An architecture, building and construction industry body in the United States claims that a new automated software tool will help to simplify administrative procedures relating to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects while making life better for those whose passion revolves around tasks other than filling out forms for green building compliance.
The New Buildings Institute (NBI) says its COMNET Energy Modelling Portal, an online platform which can be used to collect energy modelling simulation results, perform quality assurance checks and submit the results to LEED Online for Energy & Atmosphere Prerequisite 2 and Energy & Atmosphere Credit, will save time and reduce errors in LEED submittals for users.
“Until now, energy modellers have had to sift through pages of output reports, locate the appropriate data, convert units, and then manually type this information into the LEED Online Templates,” COMNET business manager Jared Silliker says.
NBI says users of the new portal can upload modelling results directly from their simulation software to the COMNET Energy Modelling Portal.
The portal, which can be used for new construction, core and shell and schools projects, then filters the results automatically and sends them directly to LEED Online. From the portal, users are able to review the official LEED Online template to ensure that it has been filled out appropriately.
Although the new portal is a non-for-profit initiative and is currently free to use, payment for the service – ranging from $US500 to $US1,000, depending on a project’s size – will be required from October onward.
Silliker says NBI is deliberately keeping the fee low to maximise use of the tool and is confident that the time modellers will save on submissions will make it worth the cost.
Roger Chang, principal and director of sustainability at Washington-based building firm Westlake Reed Leskosky, agrees.
“The COMNET portal will allow design teams to spend more time focusing on optimisation of proposed designs, rather than non-value-adding tasks,” he says. “I envision at least a day’s worth of time saved from not having to manually fill out forms (for EAp2 and EAc1).”
The NBI says the portal supports exports from software programs such as eQUEST, Trane TRACE™ 700 and EnergySoft’s EnergyPro, and is working with other modelling vendors who are adding a COMNET XML Schema export option, which is currently used by Trace and EnergySoft and is freely available for vendors to incorporate in their building energy software to export standard data.