Cyclone Energy Group - Energy Modelling for LEED, Code Compliance & Net-Zero


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Cyclone Energy Group have been using the IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) since their inception in 2012 to create between 400-500 energy models and deliver reliable results for their clients.

Key Facts

  • IESVE users since 2012
  • 400-500 VE models
  • Used on several net-zero projects and to certify LEED Silver, Gold & Platinum projects
  • Time savings of up to 50% on Title 24 projects

Since 2012, Chicago-based consulting firm, Cyclone Energy Group, have been providing analysis, cutting-edge insights, and practical solutions for achieving energy efficiency at all stages of the commercial building life cycle. During this time, they have used IESVE software on between 400-500 models, to help deliver the best results for their clients.

As many of their projects involve extremely complex high-rise buildings, Cyclone Energy Group required a reliable software tool which could handle the complexity of such buildings and their unique systems. With a major focus of their services centring around code compliance, LEED and systems modelling, they found IESVE to be the most comprehensive suite of energy modelling software to provide the capabilities and level of technical detail which their projects require.

Most of Cyclone’s projects begin with geometry creation in IESVE’s ModelIT tool. This has been particularly useful for many of their large-scale high-rise projects, where they have found the capacity of other modelling software to be too limited. ModelIT has also become their go-to geometry tool for Californian Title24 compliance projects. The  detailed geometry option for Title24 can be especially challenging. While a common approach involves building the geometry in one tool, then translating in another before it can be read by the Californian government’s CBECC-Com platform, the Cyclone team have found this approach to be fairly time consuming, due to the amount of debugging required at each stage of the geometry transfer. Instead, they create all of their geometry in ModelIT and export the XML file directly to CBECC-Com, eliminating the level of debugging typically required. In fact, Cyclone estimate that this approach has helped them make time savings of approximately 50% on their Title24 projects.

The Navigators embedded within the software - in particular the ASHRAE 90.1 and LEED navigators – have also helped make life much easier for the Cyclone team when delivering LEED and code compliance projects. This has been especially true for their entry-level modellers, providing them with a step-by-step workflow to streamline their projects and take a lot of the pain out of what may otherwise be a fairly complex learning process.

However, the favourite application of Cyclone’s team is ApacheHVAC. Most other energy modelling software tools on the market do not offer logic level controls, meaning the user simply selects a generic system type, assigns the zone and then runs the simulation. However, this approach is not adequate for reliable modelling of complex HVAC systems and can often lead to inaccuracy in the end results. IES’ ApacheHVAC tool provides a much more detailed and customizable approach, allowing the user to model almost any type of HVAC design, using logic level controls to generate reliable results and simulate aspects such as plant level heat transfer and chiller plant. This capability is particularly important to Cyclone when dealing with detail-oriented clients and is a level of functionality which the team have found to be rare in the market.

The ability to perform a wide range of different analyses from a single platform is another added benefit to Cyclone. Recently, they have noticed a growing demand for daylight simulation studies which the RadianceIES tool has enabled them to provide. This has been particularly useful for LEED applications, including Spatial Daylight
Autonomy (sDA) and Annual Sunlight Exposure (ASE) calculations, as well as glare possibility studies. Meanwhile, the VE’s airflow applications – MicroFlo and MacroFlo
– have enabled them to include building type CFD and other airflow analyses within their services, with recent project examples including a chiller plant temperature
distribution study and a wind analysis of an office building, looking at wind directed odors to outdoor air louvers.

Cyclone are clearly passionate about providing accurate results for their clients and the results analysis capabilities of VistaPro, they believe, help them achieve this - especially when it comes to debugging HVAC systems components within a model. Through a combination of high-quality visualisations and comparisons, and the ability to evaluate how the design operates on a step-by-step basis, the team can easily pick up errors and deliver reliable results to their clients with confidence.

“For us, reliability is key. We have explored other modelling tools in the past but have never felt like those are capable of doing what we as a business need. I’ve trained several modellers now and always tell them, to model in a detailed and technical way, go for IES.”

Allen Mei, Building Analyst, Cyclone Energy Group



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