Energy Modelling is the process of creating a computerized model of a building design to estimate its operational annual energy consumption. It is also used to evaluate the payback of different energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions like upgraded insulation, high performance glazing, HVAC technologies, and solar panels and photovoltaics among others. A replica of a building is constructed in a virtual environment and simulations are performed using a set of hourly weather data.
The publication “An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modelling in the Design Process” describes the benefits enabled by energy modelling throughout the different stages of design. Concept stage to Design Development energy models address fundamental design parameters and provide feedback to the design team on how the form, orientation, massing, mechanical equipment, and other variables will likely affect the project’s performance in terms of energy, daylighting, comfort, and other design characteristics.
In addition to design assistance, energy modelling is used to prove compliance against local and national building codes. There are two main approaches to prove compliance with the energy code, a prescriptive approach (or its sub-category, a trade-off approach) and a performance approach.
In contrast to the prescriptive method where every component should comply with a minimum performance level, the energy model used in the performance path provides the design team with the most flexibility and will lead to the biggest savings in construction cost. Performance-based compliance is typically expressed in terms of “percent better than” energy use in comparison to a baseline. This means that the design team has the flexibility to select various combinations of design strategies, components, and technologies that provide the greatest energy savings for the lowest cost.
At ESBES, we have over 16 years of technical research, energy conservation and energy code compliance work. We have helped optimize numerous designs by assessing early stage factors such as building orientation, envelope performance, lighting, and HVAC design options. We have worked on code compliance and green building certifications for a wide spectrum of building types and applications.
We provide energy modelling services for building permit applications in compliance with part 8 of the 2015 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB). We note that NECB 2015 was adopted within the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations (section 220.127.116.11. of the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations made under Section 4 of the Building Code Act, effective April 1, 2017).
We also provide energy modelling services in partnership with Efficiency Nova Scotia for their New Construction rebate program. ESBES is an Efficiency Nova Scotia accredited service provider.