Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), a provider of integrated performance analysis software and consulting services for sustainable building design, has added climate exploration, water reviews, low zero carbon technology consideration and analysis for certain LEED credits to its VE-Toolkits. The updated VE-Toolkit enables architects and master planners to choose from sets of typical properties and provides users with more detailed, highly visual and rich-text reporting. With these new features, IES offers rapid feedback on LEED and sustainability analysis to improve architects' overall productivity from the earliest stage of the design process.
The three-tab combination consists of Overview, Sustainability and LEED sections. The user can utilize these tabs to analyze design ideas in many ways, while assessing the overall feasibility and impact of sustainable strategies at the earliest stages - ultimately allowing the user to make informed design decisions using performance data. The VE-Toolkits are accessed via Revit and SketchUp plug-ins, as well as through IES' gbXML import for ArchiCAD users. The Overview and Sustainability tab are part of the Sustainability VE-Toolkit, while the LEED tab makes up the VE-Toolkit for LEED.
The LEED tab has been expanded to cover the two most recent versions of the New Construction, Schools and Core&Shell schemes. For example, for the NC 3.0 2009 requirements, up to 15 LEED points can be assessed across the five credits covered, with the VE-Toolkit providing an indicator of whether or not the credit can be achieved. Users can review daylighting, comfort, water and renewables.
The new Overview tab has several very early stage climate exploration capabilities previously not available to building designers. The new IES "Climate Metrics" capability analyses the climate for the location, bringing relevant characteristics to the surface for evaluation. The new "Climate Energy Index" is a building-independent rating created by IES, which benchmarks the climate against common well-know global locations. The "Natural Resources" capability identifies the climate potential for renewables, while a "Materials Review" and interrogation of "Building Metrics" are also provided.
"The enhancements to our VE-Toolkits came from working closely with architects and engineers from around the world. We recognized that architects can greatly influence the subsequent opportunities to reduce building energy use, understanding that they required tools to aid them. By focusing these new upgrades on functionality, accessibility and productivity for the earliest stage of design, we answer these needs," said Dr. Don McLean, founder and managing director of IES. "The early stage analysis provided by the VE-Toolkits gives users functionalities that are unparalleled in today's market."
Finally, the Sustainability tab covers several functionalities including energy/carbon, loads calculations, solar shading and daylight assessments. Along with these important capabilities, IES now offers two new features: water review and low/zero carbon technology (LZCT) evaluation. The water review analyzes the occupancy and fixture type selections to establish a proposed and baseline case for comparison, identifying what water reduction measures offer the highest percentage of savings. LEED, BREEAM and Green Star calculation approaches are covered. The LZCT function assesses feasibility in relation to delivered energy and carbon emission mitigation.