IDEAS Seminar | 23 August 2013

Nathaniel JONES will be the speaker of the next IDEAS Seminar, entitled "Fast and Accurate Calculation of Direct Solar Radiation on Complex Building Surfaces". It will take place on Friday 23th August 2013 at 2:00 pm in IDEAS space (LE Building).

The axis Integrated Design, Architecture and Sustainability (IDEAS) is a joint initiative of both the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Performance-Integrated Design (LIPID) and Laboratory of Architecture and Sustainable Technologies (LAST) of the ENAC School at EPFL. It aims to address an increased integration of the various issues related to sustainable architecture within the framework of the Master Cycle in Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as the Doctoral program Architecture & Science of the city (EDAR).

Accurate calculation of direct solar radiation is necessary to predicting the thermal performance of the built environment. Due to the potential complexity of building geometry and shading devices, the occlusion effects of the surrounding environment, and the sun’s continuously changing position, current simulation methods require excessive computation time and may produce inaccurate results. Consequently, building models are frequently over-simplified for performance simulations, even at the final design stage. I will describe as set of algorithms for calculating direct solar gains on architectural CAD models with complex or curved geometry, foliage, and adjacent urban structures. These methods make use of graphics processing hardware and graphics programming languages available on modern computers to produce results many orders of magnitude faster than analytical algorithms while maintaining high accuracy. With variations, these algorithms can be applied to transparent shades and screens. The techniques are illustrated using digital architectural models of real buildings which are analyzed with EnergyPlus.

Nathaniel is a lead developer of Sustain, and experimental test-bed for energy simulation being developed at Cornell University. He completed a master's degree in Architecture at Cornell University under Kevin Pratt using energy simulation coupled with genetic algorithms to optimize building massing and materials. His work includes algorithms for automated translation of architectural CAD models for energy simulation and development of methods to more accurately simulate radiant heat exchange in buildings.