The cloud has many implications for the construction industry, and its adoption has been high despite the industry’s seeming fragmentation and project-based task challenges. Today’s new improvements in functionality are a step-change in energy and comfort modeling capabilities, boosting building simulation benefits.

As another evolution in this new technology sweeping the industry, DesignBuilder Software, www.designbuilder.co.uk, Stroud, U.K., has released version 4 of its popular whole building energy simulation program DesignBuilder. This version brings new features and improvements targeting different, but overlapping needs of the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry.

DesignBuilder Packages for Architects ensures that form meets function at the early design stages by providing accurate and reliable energy and daylighting performance data. The architectural simulation packages enable linkage with BIM (building information modeling) solutions, analyze solar shading, maximize the use of renewable technologies, and test façade options in one software program. And DesignBuilder Packages for Engineers comprises an integrated set of high-productivity tools to assist with the integration of mechanical systems within sustainable buildings design.

Different design scenarios for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air condition) systems and controls, facades, lighting, and renewable technologies can be evaluated. Using drag-and-drop air and water components, HVAC systems can be built within DesignBuilder from scratch, and predefined HVAC templates, autosizing, and zone grouping features save input time. The most frequently used EnergyPlus HVAC system types are readily available including all ten ASHRAE 90.1 baseline HVAC systems.

New features available as modules in release version 4 include: ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G compatibility – ASHRAE 90.1 for 2007 and 2010 including constructions, materials, glazing systems, activities, lighting, and HVAC systems for both LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) certification and IRS tax credits; optimization for identification of design options with the very best combinations of cost, energy, and comfort performance; and cost, to calculate the economic impact of various building designs using construction cost, utility tariffs, and lifecycle analysis.