EcoDesigner STAR – Day One

EcoDesigner STAR – Day One

My brain hurts. And I am reminded of the graphs I drew over at Shoegnome on why people fail at BIM. Take a quick moment and read it. Then come back here.

Read it? Good.

Because we’re about to embark on a many month adventure into BEM (Building Energy Modeling).

I’m scared and nervous and already want to quit.

I’ll be honest. I never did more than launch EcoDesigner or ArchiCAD 16’s Energy Evaluation a handful of times. I might have pressed a few buttons and marveled at the options, but then I quickly retreated to ‘I don’t have time for this‘ or ‘I’ll learn this later‘ or ‘I’m not an energy guy.‘ Okay, that’s not truthful enough. I have zero experience with GRAPHISOFT’s energy modeling tools. I am admitting my ignorance and saying enough is enough.

This will Be Hard. This will be worth it.

Path-to-ArchiCAD-17We have a few months until the next version of ArchiCAD comes out and EcoDesigner STAR is officially released. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether that means 4 months or 8 months. But we can assume that it’ll be sometime later in 2013. That’s the world we live in now: yearly software releases (note: I have no special knowledge of this so I could be completely wrong about release timing).

You in?

If you see me slack off and not post about my adventures with EcoDesigner STAR, call me on it. I’ve got a lot of other things to do in the coming months, but that’s no excuse. I can talk endlessly about ArchiCAD, but let’s make sure I’m talking about what’s going to move us down the BIM path. It’s time to learn BEM. Let’s be ready so that when the next version of ArchiCAD is released, we’ve already adapted our techniques and vision to make designing with Building Energy Models our new normal. Sound good?

Lesson Zero

I’m going to master the Thermal Bridge Simulation first. That seems like it’ll fit into my current working method and get me hooked. Here’s the intro video:

Lesson One

This one is simple. When drawing your details, they need to each be in their own detail window. And you can’t have garbage floating off around the detail. ArchiCAD will try to analyze everything in the view. My current method is to draw details from scratch in a huge grid like we all used to do in the dark days of CAD (though by using Trace and Reference, I’m using the model as an underlay and details evolve FAST). Well GRAPHISOFT is finally giving me a compelling reason to change and I now realize the value of grabbing the details from the model. But more on that another day.

Lesson Two

You need to draw air. All of it. Both airspace in the detail and also fills so that ArchiCAD can recognize what’s outside and what’s inside.

Future Lessons…

More will be coming. But I want your help too. Share with me what you’re learning. Let’s work together and tackle this before Summer.