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.