By Tristan Roberts
Energy modeling during conceptual design helped designers home in on the most efficient massing and orientation for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's new Brock Environmental Center.
For the biggest energy and cost savings, model early in design and model often, say the experts.
Thanks in part to green building programs and codes, whole-building energy simulation has become more common over the last two decades, but it’s not necessarily having a big impact on design decisions—let alone energy savings. “Validating the final design is really important to validate LEED points and validate code compliance,” notes Maurya McClintock, Assoc. AIA, of McClintock Façades Consulting. As McClintock and others note, though, when modeling is only used late in design—after the massing, orientation, envelope and glazing design, and mechanical systems in a building are already specified, and hundreds of hours of work have already been put into those designs—the modeling might have little value beyond keeping score.