Building Physics & Ecology
We apply several scientific tools and research methodologies to the design process, both in-house and to inform other disciplines. These tools investigate the behaviour of heat, light and energy within a building, usually using computer simulations. This area has come to be known as Building Physics.
Using these modelling techniques, we can investigate the effect of design changes on the external environment, e.g. energy consumption or airflow, and the internal environment provided by the building, e.g. thermal and visual comfort. We can do this before the building is committed to bricks and mortar, allowing us to test concepts easily and make informed decisions, to arrive at the most appropriate design solution for each project.
Once the passive performance of the building has been optimised, the HVAC systems can be analysed, system options compared, and energy use of the building reduced, along with their effects on thermal comfort. This also covers compliance simulations for NZBC Clause H1 and Green Star.
The lack of comfort in a building is one of the largest causes of user complaints. With computer modelling, the levels of thermal comfort can be assessed and optimised at the design stage. This has the potential to reduce loads on heating and cooling equipment, and increase productivity over time.
Good daylight design can lead to significant savings in lighting energy, though the building needs to be designed appropriately first. Daylight Modelling assesses design options in order to make the most of the available daylight and reduce lighting energy, while at the same time considering heat gains and glare.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Facade design and ventilation strategies need to consider air flow in many different scenarios. Modern computing is able to quickly study various situations to assess the effectiveness of various strategies, and identifies issues before they are built into the finished product.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Thermal and visual comfort, along with ventilation and air quality, all affect the feel of a building’s internal environment. Designing a building sustainably encourages consideration of qualities often otherwise ignored, leading to improved comfort, staff productivity and tenant retention. Our IEQ tool assesses the quality of a future building, and estimates expected productivity benefits.