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IES Building Analysis Tool to Save Fitchburg State $1.5m

CBT Architects used software from sustainable building design consultant Integrated Environmental Solutions to help save Fitchburg State University a projected $1.5 million in construction costs and more than $34,000 in annual operating costs, during a renovation and extension to its science building in Fitchburg, Mass.

Massachusetts requires that all state buildings meet at least LEED Silver certification. The Boston-based architects used a selection of IES’ VE-Pro performance analysis software modules to run daylighting, solar, thermal, ventilation and energy simulations throughout the schematic design process for the building (pictured).

CBT says used the software as a central hub for the project’s engineers, energy consultants and commissioning agents. As a result of this process, the architects were able to drop inefficient elements such as a planned light shelf on the building’s exterior. The shelf was expected to decrease the building’s reliance on artificial light, but modelling showed the reverse to be true. Jettisoning the light shelf saved the project $690,000 in construction costs, IES says.

IES calls the project “groundbreaking,” saying it is the first time they’ve seen an architecture firm lead performance analysis across all phases of the design process, from the initial architectural mock-ups to implementing construction recommendations.

Due to be complete by spring 2014, the science building will feature high-performance heating, insulation and windows as well as reliance on daylight to decrease the need for artificial light.

In 2010, Google and IES announced a partnership that allows users of the internet giant’s SketchUp design tool to use IES’ VE analysis software to conduct performance analysis of their designs.

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