IES Creates Unique Climate Energy Index System for Sustainable Design
Looking at the climate, in the building independent manner, at both the local level and within a global context creates a detailed understanding of the climate, what regions share similar characteristics, where energy use needs to be focused in order to deliver occupant comfort and also provides a simple benchmark for comparing climate/weather files. It is a key element often overlooked in the sustainable building design process. In addition, including future weather data allows an understanding of climate dynamics over the life of the building to be achieved.
The IES Climate Energy Index assists in both the masterplanning and concept design stages to understand what passive and low-carbon design strategies make the most sense. It recognizes that building energy use is very climate dependent. Building simulation results can also be compared with this Index to give a simple measure of design performance against potential given the climate.
The index is a simple measure of the potential energy (kWh/yr per M3/hr) required to maintain air quality within a comfortable occupant zone, and is split into heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification requirements. It is based on climate alone excluding any consideration of building design or occupancy. It can be applied generically for 24-hour use, or to suit the occupancy patterns of any building.
“This new Index alleviates a major ‘ease of understanding’ problem for designers and architects who are looking to achieve a fully sustainable building,” said Don McLean, founder and managing director of IES. “We are providing climate information combined with energy-usage data in a new and more informative manner, eliminating unnecessary collation and interrogation to facilitate understanding, and all within easy-to-use applications. This new Index system is a unique value-add to our existing software offerings, and one which we are already developing further.”
The Climate Energy Index system is available for IES software users. Within free VE-Ware, the headline Climate Energy Index figures are provided. Both the VE-Toolkits and VE-Gaia outputs include the same features as VE-Ware but also include global comparisons and breakdowns of potential energy types. The Climate Energy Index compliments the Climate and Building Metric tools released in the latest VE-Toolkit and VE Gaia products. These automated tools analyze the climate data for the location, or analyze the building data bringing relevant characteristics to the surface for evaluation and determining design strategies.