March 21, 2011
LEED Energy Tool Saves Time and Streamlines Workflows
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
LEED Energy Tool Saves Time and Streamlines Workflows
By Susan Smith

Design team collaborators may be interested in the new announcement from Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), a provider of integrated performance analysis software and consulting services for sustainable building design. IES announced its VE-Navigator for ASHRAE 90.1 (LEED Energy) tool has been significantly enhanced to extend its already powerful facilitated energy modeling, benchmarking and reporting capabilities.

The VE-Navigator LEED energy tool sets up a whole workflow that takes you through the process step by step, incorporating Quality Assurance into the complex process  for benchmarking and reporting a projects’ energy using the Appendix G Performance Rating Method. Many Global Rating Systems and Regulations reference ASHRAE 90.1, including LEED Optimise Energy Performance EAc1.


ASHRAE 90.1 Navi

“We set up the data, then set up the envelope of the building, then we set up the rooms with information, then set up our baseline systems, then set up our post system, then we generate our baselines and size our runs, do the simulations, some costs assessment, generate the results and the reports we need,” explained Don McLean, founder and managing director of IES.

It is difficult for someone to remember all the steps, according to McLean, so Navigator acts as the gauge for the workflow and makes the process that much easier. Secondly, people can do this much faster than they could otherwise --- with this tool IES claims they can do a LEED energy assessment in about half the time they could previously. Generally a LEED energy assessment takes weeks rather than days so a reduction of saving days is significant. McLean said that the LEED energy tool makes it easier to try alternatives, and makes people more aggressive about what they do, and hopefully this will translate to a project where someone can get a better energy rating and better LEED rating.

According to press materials, users can automatically create baseline models and HVAC systems straight from the proposed design model even at early stages, allowing them to actively maximize LEED Energy Credits across the whole design phase, as well as create reports for submission. The latest version adds a number of new features, including:
  • New advanced Tariff Analysis, which allows complex utility tariffs such as varying Demand Side Management to be quickly set for easy comparison. Taking their impact into account when analyzing power consumption or control settings is important to ensure cost efficient operation and accurate calculation of payback periods.
  • New Simulation report on Unmet Load Hours, which quickly highlights to users how many hours a room falls outside of its heated or cooled set points. Users have the ability to establish controls that determine when the analysis is undertaken (e.g. ‘only when occupied’ or ‘only when conditioned’). A Shared Hours option is also included.
  • Additional detailed simulation reports, including Building Plant Energy Utilization; System Design Day Results (including Design Day and Weather File Simulations); and System Relative Humidity Results.
  • Ability to very quickly change pre-defined system schedules data across multiple HVAC systems, users can also select the rooms to which they want this information applied.
  • Ability to set flow rates per occupant.


McLean said that Europeans are trying to get LEED ratings and are finding the process extremely complex. It is a level with which American engineers are quite accustomed. Europe has a process problem, a level of intricacy and detail, and they have difficulty trying to understand the implied information as they are not familiar with ASHRAE. With the VE-Navigator for ASHRAE 90.1, IES finds Europeans are able to do LEED energy analysis in a way they were not able to do before. “I’m not trying to suggest it is no longer a problem, because with this Navigator it still requires a high degree of skill, but the beauty of it is if someone wants to do a quick assessment, they could probably do it in a couple of hours,” said McLean.

The system allows you to see implications of a particular piece of equipment such as lighting and change it to see what the implications of a different piece might be. Engineers can get more information for each room and get all types of detailed reports for them.

On the navigation side, the system can go and get information for you, and assign all the construction for you. 

The process in itself requires a lot of experience and it is easy to make a mistake, said McLean, but with the Navigator, you can check all the way through the process. It also makes checking the model easier and supervising someone else much easier.

The objective of IES with the Navigator for ASHRAE is to try to make LEED energy much simpler to do and much quicker and also make the process more transparent, so that more people can potentially do this, and someone can supervise them.

According to the press release, IES is also making key elements of its innovative 'Navigator' functionality available for free to users of its detailed integrated software suite VE-Pro.


PRM Baseline HVAC

The 'Navigator' functionality is now provided free within certain VE-Pro modules. In addition, a specific new Architecture 2030 Challenge assessment capability and interactive report is included within a 'Navigator' associated with all Apache modules.

Top News of the Week


Meridian Systems, announced that Ryan Companies US, Inc. (Ryan) is using Building Information Modeling (BIM) in conjunction with Proliance software. Ryan is working directly with Horizontal Systems, Inc. (Horizontal), a Meridian Independent Software Vendor (ISV) to enable BIM data integration with its capital program management software system. Ryan is a nationally recognized builder, developer, designer and real estate manager that has been using Proliance since 2007.

Bernard J. Cywinski, FAIA, 70, a colleague and founding principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, passed away on March 2, 2011, at the Good Shepherd Penn Partners Center in Philadelphia.

Bernard Cywinski was a major figure in the Philadelphia architectural community as well as on the national scene. Through intimate collaboration with career-long partners and colleagues, his life's work was a force that guided Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's rise to national and international prominence.

Autodesk, Inc. introduced the new book Imagine, Design, Create: How Designers, Engineers and Architects Are Changing Our World at TED2011 Conference in Long Beach, California.


Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Blue Ridge Numerics, Inc., a leading simulation software provider, for approximately $39 million in cash, subject to a working capital adjustment. Autodesk announced its intent to purchase Blue Ridge Numerics on Feb. 17, 2011.

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