A new version Ecodesigner for Archicad 15 has been released and considering the CRAZY(Huge ) amounts of exciting new features and tools that Archicad 15 has been upgraded with(not that we complaining:-) it only seems fitting that Ecodesigner gets an upgrade too.
Ecodesigner still functions on the same principles but offer more for the user.An improved user interface as well as much more detailed evaluation sheets are a few of the programs new features,keeping in mind that Ecodesigner is an Addon for Archicad yet still stands its own against its competitors and other standalone energy effieciency programs and just seems to be getting better and better.
The new energy evaluation sheet still has the similar key value section which displays the project information as well as the building geometry data,building shell performance data,heat transfer coeffiecients and the buildings annual demands which breaks the annual demands down per square metre.
Ecodesigner sheet offers a further breakdown of energy consumption by sources.These graphs display the renewable energy and electricity consumption per annum as well as the cost of that energy and the annual Carbon Emissions.
The Energy balance Evaluation further breakdowns the electrical energy usage and has accompanying graphs as well as the carbon emissions breakdown with accompanying graphs.These graphs basically show you how your electricity is being allocated as per percentage and the same goes for carbon emissions,which elements of your building are producing the most carbon emissions.
If your building is using renewable green energy then these graphs also show in which sectors it is being utilized with its percentages.
Lastly the monthly energy balance sheet shows the monthly evaluation graph shows the supplied energy to the building and the emitted energy per annum and basically shows the what is supplied to the building in terms of the building requirements and emitted is the buidlings energy given off and breakdowns what your building gives per annum eg in this case our building gives off a lot of mechanical cooling per annum.
The new sheets are 40+percent more detailed than the previous version and provides much more detailed breakdown of the buildings current situation.
What amazes me is how versatile this little addon is,and when I say little i dont mean little as in capabilities,but little as in how it is fractionally priced in comparison to its competitors,the programs offers features like detailed carbon emission calculations,energy consumption calculations reports yet it can also be used as a design simulation tool.
To better describe this,previously an Architects had to make assumptions or take the manufacturers word on how certain materials would perform in his building,with ecodesigner we can simulate that situation and generate reports on how these materials perform in the building,this assists the architect in making smarter design choices,as long as the architect obtains the materials thermal performance specifications from the manufacturer which are the thermal conductivity of that material,its density and its heat capacity which will assist Ecodesigner in assigning correct u values to the materials ,he is then able to compare the use of different materials for a specific function.Insulation from manufacturer A vs a more expensive insulation with with better thermal specs and see exactly how much of a difference it makes to his bulding performance.These days theres is no need to making assumptions or wing it as the tool to make detailed evaluations and reports are available to Architects.
Whats is great about it now you can properly evaluate what has been a burden to architects and builders for many years,the intial cost of building vs the long term to maintain/run the building.
Like most things in life,if you want better quality its more than likely you have to pay more for it,so does one spend a bit more on quality tested materials initially when building the property or does one use the cheaper alternative cause as many say that it will work and do the job,not realising the risk that one takes when doing this.Fine ,it works ,you saved a few thousands but it might end up costing you many more thousands in the long term to run this building.Its now costing more to cool and heat the building because of energy consuming heating and cooling devices that your building now requires. If you had just spent a bit extra initially,unfortunately its one of those hard life lessons that are only learnt over the years and through others experiences.
Ecodesigner allows you to simulate your building with the cheaper materials and calculates your buildings performance as well as the energy required by your mechanical heating and cooling devices and the cost in Rand value it takes to run them annually as well as simulate your same building with smarter design choices and materials and the cost in rand value to run that building annually.So it allows you to weigh your various options which was not possible in the past.
In a nutshell the new cad environment allows for simulation of various scenarios over certain time periods which assist designers and architects of this age to make more smarter informed design choices thus designing more energy efficient buildings.