Building energy modelling, is a field that can be described as computationally very intensive. Not long ago Energy Modelling studies were mainly preserved for the research institutions who generally had lot of computational resources at the disposal. Nowadays there are a large number of Open Source platforms which have arrived in the market and these tools can be employed on Building models with variety of options that an architect or energy modeler can have.
In Indian context, energy modelling has not yet taken off there are still many doubts remain over the practicality. But now with so much emphasis on the subject of energy efficiency, use of alternate energy for reduction of carbon footprints and COP 22 declarations, the energy modelling of buildings both residential and commercial will become popular. Architects, I believe have so far shied away from taking up energy modelling due to lack of technical knowledge & expert manpower at their disposal. Ground situation has not changed much over last 5 years despite Bureau of Energy Efficiency taking up the responsibility to create manpower pool as energy auditors and energy managers to spearhead the energy efficiency initiatives in the country.
After the ECBC code was launched in 2007, the number of Indian states who have notified the ECBC code, presently 10. There are still many states who have yet to initiate the process. In expert’s opinion, ECBC code notification may not be enough to popularize the use of energy modelling as an option to save energy or optimize building design but efforts on the ground from the Architects or Energy engineers are what will actually drive the adoption of energy modelling.
Energy Efficient Design
The construction of Energy Efficient buildings can be divided into broadly three heads. First is the envelope design, second the orientation and third is the use of efficient electrical and mechanical equipment. The orientation and the envelope gets decided right in the beginning only and comprises of fenestration, the building material like types of concrete, metals & materials, Wood, Steel, the thickness of the walls, the Shading, the use of landscaping, Shadows etc. Orientation is decided on the movement of the Sun and the space available. Generally Windows are provided on the Northern side and are rarely provided on the southern side.The movement of the Sun which takes place from East to West generally is Southwards. Orientation of the building has to be in a way so that the heat transfer gets minimized and building gets proper daylight sunlight, which in a way results in the savings on account of lighting inside the buildings. Orientation also is responsible for heat transfer inside the building which has direct bearing on the air conditioning loads and power consumption on account of that.
Third most important aspect is the use of Energy Efficient Electro-Mechanical equipment. Selection of energy efficient lighting, the efficient pumps, fans, air conditioners, use of proximity sensors all these play a crucial role in ensuring the building stays energy efficient. Parametric model in OpenStudio software helps to provide comparative assessment of various combinations right from selecting envelope design to use of optimal equipment. Sooner or later the energy modelling will become popular in India. Its a popular choice of career in western world and United States of America and European Union have truly adopted it.