Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield

Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) has been teaching the IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) since 2019 within its ‘Environment and Technology’ modules for Architecture and Architectural Technology courses.

Key Facts

  • IESVE software is applied within the modules ‘Environment and Technology’ to help students progress their careers
  • IESVE is taught within ‘Architecture’ and ‘Architectural Technology’ courses and for the Masters course in ‘Technical Architecture’
  • 95 undergraduate and postgraduate students annually from around the world

Prior to 2019, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) was undertaking simple software simulations using other solutions, but the introduction of IESVE pushed the boundaries in building performance simulation technology. 

“At Sheffield Hallam University, the accuracy and reliability of data generated from modelling inside IESVE was high compared to other software, providing a compelling reason to use it. IESVE is now SHU’s preferred choice of software as it helps students with simulations for designing buildings based on validated evidence, rather than assumptions. We use the IESVE for the ‘Environment and Technology’ modules. The IESVE is studied over three years, so students can progress and develop their knowledge by understanding all the environmental sustainability and technology aspects of building performance," comments Dr Karam Al-Obaidi, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University

In the first year, students are encouraged to gain a practical understanding of passive solar, daylight, thermal and ventilation strategies and analysis, as well as practicing basic calculations. By the second year, students have the opportunity to do more modelling, utilising environmental analysis tools in Building Information Modelling software such as Autodesk Revit.

The third year offers a deeper understanding of building sustainability and environmental design. Students look at a specific space that has architectural significance with some complexity to develop and understand the importance of solar and thermal analysis, energy and daylight performance, and ventilation effectiveness. 

The IESVE helps students to model and analyse specific environments within and around buildings, by providing appropriate simulation and calculation tools and physical models. Having identified, evaluated and improved key environmental design strategies and building systems, the final part of the process is to optimise building performance and occupant health and satisfaction, with validated, evidence-based data. The students learn to read and understand the data that is generated by IESVE. It’s important that they identify any issues within the virtual building performance and then run an improved version with optimised design,” adds Dr Al-Obaidi.

By the end of the undergraduate course, students will have learnt to simulate, validate, verify and optimise building performance. IESVE is all about analysing the problem, running different scenarios, then finding an appropriate solution and presenting a business case.

With the Master’s courses, the same approach is used, teaching students to understand the reliability and validity of the IESVE software. At postgraduate level, students move from analysing a passive approach to hybrid systems or active systems and learn complex strategies to achieve zero carbon and zero energy targets and reducing the impacts of climate change. 

At Sheffield Hallam University, students are encouraged to have a mindset that offers building solutions based on actual evidence and tangible data, not just aesthetically pleasing designs. 

They are taught to realise the value of the business case, understanding that IESVE is not just a design tool: it is an intelligent business tool that can help meet building performance objectives, including cost (capital costs, operating costs, as well as net zero carbon and systems and technology).

Scroll through our gallery below for some examples of the coursework carried out in IESVE at SHU. With thanks to students Bayley Siddall, Eleanor Arnold, James Lovering & William Baldwin-Hay for sharing these examples.