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Exploring Insight Factors

Introduction:

In Insight, the Factors displayed below the model viewer allow you to easily test the impact of changing the settings associated with key design features on the overall building performance. You can save groups of these settings and assumptions as scenarios that let you easily return to those assumptions as you compare alternatives.

It is often very helpful to create a baseline scenario that saves the common assumptions that should be applied to all your analyses before you start exploring design variables and changing design features to test their impact

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

  • Explore the Insight Factors and their impact on the building’s energy performance.
  • Set baseline assumptions for your project
  • Save these baseline assumptions as a scenario

This video shows the workflow for setting a value or range for the factors and saving them. 

 

Workflow Steps:

View Insight Results for the Model

  • If needed, generate insights for this model
    • Click the Analyze tab and create the energy model.
    • Generate insights.
  • Click Optimize to access the results

Explore the Factors

  • Scroll down the Insight interface to view the factors that impact the building’s performance.

 Each of the Factor tiles shows the following:

  • The name and description of a factor that impacts the building performance and will affect the computed EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean)
  • The current range of values being considered for the factor
  • Click the blue arrow on one of the Factors to display a graph with the range of potential values for that factor and the current settings in your BIM.
  • Click on the factor to open it and allow you to edit its settings.

Each of the Factors displays the following:

  • A gauge showing the impact of each choice on the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean).
  • A graph showing the range of performance for potential design options.
  • Hover the pointer over each of the points representing an option to see the effect on the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) associated with that option.

Select the Range of Assumptions to Consider

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select the options to be considered in the analysis.
  • Note how the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new range of values for this factor.
  • Also, note how your EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) compares to the ASHRAE 90.1 and Arch 2030 baselines following this changes.
  • After editing the range selection, close the pop-up window.

Every time you make a change to each factor, the model history will display the impact on both the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) as well as the range of potential values associated with those changes.

Set Baseline Assumptions

  • Select the Operating Schedule factor and narrow the range to include a single value: 12/5.
  • Select the Lighting Efficiency factor and narrow the range to include: 0.7 to 0.3 W/sf.
  • Select the Plug Load Efficiency factor and narrow the range to include a single value: 0.6 W/sf.

Before performing an analysis, it is helpful to narrow the range of settings for some factors to your baseline assumptions (to have a more accurate baseline model that will serve as the basis for comparing design options) versus your design variables (that you will change to test different design options and strategies).

Save these Baseline Assumptions as a Scenario

  • Select the Add Scenario button at the top right of the model viewer.
  • Click the Action button (the three dots to the right of the Untitled Scenario name), then choose Rename from the pop-up menu to change the name of this scenario.
  • Set the name of this scenario to Baseline Scenario.

This Baseline scenario is very useful for quickly returning the current Factor settings back to this common set of baseline assumptions (before changing any design variables).

 

Exercise:

In this exercise, you will explore the energy analysis capabilities of Insight to comprehend how the building envelope relates to energy consumption.

You will use the same settings from the previous exercise, so you do not need to download the project again.

Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. If needed, generate Insight for this model
    • Click the Analyze tab and create the energy model.
    • Generate insights.
  2. Click Optimize to access the results.
  3. Before changing any Factors, save the default, full-factor-range results to a new Scenario by clicking the ‘Add Scenario’ icon. Rename the scenario ‘Default’.
  4. Set the following Factors to this baseline assumption values or ranges:
    • Operating Schedule: 12/6
    • Lighting Efficiency: 0.7 - 0.3 W/sf
    • Plug Load Efficiency: 0.6 W/sf
    • HVAC: ASHRAE Heat Pump
  5. Add a scenario and rename it as Baseline.
  6. Change the following Factors of the Baseline scenario to see the effect of the range of design variables. Tip: After making a change to the factor ranges, save a new Scenario with an appropriate name. After saving the Scenario, click back to the Baseline scenario before making another change, so alternative Scenarios are always relative to the Baseline. To see the effects of combined scenarios, change two or more factors, then save the Scenario to see results in the Model History.
    • Baseline with WWR - Southern Walls: 80% - 95%
    • Baseline with WWR - Southern Walls: 40% - 65%
    • Baseline with WWR - Southern Walls: 0% - 30%
    • Baseline with Wall Construction: R38 Wood - 12.25 inch SIP
  7. Review the Model History to see the impact on the EUI or Annual Cost associated with each of these design variable changes.
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