I will be posting regular articles over the next while, looking at the state of the market vis-a-vis energy modelling for domestic buildings. The market for climate and energy modelling for commercial premises is well served in the UK by TAS and IES, both well established and sophisticated tools. Newer and tighter regulation in all building sectors is making the case for the use of similar tools in the residential sector, but the demands on the software are rather different and require different tools and skill sets.
Many designers in the residential sector use SAP to carry out assessments, but as they realise, SAP is essentially a compliance tool, not a design tool. It is also lamentably far behind in its capacity to model a rapidly changing industry. Furthermore, the curent hiatus in the regulations in the UK, where SAP 2005 is almost at the end of its regulatory life, but has not yet been replaced by a compiant version of SAP 2009 leaves residential designers in a vacuum. Can we rely on SAP 2009 to guide us? Or should we turn to other tools.
With this in mind I will be evaluating some modelling tools in the coming months. The first up is the Velux Energy and Indoor Climate Visualizer. This tool is designed for residential modelling and has some very useful features if you are trying to assess the impact of natural ventilation on overheating. The tool is free and can be downloaded here. Currently the tool will only model a few building types, but I am told that there is a major overhaul on the cards. Watch this space.