I've been test-driving EcoDesigner Star Beta for a couple of weeks or more on a real project we are designing south of Phoenix, Arizona. So to all users operating in the much saner world of metric, please excuse my use of feet and inches.
As a result of some glitches - or pilot error on my part - I thought the Four Topics below were worth mentioning:
1) OCCUPANCY: When I set up the Operational Profile for a new type of space (e.g. Desert House - Living Rooms), I am given the choice of occupancy and days of the week etc. Instead of asking me how many people will likely be occupying the spaces for particular times, I can only enter the number of square feet per person. Unfortunately, the the maximum number of square feet per person the dialog permits is 100.00. For a 2,400 square foot house, for example, where TWO people occupy it for most of the year, the number of square feet per person should be able to be set at 1,200.00. I presume that EcoDesigner Star Beta calculates occupancy loads based on the 100 sf/person rather than the actual occupancy and thus energy loadings will be calculated to be much higher than will be the case when the building is actually occupied.
2) THERMAL BLOCKS - Edit Building Systems
When I then go into the Thermal Blocks, check Building Systems and select Ventilation Type as Exhaust, I have the choice of selecting the daily operating profile of the exhaust systems. There seems to be no relationship at all between the operational profile (defining the periods of use of the spaces and support systems i.e. MEP) and the Building Systems operating schedules.
3) HEATING AND COOLING
In our climate (Phoenix, Arizona) temperatures of between 40C and 45C are normal during the day (and some nights) between late April and Mid October. Heating is rarely if ever needed especially in newer buildings and some better-designed houses. Cooling and the performance of the building envelope and shading is of paramount importance - as is water usage.
In the Building Systems dialogue, "GREEN SYSTEMS" is unavailable and there is no provision for defining the temperature range for hot water.
4) GLAZED AREAS - ZONE CONFLICTS?
On the Desert House project (mentioned above), I currently have shaded, south-facing clerestory windows overlooking the roof of another part of the same building. The building has four different flat roof heights. Ecodesigner tells me that these windows are interior windows belonging to the spaces below the roof. There seems to be a zone clash. Am I right in thinking that the zone height I set for all spaces (22feet) is the problem even though every one of the zones has been trimmed to below their covering roofs using Solid Element Operations.
I'd be glad to hear from anyone who has run into these situations and who has ideas as to work-arounds or if we beta testers will have to wait until certain aspects of Ecodesigner Star are smoothed out.