Tools for Sustainable Design

The race to a Sustainable AEC Industry has started long time ago but still many important stakeholders seem to not be aware of the responsibility that they have. When disregarding completely any efficient performance of a project is very hard to implement any real solution that could make a project more sustainable. But in order to achieve a more sustainable architecture and urbanism we do not necessary have to get into more expensive solutions.
The design of a building is what influence the most in its energy performance. The decisions that we make during the concept stage, the way we shape the geometry of a project is what is going to determine how it is going to behave from the energy consumption point of view.  If we do not design having this considerations in mind it will cost more and will be more difficult to make a building efficient.

Basically designers have the most important role in the process that will allow a project to be sustainable or not. So it is in the hands of Architects this responsibility. Design solutions like orientation of glazing, shading, sizes and thickness of the envelope of the building, geometry of the volumes, insertion on the site, location of vegetation, materiality of the project, etc.. are decisions that belong to the design.
But fortunately for us we have a good deal of tools that help us to understand how our design is behaving in relation with its environment. We can analyse during the early design stage how our design is going to perform from the energetic point of view. And of course then during the development of the project itself a lot of more inputs also coming from other disciplines can be added to the process.

At Enzyme we work in BIM from the beginning of every project to make the process and the outcome more efficient. We also use the connection with computational tools to be able to play and analyse the parameters of the project with more freedom. ARCHICAD is the best BIM software for architecture and its connection with Rhino and Grasshopper makes us able to combine these workflows in a very efficient way.

There are many solutions in the market to control the energy performance of the project even at the early design stage. These are those we are currently implementing in our projects:
Energy Evaluation – ARCHICAD

The built-in energy evaluation functionality of ARCHICAD uses StruSoft’s VIPcore calculation engines. It enables architects to perform improved energy evaluation based on standard-compliant technology, supporting multiple thermal blocks. As a result, designers can perform dynamic and accurate energy calculations, starting at the early design stages. The calculation input data and the evaluation results can be shared in various formats including PDF, XLS and IFC.

Eco Designer Star – ARCHICAD
It is built to serve highly energy-efficient building design by turning ARCHICAD Building Information Models (BIM) into multiple thermal zone Building Energy Models (BEM).  Architects can now enjoy the benefits of high-end building energy performance simulation and reporting without leaving ARCHICAD.  Low and net-zero energy building design is made easy for architects worldwide.
It is referenced by most major sustainable building design regulations worldwide, including LEED, Green STAR, BREEAM, DGNB and CASBEE, as well as most national standards that endorse dynamic simulation (e.g. ASNRAE 90.1, NatHERS, BCA Section J).

Lady Bug – Rhino Grasshopper
Ladybug allows you to import and analyse standard weather data in Grasshopper; draw diagrams like Sun-path, wind-rose, radiation-rose, etc; customise the diagrams in several ways; run radiation analysis, shadow studies, and view analysis.

It calculates the amount of Sun rays (vectors) that hit the points of a mesh. In this way is easy to extract the information of how much sun radiation a geometry is receiving.

And these are just some of the many tools we can implement in our workflow to make our Design more sustainable. We encourage our clients, partners, collaborators and friends to have a more sustainable approach to architecture and urban design. It is easy and can be done without much effort in order to fulfil our responsibility with the environment.
Thank you for reading us!