London – 8 July 2013 – Sefaira announced that it has added a feature to assess passive heating and cooling strategies, giving architects the ability to evaluate multiple passive design options in parallel in a matter of minutes during early stage design. This new Thermal Comfort Analysis capability is powered by EnergyPlus, the industry standard energy-modeling engine developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Thermal Comfort Analysis provides architects with valuable information about whether a building will maintain comfortable conditions when mechanical systems are turned off. This information helps architects design buildings that do not need a mechanical heating and cooling system, otherwise known as passive buildings. In temperate climates, architects may be able to design a building that stays comfortable with passive systems alone, such as natural ventilation, shading, thermal mass, or insulation. Eliminating one or more mechanical systems can mean significant energy savings, as well as savings on the capital costs of that equipment. Using this feature, designers can quickly compare the effectiveness of strategies like shading, natural ventilation, or insulation, as well as the combined effects of multiple strategies to determine the best possible passive design to achieve the desired result for their clients.
This is particularly important for architects in countries like the UK, where the use of mechanical cooling is prohibited for some building types. But also in the U.S. there is growing interest in passive design methodologies. Emerging standards emphasize ultra-low-energy, for example PassiveHouse, a design methodology and energy standard that champions a super insulated, airtight building using 70-90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a conventional new building. Other examples include the Living Building Challenge, a performance standard that calls for net zero energy, waste and water; the 2030 Challenge which aims to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and the AIA 2030 Commitment striving toward the goal of carbon neutral buildings by 2030.
“Sefaira Concept has always allowed users to see the energy savings from various sustainable design strategies, including natural ventilation, shading, and more,” said Carl S. Sterner, LEED AP, Product Manager, Sefaira. “Now with Thermal Comfort Analysis, architects can ‘turn off’ a mechanical system and see how this will effect thermal comfort. Simply put, with this new feature Sefaira is now helping architects to design not only better buildings, but better passive buildings.”
Founded in 2009, Sefaira produces cloud-based energy efficiency software to help architects design high-performing buildings. Using Sefaira, architects and other building designers can analyse and compare multiple building strategies within a fraction of the time and cost previously required. This includes defining, quantifying, and optimising the energy, water, carbon and financial benefits of relevant design strategies.
Sefaira won Gold at the 2013 Ecosummit award in Berlin as well as the “Green Building Innovation of the Year” award at London’s Ecobuild 2011. It has been named to the Red Herring Top 100 Europe in 2013 and Going Green Global Top 200 private companies in 2012. Sefaira has offices in London and New York.