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Sustainable design; Energy Evaluation, EcoDesigner and EcoDesigner STAR

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Hello everyone, I write to you because I am having a serious problem with Ecodesigner that is driving me crazy :? :cry: : I simply improved an external slab by adding some layers to increase the thermal resistance R, after I perform the analysis of the thermal bridge with this slab in correspondence of a beam and finally I proceed to the Energy simulation of the building but this advisory message window goes out; I checked that all the materials were correct as well as the thickness of the various layers. This error comes up only with the slab with upgrade while with the mediocre slab Ecodesigner allows me the energy simulation. I tried and tried various solutions but now I find myself really at a standstill where I can't go on anymore.
Please.... I really need to solve this problem, so I ask for help from anyone who can tell me which solution :idea: to adopt.
Best regards
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I think I came across this same case a few days ago. Did you by any chance contact your local Support Team about this?

Please let me know if you did or did not, and I can act accordingly. I only ask for administrative reasons. I am, of course, happy to help regardless.

Looking forward to your answer.

Kind regards,
Hi Ghaleb .... thank's for answering me, unfortunately I had a trial version and it expired so now I don't have the possibility to use Archicad. I hope you can solve this very serious problem that would not allow me to work with Ecodesigner and obviously does not encourage me to buy it; please keep me informed if you succeeded or not in finding the solution.
Have a good day and a good job!!
Unfortunately I don't think GS are fully on board with this aspect of the software development. That's not aggressive criticism, I don't think it's an easy subject, particularly when trying to deliver to an international audience and varying regional standards. It would be great if GS got in the driving seat with this, as they have with BiM and IFC, but even those aspects are on a slow evolutionary development. Perhaps eco designer is further developed than I think, but in my humble opinion from the minimal chatter in this forum and the lack of GS promotion I can only assume it's sitting on the back burner for now. Shame really given the concerns about the climate...
Hi Ghaleb from what little I used Ecodesigner I can tell you that I found it very interesting; the slightly critical part in my opinion is that in which you have to draw the 3D Zones because if you have a room that is not perfectly regular it is very difficult to have Uncovered Areas perfectly equal to zero; for the rest I think it is a very good software, developed with an excellent engineering approach. If I'm not mistaken and you can confirm it, it's also a good tool for obtaining Leed certification; after having said this I am very sorry that it is practically unusable, useless; honestly I did not understand from your words if you can be interested in solving the problem illustrated above or if you have already shown this to Graphisoft, as with this problem no one would buy the program despite having great potential in my opinion; I believe that Ecodesigner is fundamental for energy-saving design and therefore it must be absolutely functional: anyone who wants to design and / or build a house, a building has the obligation to try to get the greatest energy savings possible, is under the eyes of all how sick our planet is, and we know that we don't have a planet B, so Ecodesigner could be an excellent ally to design and build in an eco-sustainable way. Please let me know if you have any news. Bye
Hi Flavio,

Thank you for sharing your opinion on this topic! I greatly appreciate it. Please allow me to share mine with you and everyone else who is interested. :) [this topic gets me very hyped up and excited to be honest :wink:]

Firstly, I'm sorry I was not clear in my previous post. I did in fact open an official Support case about this and forwarded it to the developers to let them know of this. As we speak, the issue is under investigation. Up until now and based on our tests, we can safely say that the software works normally as long as the users creates their own Composites or Complex Profiles, which is the more common workflow. It is however, very weird that it produces those errors with the default composites provided with the template. That is our main focus of the investigation.

Personally, I am a huge advocate of sustainability and a big fan of EcoDesigner. In my honest and humble opinion, EcoDesigner is an amazing tool, which can truly help the architect design better and more sustainable buildings.

What is more impressive is that EcoDesigner was designed exactly 10 years ago. Even though it was never developed with the intention of issuing certifications, (but more of a design-aid tool to help the architect make better decisions), it is still complaint with ASHRAE (which LEED refers to as well). But as DGSketcher mentioned, it is very hard to create a software, which can certify on a global scale. Every region in the world and every country has its own standards and methodologies for issuing certifications. This can even differ within the same country. It's not an easy task to do at all. Yet, if you compare this with its functionalities, the market, and the global interest in that time (10 years ago).. I consider it a state-of-the-art software.
Moreover, even in today's abundant software industry, the trend is that one locally developed software for energy efficiency is approved of and used for/by governmental entities. Even LEED itself, while well renowned in Europe, does not equate to a certification in some European countries. They would still require the certification to be issued according to local standards and methodologies.

Now, the initiative for sustainability at that time (2005-2010) was increasing. That's why GRAPHISOFT planned and developed EcoDesigner, but sadly the interest in efficiency went down. Because of that, EcoDesigner's development halted though if we encounter bugs, we will address them naturally.

Fret not though, because right now we are focused on integrated practices and Open BIM. This means we are working towards being even more open with other engineering disciplines and software. First comes Structural, then MEP, then Energy Efficiency. Once we get there, I hope we will see great improvements to EcoDesigner. It is still some time till we get there as this is a huge-scale project, but it is in the pipeline! :wink:

To answer your question about the Zones and Uncovered areas, I will attempt to explain the reason behind these decisions.

We use Zones for 2 main reasons:
1. We use Zones for many things, but the most important one would be the Interactive Scheduling. This is why by nature, the Zone has many parameters which relate to the other tools in ARCHICAD. This is the main functionality which allows us to do Quantity Take Offs for instance. The Zone is what "reads" the Wall for example, and based on this relation between them, it can "read" the number of Windows/Doors in the Wall, it can calculate it's Height, Width, and Length, it can calculate its Gross Surface Area and Net Surface Area and so on...
Since we already have the Zone available, which is capable of establishing these relationships, it makes perfect sense to use its functionalities for "reading" the building's envelope and structural elements for Energy Efficiency. With additional tweaks, it served the purpose for Energy Evaluation.

2. According to the standards, a "Place" or "Space" which is to be studied for Energy Efficiency purposes needs to exist. This space becomes the Zone itself, hence it's classification is "Space" since that is the common term used internationally. In the digital world, we need something, any object, any entity really in order to classify this object as the space being studied. This Space should have an ID and be classified properly, when we exchange the data with Energy Experts through, let's say gbXML file format.

Regarding the Uncovered areas, we understand that sometimes, there are irregular spaces involved within a design naturally, and that is why there are correction features, which allow you to add or deduct certain areas onto/from the area being considered. Also, it is worth mentioning that due to the way Zones work, which is orthogonality-based, the sides of elements, a slab for example - specifically the edges (thicknesses), will not be detected by the Zone since the Slab is a horizontal element and the Zones detects the surface parallel to the horizontal slab. The edges thickness being vertical (or perpendicular in nature) are not detected by the Zone then. However, we can easily fix that with the Correction - Area field of the surface.

I hope I was able to bring some clarity and shed some light on a few things!
I will keep this post updated once I receive news from the development team about this issue.

I wish you all a fantastic day and I offer my season's greetings to everyone! :)

Kind regards,
Last edited by Ghaleb Khadra on Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hi Ghaleb thanks for this comprehensive answer, I sincerely hope that Ecodesigner can evolve based on your prediction in the shortest possible time because as I have already said, I consider it a software that can truly help designers in making correct decisions for the protection of the environment by now unavoidable; I had obviously noticed the problem of the vertical areas of the slabs and therefore I thank you for telling me that it resolves with the Correction-Area field but when you talk about "correction features" are you saying that there are other correction tools besides the Correction-Area?
I don't know if you celebrate Christmas but I wish you happy holidays anyway.
Hi Flavio,

Thank you very much for your warm wishes. I do personally celebrate Christmas and I had a great time off! Thank you. :)
I hope you and your loved ones had a great time as well!

I apologize for the confusion however, I was indeed and only referring to the Correction-Area when I was talking about the correction feature. There are no additional tools or functionalities specific to dealing with the Uncovered Areas. What one can do is to ensure their model is as simple as possible without over-complicating it. The more complex the model is, the more complex the Zoning needs to be.

I am still awaiting confirmation from the development team about the main issue, and I will be sure to post an update when I hear anything from them.
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding!

I wish you a great day and a happy new year!
Kind regards,