AIA Releases Guide to Energy Modeling for Architects

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By Erin Weaver

Buildings are responsible for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and a new guide to energy modeling aims to help architects maximize the energy efficiency of their designs. The American Institute of Architects has published “An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process” to provide guidance from the design phase and code compliance through ongoing maintenance. Framing energy as first and foremost “a design problem” for architects to solve rather than exclusively the mechanical engineer’s domain, the guide discusses best practices, types of energy modeling and related tools, and how to encourage teamwork and integrated design. (BuildingGreen, publisher of EBN, sponsored the development of this report.) A number of cities have passed laws mandating energy disclosure for nonresidential buildings (see “Energy Reporting: It’s the Law,” EBN Aug. 2012), and effective design, well integrated with energy modeling, can help ensure those numbers are optimal. For example, modeling daylight penetration based on local weather conditions and glazing area can help fine-tune heating and cooling systems for maximum efficiency.

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October 26, 2012