Sustainable building design analysis using Ecotect


If you are an architect, building designer or engineer, you might have heard of Ecotect Analysis. If you haven’t, it might be of interest to you. Students or professionals in the construction industry willing to go towards sustainable design might also find this useful in understanding the design principles through a visually responsive and interactive tool.
[NOTE: I am also planning on providing training courses on the fundamentals of Ecotect, as well as green building design concepts, in the near future (see last paragraph of this article).]

Ecotec_images

WHAT IS ECOTECT?
Ecotect is a tool designed to aid in the simulation, analysis and optimisation of high performance buildings, and is especially useful in sustainable building design projects. Its comprehensive analysis capabilities help analyse and simulate conceptual designs. It allows architects and engineers to test and evaluate design strategies and to study alternatives and make decisions earlier to deliver more achievable, resource-efficient building designs.

HOW IS IT USEFUL?
Architects, designers and engineers often find it useful to visually communicate complex design concepts and extensive datasets to other project team members and clients in an intuitive and effective way. For instance, proposing the use of a shading device might not be initially accepted by a client, until the potential savings in cooling energy due to the shading device is demonstrated. This can effectively be done through the use of Ecotect Analysis.

Using simulation software, design professionals are able to continuously study and predict how decisions will impact the performance of the building from the early phases of design through occupancy, reducing or eliminating the need for investment in mock-ups or manual calculations. Ecotect gives architects, designers and engineers the power to use performance-based criteria in their design projects.

INTUITIVE 3D OUTPUTS
Ecotect Analysis produces cutting-edge 3D spatial models to help users visualise  the simulation output, allowing a smooth translation of the simulation results into the project design.  A few of the outputs from Ecotect Analysis are shown below (all images courtesy of Autodesk):

fig3

UPCOMING TRAINING COURSES
If you are interested in learning how to use Ecotect for conceptual design analyses, I am planning on providing training courses on the fundamentals of Ecotect as well as an overview of green building design concepts. Courses will be MQA-approved and fees refundable up to 75% (for companies contributing to the HRDC levy grant system) . If you are interested in attending the training course and would like to be notified when the training courses are scheduled, please subscribe to this blog or to the Facebook fan page.
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Emma Ozsen - Sustainability Consultant
Emma Ozsen
Building Design Analyst and Sustainability Consultant
www.buildgreen.mu
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The power of building codes: why fewer died in Chile’s earthquake than in Haiti’s


According to an article on Bloomberg.com: “Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year [2010] than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined”.
This is an alarming statement!


Image copyright: BBC

Even with the most sophisticated weather tracking tools, it is not always possible to predict when a natural disaster will occur.  Although we can track how a cyclone develops, it is very difficult to tract the exact path it will take and the severity with which it might hit when it reaches land.  However, there is one thing we can do: prepare and adapt.  The way we design and build our buildings can save lives. This is the reason why we build reinforced concrete structures in Mauritius, and rightly so, because we are prone to cyclonic conditions.

When it comes to earthquakes, it is estimated that 80% of deaths that occur during an earthquake is attributed to the collapse of buildings. As an example, in Haiti, where most of the population lived in poorly built structures, about 220,000 people were killed.  In contrast, the earthquake in Chile, which was about 500 times stronger than that of Haiti, caused less than 1,000 deaths.  One of the reasons for this is better building codes and better construction.

An interesting article below from BBC, talks about a system that helps buildings stay up, called the “strong columns weak beams” system, and helped prevent Chile’s buildings from collapsing.

Link to article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8543324.stm