Building Physics Engineering
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Building Physics Engineering

As building physics engineers, we work with construction professionals, such as architects, project managers and contractors. We deliver significant benefits to their projects, including lower construction costs, reduced running expenses and better indoor environments.

Incredibly powerful and advanced dynamic simulation modelling (DSM) is at the heart of this mission and the core of many services we offer. DSM uses state-of-the-art software to simulate energy flows around and through a building. This allows us to predict a construction’s thermal environment and energy consumption.

DSM creates its detailed mathematical simulations by considering:

Climatic data

Building geometry

Layout

Occupancy

Fabric information

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning

Renewable energy system usage

The technique allows us to investigate:

Passive design – a building’s use of nature for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.

Energy consumption

Thermal comfort

Overheating and solar shading

Carbon dioxide emissions

Renewable energy feasibility

Passive design strategies

Ventilation strategies, airflow and air temperature

Energy performance compliance - for Part L of Building Regulations, Energy Performance Certificates and the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.

DSM adds value right across the initial integrated design process – from master planning and concept to project completion – plus refurbishment projects.

Passive Design Analysis

Passive design analysis reduces a building’s inherent heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting loads.
The process involves considering whether comfort can be improved and energy consumption or carbon dioxide emissions reduced, without significant cost increases, through the design of the:

Site location

Microclimate

Building form

Orientation

Fabric

Thermal mass

Fenestration – the openings in a building, including windows and doors

Daylight Calculations

Daylight calculations assess the distribution, appearance and effects of natural light in a building, to improve visual comfort and energy performance.

We use leading-edge dynamic simulation software to assess internal daylight against the latest standards. We also provide advice and guidance on how internal daylighting can be maximised. The benefits include improved internal visual comfort and a better ‘feel’, which counteracts sick building syndrome. These advantages lead to increased productivity and, when artificial lighting is linked to daylight sensing controls, reduced energy consumption.

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality affects the health and comfort of building occupants, with improvements enhancing their productivity and alertness. We use dynamic simulation modelling and computational fluid dynamics software modelling techniques (see elsewhere in this section) to assess the predicted air quality during occupied times and air distribution within buildings. The benefits this can deliver include maximised natural ventilation, and therefore energy savings, plus optimised air distribution within rooms, via air intakes being placed according to our recommendations.

Thermal Comfort Analysis

We assess the thermal environment, using dynamic simulation modelling (DSM) software, then compare this to the latest standards appropriate for the building. DSM can be used to evaluate the need for mechanical ventilation or cooling, to control internal temperatures, and for optimising natural ventilation. It ensures thermal comfort while maximising energy efficiency.

Energy Simulations

Building energy modelling (BEM) uses dynamic simulation modelling software to predict a construction’s energy use. Model inputs include weather conditions, the building envelope and internal gains, plus building service systems and equipment. BEM enables a larger number of options to be evaluated against energy consumption and can help refine a building’s design, plus inform its life-cycle cost analysis.

Low and Zero Carbon Technology Feasibility Studies

Planning consents are increasingly subject to a percentage of energy supply coming from renewable sources.

We therefore conduct feasibility studies assessing the potential impact of low and zero carbon energy sources on buildings’ emission reduction, to inform the design process.

These studies can be in-depth, using the latest software. They can also be desktop versions, based on the London Renewable Toolkit and outputs from approved energy modelling software, to meet Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method requirements.

Climate Change Scenarios

Using our advanced simulation techniques and future weather files, we can assess the effect of predicted climate change on internal comfort and energy consumption. We also provide recommendations on how to counter these impacts in passive and active design solutions.

Passive design uses nature for heating cooling, ventilation and lighting. Active design utilises non-natural elements, such as boilers and electric lighting, for these purposes.

Computational Fluid Dynamics

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) permits the detailed analysis of airflow patterns, heat distribution and contaminants, within internal and external built environments. It allows any thermal simulation to be extended, by providing a much deeper and more advanced analysis.

Some examples of the CFD services we offer are:

Internal environment

Natural and mechanical ventilation design optimisations

Detailed occupant thermal comfort analyses

Condensation risk assessments

Data centre analyses, predicting cooling performance, hotspots and flow rates through grilles.

Clean room and car park ventilation performance analyses

Cold room product cooling studies

External wind environment

Pedestrian safety and comfort

Contaminant dispersal