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Sustainable design; Energy Evaluation, EcoDesigner and EcoDesigner STAR

Moderators: Barry Kelly, Karl Ottenstein, LaszloNagy, ejrolon, gkmethy

I think this will be very useful to hear your thoughts and conclusions.
I am sure a lot of work and thinking went into it and you will be able to provide much useful info about this topic to the ArchiCAD community.
User avatar
By Jere
I'm really looking forward to further articles on this topic.

I just completed my passive house training course and will be writing the exam in two weeks. I fully intend on starting to design passive houses and want to integrate ArchiCAD into that approach as much as possible.

Enrico (or anyone else), would you be willing to respond with a brief summary of how to use archiCAD to design a passive house? That is, what steps are need to ensure the data is compatible (ex. how do you ensure that ArchiCAD calculates the correct thermal boundary? How do you properly calculate treated floor area? Calculate thermal bridge lengths?)

Basically, what is the work-flow in ArchiCAD in order to save time in using PHPP?
Hi Jere,
I'm dedicating enough time to specific topics of energy modeling in Archicad 17, to be able to understand how reliable the results are. The next article (which I hope to publish very soon) is going to be dedicated to climate data.

I tested the Archicad -> PHPP workflow with version 15 of EcoDesigner, and it was fine but not great. AC15 used a single zone energy model, like the PHPP: exported data was accurate, but limited to surfaces of the thermal envelope and windows.

The more recent versions of Ecodesigner are now multi-zone, which makes it more difficult to export to PHPP. I think I tested the Ecodesigner Star (beta) -> PHPP export earlier this year, and as far as I can remember, it was quite disappointing.

To tell you the thruth, I now document external envelope surfaces with fills, with an automated Archicad list to export the total values. I would probably not trust an automated export. The fill method is also very convenient if you need to produce documentation for a certification from the Passivhaus Istitut.

Furthermore, version 8 of PHPP is going to be provided with a sketchup plug-in, to allow easier data input.

As far as trusting the preliminary energy evaluation in Archicad 17- Ecodesigner, besides the test that I am going to describe in my article series, I'll probably need to evaluate several projects to start trusting the tool.

I hope you are not disappointed by my answer.

Hi Jere,

Did you go to the Passive House North 2013 conference in Vancouver...? I attended the session on the SketchUp plugin (designPH) for the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) presented by David Edwards of the Passive House Institute(PHI) which was very interesting. It is targeted for release later this year.

The key take away for me, in terms of an Archicad to PHPP workflow, is that the Passive House Institute is developing their own proprietary(!) PHPP import file format called PPP. This is how the data transfers from a SketchUp model to PHPP using the designPH SketchUp plugin. PPP format now seems to be the way that PHI is supporting and developing to bring data into PHPP.

So, if Graphisoft (Miklos!) are not already talking to PHI, please do so to find out more about how the next version of Archicad/ED* can produce these new PPP files for native import into PHPP. This could be a real distinguishing feature for Archicad as the only(?) full bim authoring software that can output to PHPP.

Like you and Enrico I want this workflow to work well for my projects too. Please PM me if you are Vancouver based to talk more.

Kind Regards,

User avatar
By Jere
Thanks for the reply Enrico, I look forward to your other blog posts.

Adam, I couldn't make it to the conference as I was too busy with the designer course and getting ready for the exam (no idea if I passed!)

Malcolm Isaacs gave us a quick demonstration of DesignPH. It looks great and simple. Since I'm a sole proprietor and put out big dollars for ArchiCAD, I was just sort of hoping that I would be able to do something similar in ArchiCAD to avoid modeling the project twice.

I haven't been able to get any answers on whether or not the new EcoDesigner Star will do proper calculations for export to PHPP. I'd like to know if the thermal bridge calculations are compatible (do they use the correct standard? Are they calculating to the exterior? Are the results similar to that achieved in Therm or Heat2? Can you change the boundary conditions? etc.)

Also, using standard ArchiCAD tools, are there simple ways of calculating treated floor area, ventilation volume, etc.? Enrico mentions above he uses fills, and that's simple enough, but I was hoping to automate things a little simpler to be more efficient. I probably just need to learn how to use zones more accurately to include doorway openings and such. But can it apply reduction factors to lower ceiling areas, etc?
I have been trying to create an energy evaluation for a plan now for about four days and continue to experience a great dael of frustration since there is very little documentation explaining the individual steps necessary to accomplish the task.
I have created multiple Zones for the project and have the first two showing a warning and ? mark indicating something that I can't correct. I have even deleted them and rezoned them to no avail.
Looking at the Energy Model Review the Thermal Blocks appear to be ok. The Structures indicate Virtual Inner under Orientation with the areas almost the same sq.ft. No thickness or U Values etc. the Openings appear to be correct relating to East and West.
When I proceed to run a simulation I get Warnings " One or more thermal Blocks do not contain any structures. Zones are outdated and / or have errors. I can't delete the sample thermal block. Then if I continue the result message 88 Heat capacity too low in relation to total heat.