October 31, 2011
Sustainability Hub Extends Building Performance Analysis Tools Beyond AEC
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Sustainability Hub Extends Building Performance Analysis Tools Beyond AEC

By Susan Smith

Building performance analysis tools have never been this hot.

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) recently showcased its sustainable building design technology at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Greenbuild conference. Along with that they also announced their Sustainability Hub concept, which is a vision for the future of sustainable design advancements, according to Don McLean, founder and CEO of IES.



McLean said that the Sustainability Hub evolved from the need of organizations to be able to quantify, optimize and verify their goals through analysis. For building energy design, “There are a lot of products and some people don’t know what to use,” explained McLean,”People using energy analysis software in general don’t know what type to buy and there is a lack of information around, and it can be difficult to make that decision. More and more companies are coming to us and identifying a solution that they see and they want.”

Architects and engineers use IES software for safe building regulations and to do energy design around the world, which has has helped establish the company reputation. “We’ve noticed over the last couple of years that a range of organizations are coming to us for us to solve problems,” said McLean. “We provide them with the capability that allows them to do they wouldn’t normally do.” Companies such as manufacturing organizations are looking at IES software for testing, analysis and other features of the tools in their manufacturing processes.

“What we’re finding is more people are asking us to do things we wouldn’t normally have done,” said McLean.  Examples of that are building rating systems providers including BRE Global, who recently signed an MOU with IES covering testing, development and recognition of IES tools. These new tools help assessors submit evidence that is compatible with the submission and quality assurance process. This streamlines and ultimately improves the process for all involved in BREEAM (the equivalent in the UK of LEED) assessments. Another example of the use of IES tools are product manufacturers working with IES to verify and validate their sustainability credentials and provide a better route to market through sales tools. Some companies such as venture capitalists may come to them and ask for testing to prove that their product saves 80% energy.

With the new IES product LEED Navigator, companies can do LEED analysis much more quickly, according to McLean. Many professionals spend up to 40-50% of their time doing LEED. ‘’They can use this Navigator to speed up the process,” said McLean. “This gives people the capability to do energy design much faster. Because of that, we get a large number of major users from around the world, like ARUP, Gensler and AECOM. They’ve been using our software for many years, in very different ways from how it is used in the U.S."

IES is working with the Greenmark system in Singapore, a building rating system similar to LEED. Governments are asking for IES to put building information for New Zealand into their software. The organizations AirBus and Toyota want help with the manufacturing process to make it more efficient, what one would generally associate with manufacturing types of technologies. Traditionally, these organizations have been more concerned with the production process than energy analysis in this case. “That is changing and they’re taking more responsibility for energy,” McLean pointed out. “We’re developing a tool for them for a sustainable manufacturing process that has phenomenal potential across the world to make the whole manufacturing processes of different organizations much more efficient."

Utilities companies want IES to help them to make a rebate system. IES is also working with other software companies such as Autodesk, Trelligence, Google, Gaia Geothermal to enhance their offerings.

McLean said these organizations all want the numeric and analysis of IES so they can “optimize and verify and quantify.” With energy efficiency it is important to ask what value it gives so that value can be quantified, and see how it makes things better. The iteration process inside IES software allows verification and to see how it works inside the building.

Because various new organizations are seeking IES out for different needs, the Sustainability Hub is coming at the right time for sustainable design and buildings. “Over the next year there will by a myriad of announcements we’ll be making. We’ll have a profoundly different market in about a year to 18 months as people see us as a hub for sustainable design,” said McLean.

“ESCOs want to prove they’ve done something effective, so they want to use our software to help overcome technical or commercial barriers in getting their sustainability products and services to the market.”

Some of what IES does is customized and some is not, according to McLean. There is a free version of the software, then there is also a solution that the customer pays to have put into their software and made available to all users.  Alternatively,  working with Jerome Consultants, IES is partnering to do the Singapore Greenmark software tool, an equivalent of LEED. IES is creating a Navigator expressly for them, called the Jerome Navigator, and will be a paid-for product. “Some of these will be joint products, and we sell some of them labeled Greenmark product.  For Toyota and Airbus we are creating their manufacturing process product which will probably be a commercial product."

Customers can access other markets through the Sustainability Hub. IES makes it possible for manufacturers and architectural practices to talk to the software partners and create a networking solution. As regulations and rating systems in different countries become more rigid, people are also trying to design more energy efficient buildings. They need to quantify what they are doing. The Hub gives them a means to meet their objectives in sustainability more effectively.

Organizations are now interested in the larger impact of bioclimatic design, for example, including the impact of 3D modeling, daylight, airflow in the building, passive and active design, optimal movement and how this interacts with different software. They want to know how it affects ESCOs and manufacturers and know that they need to have more education and communication between these sectors in order to have a true sustainable environment. 

McLean predicts that IES will be working on stronger links to structural analysis and civil engineering software during the next year, as these areas have a profound effect on the sustainability of buildings.  The frequency of earthquakes and floods throughout the world has precipitated more interest in this area. In the past three years in the UK one area has had two 100-year-flood events. President Obama recently announced that he has issued more emergency response notices in the last year than have been issued in any year in American history.

With the building sector responsible for over 50 percent of all energy consumption, the Sustainability Hub is a good place to start with building performance analysis and to watch its growth into manufactured product design analysis.

Top News of the Week

GRAPHISOFT announced its active involvement in Ecobuild America by demonstrating the latest developments of its revolutionary EcoDesigner product line and openly invites attendees to its new Technology User Sessions and an ArchiCAD User Group meeting at the event in Washington, D.C. December 5-9, 2011.   

Next to a keynote presentation titled “Energy Analysis Simplified with BIM” the learning track will run throughout the event and give architects, engineers, and contractors the opportunity to explore the latest software applications designed specifically to meet their ever-changing needs.  The ArchiCAD User Group event will teach practitioners tips, tricks and features related to ArchiCAD.   

Bricsys  announced the release of Bricscad V12 for the Windows platform. This significant release adds powerful geometric and dimensional constraints to all three editions - Classic, Pro, and Platinum – as well as a host of other significant features. With direct modeling, design intent, and 3D constraints, Bricscad becomes the leader in .dwg-based 3D design

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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.

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