Whether you are designing new constructions or deep energy retrofits, the basis for an energy efficient design is an understanding of the climate that you are working in. Local climate has has always been one of the main factors shaping vernacular architectural design throughout the world, and, ultimately, the goal of any building is to protect the occupant from external climate factors. Therefore, an effective thermal envelope of a building should bridge the gap between the desired health and comfort conditions for the occupants and external weather conditions.
In our previous articles, we have cautioned that an energy retrofit should be approached with an integrated, whole-building approach, and by a professional with experience in calculating and simulating thermal envelopes. The photos below show what happened to one family’s home when they decided to do an independent partial energy retrofit, without consulting a qualified professional. In this case, they decided to replace the old windows of their house with newer, high performance windows, hoping that they would be able to reduce their energy consumption.
As in its previous version, Archicad 17 comes with a built-in energy evaluation tool, that allows designers to develop the building energy concept from the preliminary design phase. The line that divides architectural design and energy simulation seems to be getting thinner and thinner. On one hand, this Graphisoft approach is no doubt cutting edge. However, some large doubts remain: