zero carbon design – learning the software | gaurav janey

The theme of this co.lab project is to learn how to reduce carbon emissions of buildings making the use of integrated environmental solutions (ies) software. the software aims to produce models of buildings with minimalistic carbon emission value (or possibly even zero), by changing the attributes of certain elements in a building. therefore, our first few sessions involved learning and understanding the basics of the software.

what we’ve learnt so far includes the following:

– producing a basic model of a building with windows, doors, openings and roof

– add thickness to the walls

– alter different characteristics of materials (which are added by default) within the building. for example, altering the thickness of insulation, changing the type of glazing or adjusting the order of construction of a wall automatically re-calculates the u-value and allows us to achieve more desirable outcomes.

– producing a sun path diagram to understand better at what angle the sun hits a building at specific time and days of the year and also to understand how surrounding buildings cast their shadow in order to add appropriate glazing.

– controlling the environment of the interior spaces by creating daily, weekly and yearly profiles. these profiles help us to control the ventilation and energy consumption. For example, windows could be set to automatically open when the temperature rises above 25 degrees or lights could be set to automatically increase or decrease intensity depending on the daylight coming into the building.

– run a simulation of our model to actually see the output of this whole process. therefore, a simulation provides us with graphs of solar gains, air temperature, etc. also, the simulation can provide comparisons between different alterations made to the model in graph form to understand what works best for the building.

these sessions have all been conducted by current ma zero carbon architecture students – which obviously has its pros and cons. the ma students being in their learning stages understand better how we perceive the teachings and that helps a lot to apprehend at a calmer pace rather than taking it all in at once.

in general, we’re learning how to use the software and develop a understanding of how and what to do. it was all a bit overwhelming in the start with the simplicity of the software but we’re only starting to realise the depth and complexity of it. so, in future when we have an actual building to work with – i think it will be a very exciting challenge.

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