Building Modelling at Solid Green
This article comprises a breakdown of the comprehensive accreditation and performance modelling and simulation which we perform on our buildings at Solid Green.7
Accreditation modelling and simulation
Green Star, the green building rating tool of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), includes a number of credits where simulation is the preferred means to compliance. These include the credits dealing with energy, air change effectiveness, natural light, daylight glare control and thermal comfort. Solid Green Consulting has extensive experience in modelling and simulation for projects seeking Green Star certification, and has been involved with the GBCSA in developing and improving the simulation process in Green Star.
LEED, the green building rating tool of the United States Green Building conditional requirement to meet the ASHRAE 90.1 energy efficiency standard. Alongside our partners Ecocentric (cc), Solid Green is involved in compliance and design modelling for LEED projects in South Africa, including a hotel and a precinct.
The National Building Regulations, including the voluntary SANS 204 standard and the compulsory SANS 10400 Part XA standard, can be complied with using modelling and simulation. Simulation represents one way that new buildings in South Africa can demonstrate the rational design method of compliance with the above standards.
Performance modelling and simulation
Energy modelling involves appraising the actual energy performance of all building systems as modelled on the site and in the climate that they will be built. It is a powerful tool that can compare the energy performance of different design options, and optimize any passive or active system for best results.
Natural light simulation aims to achieve good levels of daylight for different sky conditions at different times of the sky. The benefits of natural light are extensive, and with the aid of modelling can be used to drastically reduce artificial lighting requirements and heat gains in any space.
Thermal comfort has for the last century been dealt with too simplistically in that only air temperatures have been used as design metrics. In reality, a host of other factors including humidity and the temperatures of surfaces inside a space are dominant contributors for thermal comfort. By using thermal comfort models to accurately predict real comfort in buildings, passive and active systems can be designed to achieve what they set out to, reducing overdesign and the risk of retrofit, and improving indoor environmental quality.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a powerful simulation method that has been used effectively in aerospace and automotive industries to the extent that physical testing is often done away with. CFD has important applications in buildings, especially in natural ventilation design. It can be used at high granularity to show any number of airflow, temperature or thermal comfort characteristics throughout a space. Natural ventilation designs can be tested and shown to work before they are built, significantly reducing the likelihood of artificial ventilation retrofit. It can also be used to achieve great artificial ventilation design.