Jul '09 - Oct '09
Give your trusty copy of Heating, Cooling, and Lighting (by Norbet Lechner) a much needed rest - try Climate Consultant 4, free climate and environmental analysis software developed by students and faculty at UCLA!
It really is a marvelous tool for students and architects. My studio was introduced to the program by an instructor a few weeks ago, and since then, I’ve used it multiple times to analyze my project’s site. A really useful (and easy) resource to consult before beginning to design your own studio project. Here’s how it works…
1. Download the free, light-weight Climate Consultant 4 software (Mac, PC).
2. Go to the Energy Plus website, then choose and download an .epw file from over 2,000+ weather stations in the United States. (Since my studio project site is in Cranbrook, Michigan, I’ll be looking at data from the Oakland County INTL AP station, which is 10 miles NW of our site).
3. Start up Climate Consultant 4, then open the .epw file you just downloaded.
4. Voilà! A vast array of tables, charts, 3D and animated graphs, all showing climactic/environmental data, are at your fingertips! Navigation is really simple, you can page through the diagrams with ‘next’ and ‘back’ buttons.
The software generates a lot of diagrams, showing information about humidity, daylighting, wind speed, and other sundry items. Most importantly, though, it constructs a complete psychrometric chart, breaking down heating and cooling loads and options by percentage. In addition, it crafts a prioritized list of design principles and strategies you should use in this particular climate.
If you click on an item, it’ll even show a sketch diagramming the particular strategy! Now, don’t get too excited – some of the listed design strategies are pretty obvious. In addition, the software is definitely geared towards residential design. So, Climate Consultant won’t be much help to you if you’re designing a skyscraper. Still, if you're working on a project with a modest sized program, you can definitely glean some valuable information and guidelines from CC4’s analysis.
Well, that’s about it. I was pretty thrilled to find out about this tool, and thought I’d share with you guys on Archinect. Our studio is taking a field trip to Cranbrook, Michigan this weekend, where we’ll be designing a 10,000 sf wellness center. Should be a fun project. I’ll upload pictures of the site next week.
University of Cincinnati 2010
School of Architecture and Interior Design