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Thermal properties in Revit and Insight

Introduction:

In Insight, you can also explore the impact of changing the thermal properties of the building envelope elements. Insight allows you to adjust the range of values being considered for the thermal properties of different constructions. You can quickly see the impact of these alternatives on the building’s energy performance. This provides helpful information to assist in your design decision making.

Some of the properties of building elements that can be modified in Insight include:

  • Window to Wall Ratio
  • Wall construction
  • Roof construction
  • Window glazing characteristics

 

This video shows the workflow for exploring and changing relevant factors in Insight.

Workflow Steps:

Open a Project

View Insight Results for the Model

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

Select the Baseline Scenario

  • Open the Scenarios tab.
  • Select the Baseline Scenario to apply the saved assumptions.

View the Potential Effect of Changing the WWR

  • Scroll down the Insight interface to view the WWR - Western Walls factor.

Note that for the WWR factor, Insight offers separate factors for the walls facing each of the compass directions: North, West, East, and South.

  • Note the range of WWR being considered in the current settings for the western walls.
  • Click the factor to edit the settings for the WWR.
  • Hover the pointer over each of the points representing an option for the WWR factor to see the effect on EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) associated with that option.

Select the Range of Values to be Considered for WWR

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select WWR percentage to be considered in the analysis. Choose 65% for the WWR-Western Walls factor.
  • 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 change.
  • Close the WWR factor.

View the Potential Effect of Changing the Thermal Properties of the Walls, Roof, or Window Glass

  • Scroll down the Insight interface to view the factor for the Roof Construction.

You could follow similar steps to explore changes to the wall construction or the window glass thermal properties. Note that for window glass, Insight offers separate factors for each of the compass directions: North, West, East, and South.

  • Note the range of roof construction types being considered in the current settings.
  • Click the factor to edit the settings.
  • Hover the pointer over each of the points representing an option for a factor to see the effect on EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) associated with that option.

Notice that Insight provides different wall and roof types than Revit. When updating Revit to implement Insight options, you should pick or modify the wall, roof, or glazing to provide similar thermal properties to the ones selected in Insight.  

Select the Range of Values to be Considered for Roof Construction

  • Drag the handles at the left and right ends of the factor range to select the roof type to be considered in the analysis. Choose R30 Roof.
  • Note how the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) changes to reflect the new range of values for this factor.
  • Close the factor.

Save a Scenario to Store Roof Construction Assumptions for Comparison

  • 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 R30 Roof Construction.

 Compare Models

  • Scroll down to the model history panel and compare model changes

Note the EUI mean has stayed approximately the same value; the range of potential values has decreased as we narrowed our selections for some of the more impactful factors.

Track Scenarios Results

  • Select Scenario Compare button located at the top right of the model viewer to display a side by side comparison of all the scenarios saved.
  • Hover over the bars in the Scenario Comparison panel to display the EUI mean (or Annual Cost mean) of specific scenarios.

 

Exercise:

In this exercise, you are going to use the workflow that was shown to you in the video above. We will walk you through changing some factors in Insight.

You are going to use the mixed-use retail and office center data set from the previous exercise. If you changed the model settings, you might want to re-download it so you can start fresh.

Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Open the Revit Model - Mixed -Use Building
  2. Open the Location tool and set Project Location
    • Change Project Address to Minneapolis, MN
    • Select Weather Station 32579
  3. Run baseline settings.
    • Set the Energy Settings to the following:
      • Mode: Use Building Elements
      • Building Type: Retail
    • Select Create Energy Model.
    • Generate Insight
  4. Go to Insight
  5. For the first scenario, create the baseline
    • Set a range or value for the following factors:
      • Operating Schedule: 12/6
      • Lighting Efficiency: 0.3 – 0.7 W/sf
      • Plug Load Efficiency: 0.6 W/sf
      • HVAC: ASHRAE Heat Pump
    • Save this scenario and rename it as Baseline
  6. For the second scenario, change the Roof Construction
    • Set the value of the Roof Construction factors to R38 Wood
    • Save this scenario and rename it as Roof_R38
    • Return to baseline settings by clicking the Baseline scenario 
  7. For the third scenario, change the Roof Construction
    • Set the value of the Roof Construction factors to R60 Wood
    • Save this scenario and rename it as Roof_R60
    • Return to baseline settings by clicking the Baseline scenario
  8. For the fourth scenario, change the wall construction type
    • Set the value of the Wall Construction factors to R13 Wood
    • Save this scenario and rename it as Wall_R13
    • Return to baseline settings by clicking the Baseline scenario
  9. For the fifth scenario, change the wall construction type
    • Set the value of the Wall Construction factors to R38 Wood.
    • Save this scenario and rename it as Wall_R38
  10. Compare the results of these scenarios.
    • Click the Scenario compare button above the model viewer.
    • Review the results of the different scenarios by comparing the heights of the bars in the Scenario Comparison window.
    • Hover over individual bars in the graph to view the name and EUI mean (or Annual Cost) for each scenario in the comparison.
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