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Energy Efficient Design Using Building Information Modeling and Energy Simulation

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

"Green" Topics in Architectural Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.564.1 - 22.564.17



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Paper Authors


Christian Daniel Douglass University Of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Christian received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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James M. Leake University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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James M. Leake joined the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems (formerly General) Engineering in August 1999. His educational background includes an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1993) from the University of Washington, a B.S. in Ocean Engineering (1980) from Florida Atlantic University, and a B.A. in Art History (1974) from Indiana University. His current research interests include engineering education, integration of CAD/CAE software in the engineering curriculum, building information modeling, spatial visualization, and reverse engineering. Professor Leake’s publications include two books, Engineering Design Graphics: Sketching, Modeling, and Visualization published by John Wiley and Sons in 2008, and Autodesk Inventor published by McGraw-Hill in 2004. Prior to coming to Illinois, Leake taught CAD and math courses at UAE University in the United Arab Emirates. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, where he served in Tunisia from 1983 until 1986. Leake worked as a naval architect in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. He is a registered professional engineer in naval architecture in the state of Washington (1990).

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Energy Efficient Design Using Building Information Modeling and Energy SimulationA set of instructional modules is developed to demonstrate methods of energy efficient buildingdesign using energy simulation. The three modules consider the entire design process, fromcreating the building’s initial form, to simulating its energy performance, and finally, evaluatingits design alternatives. In module one, Autodesk Revit Architecture is used to create the initialbuilding information model. The floor plan and appearance of the example building are based onthe First Jacobs House, a 1550 square foot residential dwelling designed by Frank Lloyd Wrightin 1936. Module one demonstrates the creation of the building form as well as the definition ofthermal zoning. The second module covers building energy simulation. The buildinginformation model is exported via the gbXML file format to external energy analysis tools.Autodesk Ecotect is used for climate, lighting, and shading studies, andDesignBuilder/EnergyPlus are used to perform parametric design studies. The design studiesconsider a variety of parameters, including building orientation, envelope insulation levels,sizing of overhangs, glazing type, and occupant behavior. A baseline of energy performance isestablished by first configuring the building energy simulation model according to the U.S.Department of Energy’s Building America Research Benchmark. Improvements in energy usageare then reported relative to the baseline. The third and final module covers the evaluation ofdesign alternatives. The energy and economic impact of design alternatives are considered in theprocess of finding an optimal or near optimal solution. The workflow of the study is intended tobe multi-disciplinary in nature, with the building model being passed between architectural andengineering design programs. The study demonstrates the benefit of leveraging the architecturalbuilding information model for energy analysis, as opposed to creating separate models withineach analysis program. This method provides not only a significant savings in time, but also aframework for encouraging communication and collaboration across disciplines.

Douglass, C. D., & Leake, J. M. (2011, June), Energy Efficient Design Using Building Information Modeling and Energy Simulation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17845

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