We hear great stories about how computer-aided design (CAD) programs have revolutionised everything from the creation of Formula 1 cars to new types of aeroplanes. Now, they’re also getting around to helping us design buildings that are better for the environment. About time, we say.
WorldChanging has a great article looking into the (slowly) growing number of applications that can help calculate how much light comes into a building, how much heating would be required and so on. It’s all very complicated stuff, hence the slow progress, but a range of tools now exist.
Some tools are specific (like Radiance, which calculates light coming into a building — like in the image shown here).
Read all about it:
The leader of the building simulation industry now may be a relative newcomer, Square One research. their program Ecotect is a whole-building simulator that “combines an interactive building design interface and 3D modeller with a wide range of environmental analysis tools for a detailed assessment of solar, thermal, lighting, shadows & shading design, energy & building regulations, acoustics, air flow, cost & resource performance of buildings at any scale.” (And don’t worry, you don’t have to use their CAD engine, you can import from AutoCAD.)