TLC Engineering for Architecture
IESVE software chosen as primary Energy Modeling tool due to its integrated environment, reliable results, visual graphics and time/cost saving benefits
TLC moves to VE to improve efficiency
TLC Engineering for Architecture has made the commitment to use the Virtual Environment (VE) as their primary energy calculation tool, utilizing its advanced capabilities for HVAC loads and energy modeling, as well as helping their architectural clients with daylight analysis and modeling.
“With such a major, ‘all-in’ move, we felt it was vital to make a similar commitment to educating our staff in how to effectively use this powerful suite of tools”, explains Kim Shinn, Principal/Senior Sustainability Consultant at TLC. “With 300 employees and 11 offices, the challenge was to train our staff in the most efficient way possible to maximize the effectiveness of the training and the VE. To achieve this we brought 22 engineers and designers from all around the firm for three days of in-person live IES training.”
“IES took the approach that it was best to show us how to use the VE in application to real project situations, not just a sequence of ‘this button does that’ – we’ve got the self-paced tutorial information for that. This contextual approach to training was extraordinarily valuable, and really grounded our modelers in understanding how the VE would make their design tasks easier and the designs themselves better. The investment that we made in this training was the best money we have spent in upgrading our energy modeling capabilities – easily the equal to the value of the investment that we made in the VE licenses themselves.”
He adds, “Those three days enabled our modelers to ‘hit the ground running’ with the VE, and to even begin training their colleagues and peers back at their local offices. At IES’ suggestion, we have established an “intranet” forum for our modelers to ask one another questions and to build a Wiki-like knowledge base for our future modelers. IES has been kind enough to monitor the forum and frequently offer advice and assistance. This is an unprecedented level of vendor support for a software product, and certainly has exceeded our expectations. We talk about how TLC distinguishes itself from our competitors in our belief in delivering Extreme Service to our clients. IES has demonstrated that it believes in Extreme Service as well.”
Why the VE?
When asked why they chose to move to the VE, Kim Shinn said, “The VE contains the most complete set of advanced analysis tools in an integrated software suite that we have seen. It is a major advantage to be able to build a model once, and then perform everything from a PRM simulation to CFD without rebuilding.” Adding, “Having a program that integrates load calculations, energy modelling, daylighting analysis, life-cycle cost analysis, etc. into one central program saves time and leads to much more consistent, reliable and robust results across the various disciplines”
“It allows us to be much more consultative with our architectural clients at earlier stages of design, and to be a truly integrated design participant in the conceptual design where we can have very large effect on energy use through truly informed passive design decision-making.”
Kim noted many benefits of the firm moving to the VE, saying, “Having ASHRAE 62.1, 90.1, and 55 data integrated is a time saver, but the integrated environment is the largest benefit.” He adds, “Being able to view results dynamically using Vista allows users to analyze how systems are performing and improve upon them.” And finally “The graphic capabilities to both present the model geometry and the data appeals to our architectural clients since it is so much more visual. Other energy modelling programs are quite frankly a little clunky when it comes to graphic capability.”
Projects that TLC is currently using the Virtual Environment for include:
> Mayport Fitness Center
This project includes DCV and solar hot water. TLC used the VE to modify prototype systems to create hybrid systems that matched this project very closely e.g. A dedicated outside air system that also served spaces directly; coupled air rotation units serving the gymnasium.
> The Red Sox training facility
The diverse space types in a professional sports facility led TLC to design several custom systems to satisfy the requirements for this project. Component based modelling in ApacheHVAC allowed TLC to create detailed models of the custom systems to simulate their performances.
> The Ft Benning Martin Army Community Hospital
When created, this was the largest model to go into a full PRM simulation using IES’ ASHRAE 90.1 VE-Navigator. Daylight harvesting and unoccupied setbacks are two of the energy conservation measures employed at Ft. Benning.