Committee Spotlight: IBPSA-USA Research Committee

Early design analysis is on the rise: Recent IBPSA-USA Research Committee Survey

In an effort to understand the opportunities and gaps that early design analysis has in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) community, the IBPSA-USA Architectural Simulations Subcommittee, a subcommittee of the Research Committee, distributed a survey. The survey topics included current and target levels of early design performance analysis adoption, perceived outcomes, types of analyses, largest hurdles, and tools that are used. Of the 120 respondents, 57% were energy analysts, 27% architects, and 16% ‘other,’ which included academics, mechanical engineers, and a number of other AEC specialists.

One of the key questions of the survey was asking respondents the frequency with which they currently perform early design analysis, and the frequency with which they would like to. More than 97% of survey respondents would like to perform early design analysis on all or most of their projects, but only 60% currently do.

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Participants selected the types of analyses they perform, with the option to select multiple types. While energy analysis was the most common (93%), daylight, comfort, airflow, facade, and embodied carbon were all above 50%, with hygrothermal slightly under 50%. There were 15 responses (14%) representing 12 additional analysis types added by users in an optional ‘other’ field.

The biggest hurdles identified for not performing early design analysis were time and project budget, which contributed to 60% of the overall respondents’ answers. Interestingly, almost 70% of the participants felt saving time and money was one of the most positive outcomes of early design analysis. Based on this survey, the Architectural Simulations Subcommittee sees this as an opportunity to explore further, including understanding how better communication can be achieved to convey the value of early design analysis and to provide budgets and schedule time to perform it upfront.

A full report at a later date will delve deeper into the results, including what was provided for custom ‘other’ answers for survey questions, software tools survey participants use, and a list of concerns and challenges identified.

The IBPSA-USA Research Committee curates monthly webinars, newsletter articles, and other events. It's goal is to promote research activities in building performance simulation by advocating research outcomes, facilitating research exchange, and generating new research ideas. If you would like to get involved in Research Committee activities and events, please reach out to us.