Data Pubblicazione:


Proceedings of BS2015: 14th Conference of International Building Performance Simulation Association, Hyderabad, India, Dec. 7-9, 2015


Roya Rezaee1, Jason Brown1, Godfried Augenbroe1, John Haymaker2

1 High Performance Building, School of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA
2 School of Building Construction, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

The early stage of design is characterized by iteration of divergent phases in which design alternatives are generated and convergent phases in which alternatives are assessed and selected. It is during or at the end of these phases that decision-making occurs under considerable uncertainty. Therefore, the methods and tools applied during these phases should
account for the iterative, complex, and uncertain characteristics of the design process. At present, the building industry lacks a consistent approach to decision making during the phrases of the early stage of design. This study reports on an early attempt to develop a systematic method for generation and evaluation of design alternatives. Using linear inverse modelling, the method combines the divergent and convergent phases of design process in a way that generates a plausible range for the design parameters that will lead to a higher probability of better energy performance, which is represented here through a
case study


A large portion of a country’s energy demand, global climate change and depletion of fossil fuel stock is associated with the built environment and buildings.

The architecture, engineering and construction community has been seeking to take appropriate actions to reduce energy consumption while fulfilling the expectations relating to human comfort, health and environmental protection (J. L. M. Hensen & Lamberts, 2011). Fulfilling these requirements simultaneously is a difficult responsibility in building design process, particularly when these requirements should be accounted for from the earlier stages of design (Augenbroe, 1992), (Struck, de Wilde, Hopfe, & Hensen, 2009).

The early stage of the design process is a vital phase of the development process due to its influence on all subsequent phases with regards to cost, quality and performance of the end product (Chong, Chen, & Leong, 2009). A poor selection of a design concept can rarely be compensated at later design stages and incurs a great redesign expense (Okudan & Tauhid, 2008).

Despite the importance, considering performance requirements at the building design stage embodies a complex decision-making task involving interdependences among variables which makes it difficult to elicit meaningful design guidance
(Papamichael, LaPorta, & Chauvet, 1997). Different design strategies have been practiced and a large number of simulation tools have been developed to assist designer in their performance-based decisionmaking at the earlier stages. However, designers still request appropriate design decision support method and tool for the early stage of design, when many design parameters have not been decided upon. They look for a proper decision making framework that leads them toward reasonable performance, gives them enough confidence in their decisions, and integrates more aspects of performance into the design process.

In order to evaluate the current performance-based approach and design frameworks at the early stage of building design, we first investigate the nature of the design process as independent from the nature of the design output, by defining conceptual design and its components in the next sections, followed by an overview of the problems designers encounter in performance-based building design. Then a novel approach based on linear inverse modelling is proposed that can generate a plausible range for design parameters given the preferred thermal energy performance at the early stage of architectural design and the implementation of such method is represented through a case study.

Conceptual Design Phase
Horváth (Horváth, 2005) defines design process as  “an iterative search process in which designers gather, generate, represent, transform, manipulate, and communicate information and knowledge related to various domains of design concepts”. A principal aim of early design development, therefore, is the generation of promising concepts, to be further
developed and revised in the embodiment and detailed design phase (Okudan & Tauhid, 2008). In this incremental practicing and learning process, it is impossible to develop a proper solution in one shot.

Instead, according to Liu et al. (Liu, Chakrabarti, & Bligh, 2003) this phase of design consists of a series of divergent and convergent steps as: ...


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