuming and difficult to do manually:
AECWeekly: What is it used for?
We have been using the product to rapidly understand the impact of climate on built form at a very early stage in design - you just need a location! It is simply a matter of a mouse click! It provides a valuable set of ideas or suggestions that one can use as a checklist of ideas.
It is instructive to look at how we have used it:
AECWeekly: What does it report?
The feature produces a report that works in sections starting from a summary of the climate through headline design priorities, urban design and then built form right down to the level of insulation, thermal mass and window arrangements.
Obviously it does not know your site or building, but its purpose is to provide a lexicon of ideas and responses - it is up to the user to explore and apply further and to this end references are also given where possible to the best detail knowledge sources.
It has been tested on many locations in Australia, India, USA, Europe against independent & vernacular advice.
AECWeekly: How does Bio-Climatic Analysis interface with CAD or BIM programs such as Revit?
The Bio-Climatic feature is part of VE-Gaia. VE-Gaia users (and in fact users of any of our tools) can interface with CAD or BIM programs such as Revit or SketchUp using our plug-ins, or via our gbXML/DXF import capabilities. For more information visit the
website . With regards to weather data and the plug-ins, there are a number of weather files linked to the 'set location' function which will be used as default. However, there is the facility to change the file as many times as the user likes once the model has been imported into VE-Gaia.
Top News of the Week
called StormCAD for U.K.) comply with the stormwater modeling requirements of the United Kingdom.
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Autodesk, Inc. unveiled a family of software suites for visual, factory and plant design. The new suites will offer increased functionality, interoperability and provide users with a superior user experience through a simpler, more cost-effective purchasing and deployment process.
The suites for visual, plant and factory design are the first releases of the new family of design suites aimed to address industry workflows. The design suites will provide strong interoperability between the products, and a range of capabilities for design and visualization.
Autodesk, Inc. announced the availability of Autodesk Topobase 2011 products and Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2011 software, new tools that help customers manage infrastructure assets more effectively and plan for the future. With these products, infrastructure professionals can get a broader understanding of the location and status of their assets and more easily share information over the web.
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.
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