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Ecole des Mines de Nantes

La Chantrerie
4, rue Alfred Kastler
B.P. 20722 - F-44307 NANTES Cedex 3

KTH
Valhallavägen 79, Stockholm
Kungl Tekniska Högskolan, SE-100 44
STOCKHOLM

Master Thesis Report

Sustainable Building Design
with Autodesk Ecotect

Le Sommer Environment
5 bis rue des Haudriettes
75003 PARIS

Date: 11/12/10

Raphaël BARRY

SEE Master Thesis report
Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect

Summary
Abstract.............................................................................................................................4
Introduction.......................................................................................................................5
Context....................................................................................................................................5
Climate change....................................................................................................................................5
The HQE Scheme...............................................................................................................................5

Le SOMMER Environment.............................................................................................7
The company........................................................................................................................................7
Internship Objectives...........................................................................................................................7
Typical day.............................................................................................................................................7

Case Study......................................................................................................................8
Description.............................................................................................................................8
Visualization Conventions..............................................................................................10

Relationship between the building and its environment..............................11
Climatic interactions.........................................................................................................11
Heliodon..................................................................................................................................................11
Solar potential.....................................................................................................................................15
Impact of nearby buildings............................................................................................................18
Solar protection..................................................................................................................................21
Visual conditions................................................................................................................................24

Energy Management................................................................................................26
Dynamic Thermal Simulation......................................................................................26
Thermal Response...........................................................................................................................26

Hygrothermal comfort...............................................................................................31
Summer overheating .....................................................................................................31
Direct Beam Radiation....................................................................................................................31

Raphaël BARRY

Page 2/40

SEE Master Thesis report
Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect

Visual comfort..............................................................................................................34
Natural light .......................................................................................................................34
Daylight access.................................................................................................................................34
Daylight factor....................................................................................................................................36

Discussion and Conclusions.................................................................................39
Capabilities..........................................................................................................................39
Limitations............................................................................................................................40
Conclusion..........................................................................................................................40

Raphaël BARRY

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SEE Master Thesis report
Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect

Abstract
In 2002, an environmental assessment scheme was released in France in order to
measure and improve the environmental performances of new and existing buildings: the
High Environmental Quality Scheme (HQE).
Similar to the LEED or BREEAM assessment methods, the HQE Scheme focuses on 14
different environmental themes, such as energy consumption, daylight availability, acoustic
comfort, etc. with objectives such as limitation in energy consumption, minimum daylight
levels, adequate reverberation time, etc.
Due to the complexity of the many scientific phenomena involved, advanced calculation
procedures are required to measure most environmental performances. For instance, the
study of heat transfer through building fabric to determine internal temperature variations
and heating/cooling loads or the computation of daylight levels in a room when a building
is overshadowed by surrounding obstructions is a complicated task that necessitates the
use of computer simulation.
However, if various analysis software are today available, they rarely often the possibility
to study all these effects at once. As a consequence, the most time consuming process
of drawing the geometry of the building and making the right assignments, often needs to
be repeated. This not only leads to a waste of time. It also favors local optimization by
considering sequentially each environmental quantity in spite of strong interactions
between them.
Thus, it was highly desirable to develop a user-friendly and comprehensive software that
could optimize a building's environmental performances at once.
Within the frame of a six months internship at Le SOMMER Environment - a small
Parisian consultancy specialized in building environmental certification - a presentation of
the possibilities offered by one such software: Autodesk Ecotect is given through a simple
housing project case study.

Raphaël BARRY

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According to this guide. Born in 1996. an improvement of 20% in energy efficiency and a share of 20% renewable energy sources in the European energy consumption. For France. the French building sector agreed upon a High Environmental Quality Scheme (HQE). grouped in four families presented page 6. The French Building Scientific Centre Raphaël BARRY Page 5/40 . For each theme is assigned a level of performance among three possibilities:    1 Base Performing Very Performing. The HQE Scheme In line with the principles of sustainable development.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Introduction Context Climate change In order to tackle the worldwide issue of climate change. environmental performances are assessed via fourteen different environmental themes. the European Union committed to reduce greenhouse gases emissions through the signature of the Kyoto protocol and the adoption in December 2008 of a “climate energy package» aiming at setting a common energy policy and fight climate change. the HQE Association entrusted in 2002 to the « Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment »1 the mission of establishing a reference guide for the HQE Scheme certification of tertiary buildings. the objectives are in agreement with the Kyoto protocol and the climate energy package aims at dividing by a factor of 4 its greenhouse gases by the end of 2050. It should enable to reach by the year 2020 the goal of the « three 20’s » : a reduction by 20% of greenhouse gases emissions.

SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect The 14 environmental themes of the HQE Scheme: Site and Construction    Theme n°1: Relationship between the building and its environment Theme n°2: Materials environmental impacts Theme n°3: Construction site management Eco managmement     Theme Theme Theme Theme n°4: n°5: n°6: n°7: Energy management Water management Wastes management Maintenance of environmental performances Theme Theme Theme Theme n°8: Hygrothermal comfort n°9: Acoustic comfort n°10: Visual comfort n°11 : Odour comfort Comfort     Health    Theme n°12: Spaces health watch Theme n°13: Air quality Theme n°14: Water quality Raphaël BARRY Page 6/40 .

Raphaël BARRY Page 7/40 . Apart from the case study presented in the report. many other simple examples were thus designed and tested during the first four months to understand clearly the functionning of Autodesk Ecotect. The company has 9 employees comprising 8 engineers and a secretary. The typical work hours were from 9am to 6pm with a 1 hour lunch break. Since its creation the turnover steadily increases by more than 50% each year (700 000 euros in 2008). Le SOMMER Environment is a small Parisian consultancy whose main activity deals with building environmental certification (HQE Scheme. I was most of the time working in an open space on a desktop computer in coordination with a team of engineers. BREEAM and LEED). Four themes among the 14 presented page 6 were studied:     Theme Theme Theme Theme n°1: Relationship between the building and its environment n°4: Energy Management n°8: Hygrothermal comfort n°10: Visual comfort Typical day During my internship. except when I had the opportunity to visit construction sites. Internship Objectives The objective that I was assigned consisted in assessing the software Autodesk Ecotect on a simple case study while focusing on a certain number of environmental themes of the HQE Scheme. my work mainly consisted in learning how to use properly the software.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Le SOMMER Environment The company Founded in 2002 by Michel Le SOMMER. from Monday till Friday.

The project itself is a three people family housing oriented south. Balcony Kitchen Living Corridor Storage Bathroom WC Bedoom llustration 1: Top View of the project Raphaël BARRY Page 8/40 . located in Paris (48.7°N.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Case Study Description The following case study serves as an example for the illustration of the environmental objectives addressed by the High Environmental Scheme (llustration 1) and was specifically developed to test the possibilities of Autodesk Ecotect (Illustration 2).2. composed of a bedroom. storage room and a balcony. kitchen. bathroom.4°E). living. toilets.

Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 2: 3D Modeling of the project (Autodesk Ecotect) .

ie they have exactly the same shape and dimensions (as can be seen in Illustration 3 and 5). it is assumed that the 1 st. Illustration 4: Though not alwoays drawn (as in the upper picture).SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Visualization Conventions In the remainder of this text. the balcony of the 4 th floor apartement is always active and taken into consideration in any calculation. Raphaël BARRY Page 10/40 . Illustration 3: Apartments arrangement For better visualisation purposes. the 3rd floor apartement is sometimes visually isolated from the other apartments so that it might appear as not having a balcony over itself (as in the upper picture in Illustration 4 below) though in reality it is always overshadowed by 4th floor apartment balcony. the apartment studied is located on the 3rd floor of a fictitious building (it is colored in blue in Illustration 5 and 6). 2nd and 4th floor apartments are exactly the same. For simplicity.

A heliodon is a set of pictures taken at certain key dates of the year enabling one to measure the overshadowing mpacts of nearby buildings. Illustration 5: 3D Modeling of the building within which the project fits in (Autodesk Ecotect) Illustration 6: 3D Modeling of the urban environment (Autodesk Ecotect) Raphaël BARRY Page 11/40 . exterior climatic conditions relatively to the Sun can be studied via the help of a heliodon. It thus enables one to assess qualitatively the solar potential of the site. and inserting that building in an urban environment (Illustration 6).SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Relationship between the building and its environment Climatic interactions Heliodon By inserting the project within a building (Illustration 5).

.Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 7: Heliodon on summer solstice (21 june) for 10h00. 14h00 and 17h00 legal time.

.Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 8: Same as Illustration 7.

housings from ground floor to 3 rd floor appear shaded. Raphaël BARRY Page 14/40 . Only the 4th floor housing benefits from direct beam solar radiation. the nearby buildings are impacted by the project and the building inside which it integrates at 10h00 and 17h00. However.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: On summer solstice. At 14h00 and 17h00. Reciprocally. At 10h00. it is not impacted nor at 14h00 neither at 17h00. but that is due to overshadowing by the building itself due to the balconies. in spite of the overshadowing of a small part of the balcony. the ground floor to 3 rd floor housings are totally overshadowed by nearby buildings. the heliodon reveals that the building inside which is integrated the project is impacted by nearby buildings at 10h00. The nearby buildings play no role in this effect. The impact is however negligible as only a part of the ground floor of these is affected.

That is why. it does not yield a quantitative result about the site solar potential. in addition to the visualisation of shadows. the site solar potential can be clearly seen. Illustration 9: Site solar potential: percentage solar exposure on summer solstice cumulated from 10h00 to 20h00 legal time. Raphaël BARRY Page 15/40 . it is possible with Autodesk Ecotect to quantify sunlight hours and exposure of the project surfaces and those of nearby obstructions By mapping the results directly on the digital model (Illustration 9 and 10).SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Solar potential Whereas a heliodon is a precious tool to determine the impacts of shadows of nearby buildings or obstructions on the project.

. Project close .up.Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 10: Same as Illustration 9.

The western façade is much more exposed than the eastern façade. at least on summer solstice. Raphaël BARRY Page 17/40 . but that the balcony still receives direct solar radiation and is thus not completely overshadowed to offer a pleasant place to enjoy in summer. It is thus beneficial to place the living and the bedroom along the western side and keep the kitchen and sevice rooms on the eastern side.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: The results reveal non uniform solare exposure for the different façades. It can also be noticed that the southern façade is well protected from direct beam solar radiation.

Raphaël BARRY Page 18/40 . Nearby buildings may overshadow surfaces. The difference between the two. prevents windows from receiving sunlight.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Impact of nearby buildings Urban environment can have a detrimental effect on the development of a project. Illustration 11: Impacts due to nearby buildings on summer solstice cumulated from 10h00 to 20h00 legal time. Autodesk Ecotect is able to measure the overshadowing effect by calculating the solar exposure with and without nearby buildings. diminishing solar loads in winter when needed. expressed as a percentage reveals the overshadowing effect (Illustration 11 and 12).

Project close .up .Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 12: Same as Illustration 11.

Lastly. a cut between 14% and 29% in cumulated solar exposure can be noticed which represents a loss of 1 to 2 hours of sunlight. for the southern façade.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: The overshadowing caused by nearby buildings from 10h00 to 20h00 on summer solstice is different for each façade of the project. Raphaël BARRY Page 20/40 . which represents a loss of 1 to 2 hours of sunlight. For the eastern façade. The decrease in solar exposure is comprised between 14% and 25%. For the western façade. It can be noted that the overshadowing effect due to nearby buildings is beneficial in summer since it lowers direct beam solar radiation and mitigates overheating. the corridor and the bedroom are impacted with a cut between 8% and 17% in cumulated solar exposure which represents a loss of 1 to 2 hours of sulight For the northern façade. the kitchen and the bathroom are impacted relatively similarly with a 11% to 22% cut in cumulated solar exposure which represents a loss of 1 to 2 hours of sunlight. solare exposure is lowered for the kitchen due to nearby buildings.

Autodesk Ecotect offers different analysis tools to determine the optimal shape to intercept direct beam solar radiation over the requested period of the year. The profile shown in Illustration 13 et 14 was obtained by means of ray-tracing techniques. Raphaël BARRY Page 21/40 . Illustration 13: Solar shading profile of the southern façade. In the case of fixed solar shadings.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Solar protection The problem of overheating due to direct beam solar radiation through windows can be avoided by means of either fixed or moveable solar shading devices.

Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 14: Ray tracing techniques for the determination of the optimal solar shading profile. .

The yellow dots represent the spots exposed the longest time during the day while the blue dots represent spots that are less exposed.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: Colours reflects the importance of direct beam solar radiation on summer solstice. Raphaël BARRY Page 23/40 .

SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Visual conditions The location of windows being defined. Illustration 15: Mapping of the visible spots from the windows of the project Raphaël BARRY Page 24/40 . The result. Indeed. expressed as the total visible window area illustrates the spots on which landscaping is important. Autodesk Ecotect offers the possibility to map the spots of the site that can be seen through them (Illustration 15). these spots are those that have the greatest chance to be seen when the users will look through the windows.

SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: The main spots seen from the housing project are represented by means of a volumetric mapping. Spots in blue colour are less seen than those in red colour. Raphaël BARRY Page 25/40 . The main spots of the site to be landscaped are the southern and western part of the building (this was to be expected as the main openings of the projected are on the southern façade with the kitchen and the living and on the western façade with the living and the bedroom).

energy. Autodesk Ecotect can export the geometry of a project and other information into an .idf file that can be read by Energy Plus1. The reference weather data file is taken from the Energy Plus weather file ParisOrly. wind speed (used for the external convection coefficient calculation). These refer primarily to the:  Site and location: This information determine solar position calculation.gbm files that can be read by the software IES Virtual Environment. beam and diffuse solar radiation. and other important environmental conditions. Raphaël BARRY Page 26/40 . The idf file can be further refined in the EnergyPlus Editor if necessary and is finally run by the EnergyPlus Engine to produce information about the variations of temperature. and hence incidence angles.eere.cfm. The outdoor drybulb temperature recordings are obtained in such conditions that the effect of Sunlight is substracted (temperature sensors are placed in a vented shelter at the meteorological 1 Ecotect can also export . solar radiation.idf file and visualize by different colours the zones temperature variations along the year and other such output variables () To run a simulation. but also outdoor temperatures. etc) are considered to reflect that of a typical meteorological year.epw available at http://apps1. Indeed.gov/buildings/energyplus/cfm/weather_data. Energy Plus was prefered to IES for the reason that it is a free software. etc within the different rooms of the projects. However. heat load. a dynamic thermal simulation is performed by means of the Energy Plus software simulation platform. The results can then be more easily visualized through Sketchup via the Open Studio plugin which offers the possibility to load an . The weather values (outdoor dry bulb.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Energy Management Dynamic Thermal Simulation Thermal Response In order to analyse the thermal response of the project. several input parameters have to be defined.

This location refers to a suburb of Paris where the outdoor temperatures are usually lower than that which would be observed in the city centre of Paris. the first one corresponding to a reference case without nearby buildings and the second one including them. Solar absorptivity of 0. not the hourly average. Their thermophysical properties indicate their ability to conduct heat and store it. the effect of nearby buildings is studied. Their inner surface temperature.6.40° East. Emissivity of 0. determine the mean radiant temperature. Hence two different temperature curves family are derived. Specific heat of 835 J/(kg. Solar absorptivity of nearby buildings is assumed to be 40%. In the simulation which is run.  Constructing Materials Constructing materials determine the thermal response of a project. For a same sensation of 20°C. a decrease in the indoor air temperature can be conterbalanced by an increase of the walls inner surface temperature.73° North and 2. In addition.K). Constructing materials also influence thermal comfort.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect station site). In the following simulation.93 (assumed equal to thermal absorptivity). in conjunction with the indoor air temperature.K). the given temperature curves exhibit the daily average temperature. The site location is 48.  Nearby overshadowing objects Nearby buildings primarily affect solar loads on the various façades of a project and hence contribute to the thermal response of a project. Materials with a low conductivity such as wood will poorly transfer heat while material with a low volumetric heat capacity will get warm more quickly than those having a high volumetric heat capacity and hence will not serve as good thermal storage materials. Raphaël BARRY Page 27/40 .72 W/(m. Density 1920 kg/m³. which is why the values appearing in the simulation results graph may seem lower than expected. external walls are assumed to be made of brick (20cm width) with external insulation (10cm width) and siding (2cm) of following thermophysical properties: Brick: Thermal conductivity of 0.

ie the apartment is perfectly air tight.K). In addition. Specific heat of 1670 J/(kg. solar shading devices influence solar loads on the façades of the projet. Raphaël BARRY Page 28/40 . Windows are assumed to be made of 4-16-4 air filled double pane glazing of following properties: g value of 58% and U value of 1. Siding: Same thermophysical properties as that of brick.042 W/(m. light energy is partly absorbed and partly reflected by surrounding surfaces which has the effect of increasing their surface temperature.K). living and kitchen) for a full year. Internal walls are assumed to be made of brick only (10cm width).4 W/(mK). etc). the first one corresponding to a reference case without shading devices and the second one including shading devices. In the simulation which is run.  Solar shading devices As with nearby buildings. Occupants. For instance. the effect of solar shading devices is studied. Solar absorptivity of the shading devices is assumed to be 40%.  Building activity (occupants. lighting and electric equipments release heat to the zone to which they belong. Density 120 kg/m³. They are usally used in front of windows to prevent solar overheating in summer. The following results of the simulation present the temperature variations in three different rooms (bedroom. heat gains/losses due to infiltration of outdoor air is set to zero. Hence two different temperature curves family are derived. No internal gain is taken into account in the simulation.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Insulation: Thermal conductivity of 0.

Buildings Illustration 16: Thermal Response – Shading devices off and nearby buildings on 12/01 11/01 . Buildings Kitchen Unshaded Kitchen w.Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Temperature Variations Effect of Nearby Buildings 50 40 Temperature (in °C) 30 20 10 0 02/01 01/01 04/01 03/01 06/01 05/01 08/01 07/01 10/01 09/01 -10 Time Outdoor Drybulb Bedroom Unshaded Bedroom w. Buildings Living Unshaded Living w.

7°C decrease. kitchen and living are all equal to about 1. it is only 0. nearby buildings off) occurs on the 24th of August in the living (42. while on the 15th of November. The peak temperature observed in the unshaded situation (solar shading devices off. which represents a 2. it is 2. The temperature difference between the unshaded situation and the situation where nearby buildings are present is more pronounced in summer than in winter.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: Nearby buildings slightly influence the thermal response of the building.5°C. The average temperature difference for the bedroom.2°C) for an outdoor temperature of 20°C.5°C. For the living. The temperature observed the same day in the same zone but with nearby buildings on is reduced to 39. on the 24th of August.7°C.5°C. Raphaël BARRY Page 30/40 .

no air exchange is possible between the indoor and the outdoor air which is why temperatures as high as 42.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Hygrothermal comfort Summer overheating Direct Beam Radiation The temperatures observed within the three different zones analysed show that very high temperatures are achieved in summer. page 21. Since the apartment is assumed perfectly air tight.2°C on the 24th of August can occur. Raphaël BARRY Page 31/40 . combined with the effect of nearby buildings would produce the results given next page (Illustration 17). even though the outdoor temperature is not significantly high. as modeled in the Solar protection paragraph. The use of solar shading devices is thus essential in summer to block direct beam solar radiation. The inclusion of such devices. This result is essentially due to the penetration of direct beam solar radiation into these zones.

Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Temperature Variations Cumulated effect: solar shading devices and nearby buildings 50 40 Temperature (in °C) 30 20 10 0 02/01 01/01 04/01 03/01 06/01 05/01 08/01 07/01 10/01 09/01 -10 Time Outdoor Drybulb Bedroom Unshaded Bedroom Shaded Kitchen Unshaded Kitchen Shaded Living Unshaded Living Shaded Illustration 17: Thermal Response – Shading devices on and nearby buildings on 12/01 11/01 .

on the 24th of August. As previously observed. For the living.2°C) for an outdoor temperature of 20°C while the temperature observed the same day in the same zone but with shading devices on and nearby buildings on is reduced to 26. The temperature difference between the unshaded situation and the situation with shading devices on and nearby buildings on is again more pronounced in summer than in winter. kitchen an living are equal respectively to 6.5°C. given the air-tightness assumption.2°C.7°C. In reality. while on the 15 th of November. the appartment would exchange air with the outdoors through both infiltration and ventilation (opening of windows) and such important temperature differences would therefore probably not be recorded.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: The combined effect of solar shading devices and nearby buildings significantly reduce solar gains and therefore decrease the indoor temperature of the three different zones analysed.1°C and 7. it is 15. Raphaël BARRY Page 33/40 . which reflects the fact that solar shading devices were designed to block direct beam solar radiation in summer. which represents a 15. it is only 3. These theoretical results would not however reflect the « real world » thermal behaviour of the apartment. 7.4°C. the peak temperature observed without any protection occurs on the 24th of August in the living (42.2°C. The average temperature difference for the bedroom.7°C decrease.

isolines Raphaël BARRY Page 34/40 . In addition. Illustration 18: Access to views on the outside. it is possible to determine which spaces have a better access to views on the outside by mapping the area of visible windows (Illustration 18). 1m² .SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Visual comfort Natural light Daylight access The fraction of spaces having access to daylight can be easily computed via Autodesk Ecotect.

5m² of openings. Raphaël BARRY Page 35/40 . one can observe that the living benefits from a satisfying access to exterior views.5m² and the kitchen 3m². It has an average view on 8.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: As expected. while the bedroom has only 3.

It requires material visible reflexion factors (floor/wall/ceiling) as well as windows visible transmissivity2. wall and ceiling and 80% visible transmissivity for windows. It gives a measure of the worst case natural lighting levels in a space. and enables one to assess the visual comfort performances of a project.tracing techniques. 60% and 80% for visible reflexivities of floor.gov/deskrad 2 Standard hypothesis for these factors are 15%.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Daylight factor The daylight factor (Illustration 19 and 20) represents the nondimensional ratio between the quantity of natural light transmitted in a space and the quantity of exterior available light under overcast sky conditions. Illustration 19: Computation of the daylight factor 1 http://radsite.lbl. Raphaël BARRY Page 36/40 . The computation of the daylight factor is executed in the Radiance module 1 based on ray.

Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Illustration 20: Computation of the daylight factor with (left) and without (right) shading devices .

Hence. and some rooms.33%. the average natural light level in the housing is 167 lux which is quite satisfying. have higher lighting levels than others. This represents a significant decrease of about 50% from the previous state and clearly highlights the problem of optimizing daylight levels in summer while preventing overheating. such as the living.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Results Interpretation: The average daylight factor without shading devices is 3. the average daylight factor diminishes to 1. Of course. under overcast sky conditions. the natural light level is not uniform in space. which corresponds to a dark atmosphere. Raphaël BARRY Page 38/40 . Average daylighting levels are worth 85 lux. With shading devices on.69%. assuming a design sky illuminance of 5000 lux.

In order to optimize simultaneaously environmental performances. tools are available to define the optimal shading profile to block direct beam solar radiation for specific periods so as to prevent overheatings in summer. The process of optimizing environmental performances thus become greatly facilitated since only one single digital model of the project needs to be drawn. The daylight factor is of critical importance since it represents the worst case natural light levels scenario giving an indication on the ability of a room to be naturally lit throughout the year. In this way. it becomes very easy to visualise any type of effect.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect Discussion and Conclusions Capabilities Throughout a housing case study. three of the 14 environmental themes from the High Environmental Scheme were illustrated through Autodesk Ecotect. sensitivity analysis can be performed by modifying hypothesis and testing different scenarios. In addition. By mapping calculation results onto it. the optical properties of windows and shadings such as visible and solar transmissivities can be Raphaël BARRY Page 39/40 . Autodesk also offers possibilities to analyse thermal interactions between a building and its environment via the Energy Plus platform. It can indeed produce heliodons and map the sunlight hours over any surface directly onto a 3D digital model thus making it possible to study solar potential and overshadowing effects due to nearby buildings. Concerning the relationship between the building and its environment. These results can be mapped once again directly onto the model for clarity. saving a lot of time. the software can analyse access to views to the outside and produce daylight illuminance results by computing the daylight factor through the Radiance module. the software offers various possibilities to study solar interactions. to prevent overheating in summer while keeping sufficient natural light levels. Lastly. The efficiency of previously designed solar shadings can be assessed through the calculation of transmitted radiation and internal temperature variations.

In my opinion. it is already a very complete software. Indeed. However. the many capabilities of the software associated with its user-friendliness make it an essential tool in sustainaible building design. Limitations In spite of its many capabilities. Otherwise. Autodesk Ecotect is certainly a very powerful tool that can help assess at least three of the HQE Scheme environmental themes. Though Autodesk Ecotect offers the possibility to favor one to the detriment of the other.SEE Master Thesis report Sustainable building design with Autodesk Ecotect modified to reach satisfying trade-offs. Autodesk Ecotect also has limitations. Secondly. like most software of its kind.thousands of vertices is not uncommon – so that tradeoffs have to be made between speed and accuracy. Conclusion In spite of such limitations. Other limitations include the absence of tools to assess water management performances. and improve stability. results should always be carefully analysed before doing any interpretation and one should clearly understand the assumptions used before doing any calculation. The visualisation panel relying on the Open GL interface may become corrupted from time to time. Raphaël BARRY Page 40/40 . Autodesk Ecotect has today no capability in this field. themes such as Acoustic comfort or Energy Management could not be treated. The first limitation is probably due to the conditions under which results are obtained. model geometry quickly becomes very complex . Though the HQE Scheme adresses issues such as rainwater collection or watertightness. Autodesk Ecotect still suffers from unstability which frequently leads to unwanted program termination. Though it is hoped that the next versions will integrate new capabilities. though the issue was adressed many times to the developpers. Due to lack of time. Autodesk Ecotect also offers adapted analysis tools to treat these issues. Autodesk Ecotect may give totally erroneous results.