Building Design Advisor: Automated Integration of Multiple Simulation Tools

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Journal Article

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The Building Design Advisor (BDA) is a software environment that supports the integrated use of multiple analysis and visualization tools throughout the building design process, from the initial, conceptual and schematic phases to the detailed specification of building components and systems. Based on a comprehensive design theory, the BDA uses an object-oriented representation of the building and its context, and acts as a data manager and process controller to allow building designers to benefit from the capabilities of multiple tools.

The BDA provides a graphical user interface that consists of two main elements: the Building Browser and the Decision Desktop. The Browser allows building designers to quickly navigate through the multitude of descriptive and performance parameters addressed by the analysis and visualization tools linked to the BDA. Through the Browser the user can edit the values of input parameters and select any number of input and/or output parameters for display in the Decision Desktop. The Desktop allows building designers to compare multiple design alternatives with respect to multiple descriptive and performance parameters addressed by the tools linked to the BDA.

The BDA is implemented as a Windows®-based application for personal computers. Its initial version is linked to a Schematic Graphic Editor (SGE), which allows designers to quickly and easily specify the geometric characteristics of building components and systems. For every object created in the SGE, the BDA activates a Default Value Selector (DVS) mechanism that selects "smart" default values from a Prototypes Database for all non-geometric parameters required as input to the analysis and visualization tools linked to the BDA. In addition to the SGE that is an integral part of its user interface, the initial version of the BDA is linked to a daylight analysis tool, an energy analysis tool, and a multimedia, Web-based Case Studies Database (CSD). The next version of the BDA will be linked to additional analysis tools, such as the DOE-2 (thermal, energy and energy cost) and RADIANCE (day/lighting and rendering) computer programs. Plans for the future include the development of links to cost estimating and environmental impact modules, building rating systems, CAD software and electronic product catalogs.


Automation in Construction



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