August 7th 2023

IESVE used by BAM to future proof a number of UK schools for predicted Climate Change

IESVE used by BAM to future proof a number of UK schools for predicted Climate Change

BAM’s Design team (BAM Design) have been using IES Virtual Environment (IESVE or VE) for the past 10 years to carry out performance modelling on over fifty UK schools as part of the Department of Education’s (DfE) Construction Frameworks.

BAM were one of 26 contractors to achieve a place on the DfE’s School buildings: construction framework 2021. Using IESVE, BAM Design were key to this success through their detailed performance modelling to develop key criteria and a standardised approach that could be rolled out across the schools in different geographical locations. This included using CIBSE future weather data to stress test strategies for natural ventilation and window design.

The contractor delivers schools on the DfE frameworks’ high value band, which are 12 million plus in construction value. And since 2021, it was mandated that all new school buildings delivered by DfE will be net zero in operation and designed for a 2°C rise in average global temperatures and future-proofed for a 4°C rise, to adapt to the risks of climate change. To achieve this BAM Design has significantly increased its emphasis on energy modelling and demonstrating energy performance and compliance with this robust future proofed thermal comfort requirement.

The team use IESVE to run a detailed overheating analysis for every single teaching and learning space, running a number of different scenarios to come up with specific control strategies for all operating systems. Having designed 20 plus schools in the last two years for the Department of Education, the team used the VE to carry out CIBSE TM54 modelling as well as detailed heat gain/heat loss calculations. Having recently purchased the VE’s ApacheHVAC Application, they see this as a key tool for accurately predicting a buildings energy performance and really helping to close the performance gap.

For each education project, a CIBSE TM52 assessment is also carried out, whereby BAM Design use the VE to analyse adaptive thermal comfort and air quality, running granular detailed scenarios on temperature and CO2 levels. Other aspects include simulating morning warm up to avoid oversizing heating and central plant equipment. Part L compliance modelling is also carried out for each project.

“The biggest benefit of using IESVE for me is the ability to go into real granular detail and really interrogate the outcomes. The ability to dig into the detail of for instance, why a building might be overheating, so being able to say well it's not the solar gain because we can track the solar gain and we know that's okay - so what is it? Maybe the controls aren't set up properly - so we can then look at how we could optimise the control strategy. Whether that's with extending the night cooling periods, or looking at more effective exposed thermal mass, or increasing ventilation rates. That's how we've found the VE powerful, it’s the ability to track the performance and generate graphs and charts that show clearly where the issues lie. The ability to pinpoint the limits of the building's performance and come up with innovative ways of solving those challenges.

When I first joined BAM we were using a different modelling software, however we found that the IESVE was much more conducive to the ways we wanted to work.”

David Burton, Associate, BAM Design