Basics of Building Energy Modelling: What You Need to Know

Jun 2, 2022 | Blog, Mechanical Engineering

Building Energy Modelling

If you’re in the early stages of construction planning, you’re likely aware of how important energy efficiency and energy modelling are for the overall success, comfort, and long-term sustainability of your project. As one of the most vital parts of the mechanical engineering for new builds and retrofits. Building Energy Modelling is not only becoming increasingly required and regulated, but sets developments apart from their competitors when it comes to the sale of multi-family properties, retail spaces, and more. Simply put: if you plan to build for success, you need to build with Energy Modelling in mind.

As one of Western Canada’s leading providers of mechanical engineering consulting, KD Mechanical Consultants know just how important it is to have the right energy modelling in place during development. From setting the right foundation for success on a new building to righting the “wrongs” of wear and tear, we’re here to make sure your space is safe, comfortable, and ready to stand up to the test of time. Below, we’ll discuss a few key basics to keep in mind where building energy modelling is concerned, as well as the benefits of partnering with our team. Read on to learn more!

What is Building Energy Modelling?

Building Energy Modelling refers to the practice of evaluating and designing core components of a building that contribute to (or detract from) the overall energy profile of the property. In other words, it is concerned with:

  • How a building uses energy
  • How much energy is used
  • When energy is used
  • The safety and comfort resulting from the use of energy within the space
  • And more!

Core components of an energy model include the overall building envelope (what shields the inside from the outside, doors, windows, etc.), direct energy sources, and more. There are many reasons to complete an energy model during or after development, including assisting with the design of the project, ensuring code compliance, applying for green building certifications, etc.

How are Models Built?

There are multiple different ways models are achieved, depending on what stage of development you are in, as well as the specific needs of the site. Generally speaking, detailed models will use highly sophisticated software with the input of mechanical and civil engineers to amass enough data to build a representation of how your building operates over the course of a typical year. A standard model will include data from drawings and existing specifications, as well as information pertaining to all major weather, operations, controls, and schedule information within a usual calendar year. Models will also vary depending on jurisdictional code requirements, as well as common codes within Canada including:

  • ASHRAE 90.1-2010 (the date can vary), and
  • National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) 2011.

Breaking Down the Process

As mentioned above with regards to the models themselves, the process of developing and evaluating your model will vary depending on the needs of the project, however, will typically proceed as follows:

Shape/Massing Models

An initial “block load” is typically made to help assess passive design features like orientation, massing, shading, and glazing.

Early Analysis

Models created during the early stages of a project are used to check if the initial design matches projected targets, or to provide further information needed to meet energy requirements.

Refinement

Once a preliminary model is complete, iterations are run to determine the effect of multiple different factors like R-values of differing wall details, evaluating the difference between alternative heating/powering sources, addressing core environmental concerns, and more.

This stage is one of the most important parts of the overall modelling process and is highly customized to both the needs of your jurisdiction as well as the project as a whole.

Completion

Finally, once all variations and iterations have been considered, your model will either be ready for action when it comes to construction or can be used as a reference point against baseline models to evaluate and devise an action plan to address areas of poor performance for existing structures.

The overall time to complete each model differs significantly depending on the details pertaining to the project overall.

Mechanical Engineering and Building Energy Management with KD Mechanical

With over 10 years of industry-leading experience, KD Mechanical is here to make sure your development is as efficient as possible. In partnership with Krahn Group, we’re pleased to offer you unparalleled access to a wide range of support during development including structural, mechanical, and civil engineering, project management, development assistance and more. With full-scale services that cover you right from the start to the completion of your build, the Krahn Group of Companies has you covered!

Learn more about getting started with a building energy model assessment and working with KD Mechanical Consultants by contacting us today!

Looking to join a team built to excel? The Krahn Group of Companies is hiring across all locations and disciplines. Learn more here!

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