Thermal Models
Thermal Models & Dynamic Simulation
Tel: 0844 272 8871

Thermal Models, the future of energy modelling

If you have ever wondered why the predicted levels of energy consumption outlined at the design stage of a development do not quite match up to the actual figures once the building becomes occupied it is typically related to several factors including; the type of software used to establish the predicted figures, the accuracy of the data in-putted into the software, and any changes to the building’s specifications between the design and construction phases that were not updated into the software as the development progressed.

Most construction projects use basic calculation engines such as SBEM [for non-domestic buildings] or SAP [for domestic buildings] and these programmes do not include key design parameters such as the impact of air flows within and around the building, shading from nearby property, actual occupancy profiles and patterns, solar radiation, internal gains from people, lighting and equipment [etc.].

Thermal model [dynamic simulation] is an advanced computer programme that is used by building designers and engineers to accurately predict the thermal performance of a building before it is constructed. The results produced by the simulation offer up valuable information that can be acted upon prior to the building reaches the advanced stages of design, making it possible to specify the most efficient materials and energy systems.

Call us on Tel: 0844 282 2414 to discuss all your available options

Thermal models as a design tool

A thermal model provides valuable information on a room-by-room basis including; air temperatures at hourly intervals, how a space will react to Solar radiation at various times of the day/month/year, the impact of heat gains from people, electrical equipment and lighting [based on actual occupancy profiles], plant sizing for heating and cooling, impact of natural ventilation, shading from nearby buildings and brise soleil, benefits from renewable energies and much more to complete a detailed thermal analysis of the building.

The use of thermal model [dynamic simulation] as a design tool is of major importance in the growth of sustainable buildings. TWC Consulting advocates its use over basic calculations such as SBEM and SAP, as the simulation provides greater accuracy in predicting energy consumption levels, and  identifying conflicts within a design that can be acted on before the development reaches the as-built stage. One of the main advantages of using a thermal model is its ability to provide detailed room-by-room analysis in relation to what can be expected once the building becomes occupied.

The graph below shows the results of a thermal model completed on a School classroom during the early stages of design. It can be seen this particular space is subject to overheating, has been classified as warm-unpleasant and generating significant internal and solar gains. The air temperature is shown at high levels through the day and peaks at approximately 33oC at 4pm in the afternoon [this is based on actual weather data]. This classroom requires a re-design and substantial modifications to the specification in order to make it comfortable for the occupants and compliant with the various Regulations. This is a clear advantages of using a thermal model as a design tool.

TWC Consulting uses IES Virtual Environment software [Dynamic Simulation] to great effect, and has worked with many Project Teams to deliver value-added designs and Part L compliance.

Should you need to know more about how TWC Consulting’s can use a thermal model to inform your concept designs, please call us on 0844 272 8871.