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20 January 2023
Apurva Jain

How Important Is Energy Modelling for Performance Estimates?

Let’s go green, not with envy but with energy efficiency, an important measurable factor of sustainability in today’s world. To gauge energy performance in a building accurately and to ensure that new builds will be as energy efficient as possible, it may be necessary for building services design consultants to obtain a more sophisticated and complex set of energy assessments than previously collated.

Did you know that energy costs typically account for 30 percent of a building’s operating budget? Estimating the amount of energy a building will use before it is built through energy modelling and performance estimates is an effective solution to manage a building’s potential energy costs.

So, What Is Energy Modelling?

Using sophisticated software and complex methods, energy modelling can predict actual energy performance. Assessors can more thoroughly comprehend how a building retains heat or regulates air quality using various parameters, elaborate calculations – such as a method called SBEM (Simplified Building Energy Model) and simulation programming. They can also use accurate sustainability design to help fulfil green building requirements.

Typically, assessments tend to primarily establish the thermal performance of building fabric. There is little emphasis on assessing condensation risk. Energy modelling considers every relevant factor, including assessing condensation risk and building functionality. For example, the purpose of commercial buildings may change over time, and landlords who invest in a full energy modelling survey to assess energy performance can improve property values. In addition, energy modelling should also be carried out when the property’s nature changes, since in most cases, new owners may not consider thermal performance or the kind of usage their building fabric has been designed for.

Energy models are created to:

  • Predict energy consumption and costs
  • Estimate annual carbon dioxide emissions
  • Identify peak demands
  • Compare energy efficiency options
  • Fulfil building codes and sustainability certification guidelines
What Developers Should Consider

Integrating energy modelling into the development process will result in safeguarding occupants from exorbitant energy bills, as projected energy performance is accurate. Ideally:

  • Developers require accurate and sophisticated energy assessment models.
  • They also require design support from partners who have enough experience and expertise to address the design’s precise needs and understand MEP BIM for sustainable construction.
Benefits of Energy Modelling
  • Building simulation combined with energy modelling provides important data about a building’s use and operating costs.
  • Energy models help assess energy consumption and energy performance in new buildings and retrofits for zoning compliance and green certification.
  • Modelling and simulation concentrate on the energy consumption of all building inhabitants and the life cycle costs of energy-related equipment, such as HVAC, lighting, etc.
  • Using complex algorithms, energy models help guide property owners to make informed decisions regarding energy performance.
  • Models and simulation also help calculate energy savings and return of investment of energy conservation measures so that indoor environments and energy efficiency can be improved.
5 Key Guidelines for Energy Modelling
  • Determine how much energy is needed. – The energy savings depends on the budget, regulatory requirements and utility incentives.
  • Establish a base energy usage. – Calculate the energy used if building components were manufactured according to the relevant energy code requirements.
  • Collate the information. – Every building component, such as light fixtures and the watts consumed, mechanical systems and the capacity that equipment will run at and for how many hours, must be considered. Energy use and efficiency also depends on the local climate, building envelope components, lighting, and cooling and heating systems.
  • Decide on energy conservation measures. – Use the energy model to determine where energy conservation measures can be used, such as increased daylighting and high-efficiency motors.
  • Implement the recommended strategies. – Use the energy modeling software to calculate cost savings and ROI to determine which strategies are most effective, and then implement them.
Performance Estimates

Accurate energy models impact the accuracy of performance estimates. The following best practices contribute to precise performance estimates:

  • Central data – Managing information at a single source helps identify priority areas and where savings are possible.
  • Regular communication – Designers and modellers must communicate effectively to share updated equipment specifications and usage requirements. Changes may occur often, so communication must be clear and ongoing.
  • Know limitations – When modelling results are used for directional comparisons, energy modelling and performance estimates can lead to informed decision making.
  • Organise information – A record keeper and data manager can help share critical data with those who are validating energy savings for green building certifications.

It is evident that performance estimates and energy modelling are critical for building design and require the expertise of advanced 3D CAD design services or BIM services from design support partners who are also knowledgeable in heat load calculations, thermal load calculations and CFD simulation services.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing sustainability design and MEP BIM for sustainable construction for general contractors and design consultants. Our range of services for building services design consultants and contractors across the world include HVAC heat load calculation, thermal load calculation, CFD simulation services and other 3D CAD design services, and we offer retained teams when required. We create these models, and drawings by using Revit, AutoCAD and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration.