AIA Introduces Energy Modeling Guide

In order to help architects more accurately predict the energy consumption in their design projects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has put together An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process. The guide was created to be a step-by-step map to predicting (and thus reducing) the energy usage of buildings.

The guide was written and assembled by a committee of architects, sustainability experts and government building science officials, as well as AIA staff, and surveys a wide swath of the building design and construction industry to present baseline best practices for empirically evaluating the energy performance of buildings. According to the AIA, beyond defining and making a case for energy modeling, this primer walks readers through different types of energy modeling and the individual tools and software available for it. The guide also discusses how to bring energy modeling to other building team members, such as engineers, as well as the clients. The manual covers the entire spectrum of design and building, from initial exploratory design concepts to code compliance and ongoing energy maintenance.

“Energy modeling is fast becoming a more useful means to better inform major design decisions early and often throughout the building design process. It can provide a roadmap to help practitioners lead their clients toward energy efficiency goals, green code compliance and building certification programs,” says AIA president, Jeff Potter, FAIA. “It is imperative for the entire design and construction industry to be cognizant of the energy use implication buildings have, in terms of limited resources, climate change, and rising utility costs. This guide provides the energy modeling fundamentals that can serve the client’s high expectations and ultimately reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Some cities including Washington, D.C, San Francisco and Philadelphia have passed legislation requiring nonresidential building owners to measure and report their buildings’ annual energy use. The AIA notes that by employing energy modeling during the design phase, it will become much easier for building owners to meet energy efficiency targets.