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Software recommendations for doing optimisation research of residential building designs in relation to passive cooling techniques?

asked 2018-08-29 05:56:16 -0500

Dan93's avatar

updated 2018-08-29 10:00:00 -0500


I have no previous exprience of modelling beyond basic geometry in SketchUp but, for my dissertation, I'm looking to model the extent to which vernacular and contemporary passive cooling strategies can eliminate cooling loads in homes in hot humid climates and am after some software recommendations from those who know best!

My supervisor pointed me in the direction of OpenStudio and mentioned IESVE but before I dive in fully on either I thought I'd seek additional guidance.

Rather than designing HVAC systems themselves I'm more interested in being able to model the effects of natural ventilation through voids and other CFD stuff like solar chimneys and wind catchers in relation to specific climate data from a site, solar gains and the influence of different types of fenestration, and the impact of the construction of the building envelope in terms of thermal mass.

Any software that is fairly accessible to novices and that would facilitate the construction of some fairly basic geometry and the running of these types of simulations would be perfect. I have begun investigating both OpenStudio and IESVE (trial version) but am struggling to find clear guidance regarding these specific objectives.

Many thanks in advance for any advice you might have!

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answered 2018-09-23 15:49:22 -0500

EDSL's Tas is great at simulating passive strategies, particularly NV. Tas is also free for academic use, training material on the website freely available. (There is also a tool for adding wind catchers too.) Tas can also import/export IDF files so you can translate model data back and forth between Tas and EnergyPlus/EnergyPlus based tools. Regarding the training material, you would use the Tas 3D modeler, Tas Building Simulator, and Tas Results viewer to complete the analysis you've mentioned (without going into HVAC design/simulation in Tas Systems).

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That's great, thanks for the advice!

Dan93's avatar Dan93  ( 2018-09-24 03:14:35 -0500 )edit

Been getting to grips with Tas over the last week thanks to your recommendation!

Could you give me a little more info about that tool to add wind catchers? Haven't come across it in my playing around and working through the user guides.

Thanks again in advance!

Dan93's avatar Dan93  ( 2018-10-09 02:24:52 -0500 )edit

You will find tools to add wind catchers and sun pipes under, "Tools->Passivent Tool" in the Building Simulator application. There is a useful guide in the "Manuals" folder entitled "Passivent Tool Manual". Let me know if you have any other questions. Were you able to get license keys OK?

MSawford's avatar MSawford  ( 2018-10-09 08:42:33 -0500 )edit

Thank you very much! I'll have a look on my next round of simulations. Yeah the support staff were very responsive and I got the student license fine, much appreciated!

Dan93's avatar Dan93  ( 2018-10-10 03:18:04 -0500 )edit

answered 2018-09-24 02:49:32 -0500

lukanuts's avatar

I recommend

to shift to HB/LB in order to use only opensource software.

For cfd you may try it


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Thanks a lot, will look into them!

Dan93's avatar Dan93  ( 2018-09-24 03:15:04 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2018-08-29 05:56:16 -0500

Seen: 489 times

Last updated: Sep 24 '18