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Klima-engineering / integrated design process

Klima-engineering: Bridging the gap between architect and services engineer

The goal of the consulting activity of the climate engineer is to help developing a building with optimized thermal and visual indoor comfort while minimizing the energy consumption and if possible reducing the investment burden. This activity, intended as advisory service for and with architect and services engineers, should take place at best in the pre-design and concept design phases, since retroactive modifications of energy and ventilation concepts can only be integrated with difficulties into the architectonic design, causing increased costs.

The integration of building climate planning should be carried out in the very early stage, especially if passive concepts for ventilation, heating and cooling are considered. Aspects such as orientation, buffer spaces, building elements for heat and cold storage or for enhanced air flow, are considered and they have a strong impact on the building architecture and its overall concept. Therefore it stands to reason that the involvement of a climate engineer can achieve high investment and operation savings.

The planning instruments of a climate engineer:

Thermal dynamic building simulations

Daylight simulations

Airflow simulations

The planning instruments of the climate engineer permit to assess and optimize the energy concepts in their overall all-year function, thus not only at the extreme winter or summer conditions. Hence, the impact on indoor comfort and energy demand can be  realistically assessed; safety margins and uplifts can be consequently minimized or avoided at all.

Most important instrument is the thermal dynamic simulation, which reproduces a realistic model of the building being planned. The dynamic simulation offers the possibility to investigate internal and external parameters that influence the building behaviour in a time-related (e.g. hours or even minutes) fashion, as if the building were effectively in use. Scenarios with regard to user's behaviour and space requirements are assessed to enhance the indoor comfort under minimization of energy consumption.

The application of dynamic simulations is at the virtual interface between architectural planning and services engineering. An integrated design approach and the co-operation among the planning team are strengthened by the climate engineer with sound building physics expertise and dynamic simulation models. Thereby the individual and different interests of building owner (investment), architect (creative design), building user (comfort, running costs) are viewed as interrelated and synthesized in the vision of the investor.

In the end we strive for the reduction of conventional equipment, especially concerning the need of active cooling. E.g. the potential of passive or hybrid measures such as e.g. night ventilation is assessed. In the best case active cooling can be entirely avoided without any comfort losses while reducing the investment cost.

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