What is the impact of an office building massing geometry on the overall energy use across different climate zones?


Submitted By:

Olivier Brouard

Firm Name:

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

Other contributors or acknowledgements (optional):

Harshul Singhal

What tools did you use to create the graphic?
  • Excel
  • jEplus+EA
  • Openstudio
What kind of graphic is this?

bar chart

Primary Inputs:

Window-to-wall ratio, Massing Shape, Geometry

Graphic Information

What is the graphic showing?

The graphic shows an interactive dashboard aggregating all the energy runs made of different massing shapes (office building, 31 floors, 500,000 gsf, WWR 70%) across 7 climate zones in the world focusing on major cities where urban habitat is very dense. The results are aggregated into a single interface and normalized together using the predicted energy use intensity of the building expressed in kBtu/ft2 to allow various comparison.

How did you make the graphic?

- used Open Studio to create the building shape and set up the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline parameters - used jEplus to run parametric energy simulation across various climate zones - concatenated the results into a single Excel Spreadsheet - designed a dashboard with Tableau Software - hosted the dashboard on an internal server on the firm intranet for Designers to access and use

What specific investigation questions led to the production of this graphic? List them:

How the energy use is a function of the severity of the climate and what are the predominant loads driving the energy use of a building. What massing shape is the most efficient Where is the energy use going What are the climate zone and cities leading to the least and most energy use in the world Where is it more achievable to go for Net Zero How is the facade area and perimeter length of a massing driving energy use

How does this graphic fit into the larger design investigations and what did you learn from producing the graphic?

The graphics offer a quick way to understand what massing perform the best and how the climate drives energy use. Larger surfaces area to floor area ratio increases the building energy usage. Across all climate zone, compact shapes perform better. The energy consumption is directly proportional to the amount of outer envelope in contact with the surrounding environment. The R² value of 0.842 shows a goodness-of-fit measure showing the pEUI of the building is almost linearly proportional to the Outer skin to floor area ratio.

What was successful and/or unique about the graphic in how it communicates information?

It allows designers to access to a graphic summary that is straight forward and dynamic informing different outputs scaled at different levels.

What would you have done differently with the graphic if you had more time/fee?

Finding a way to graphically show how different orientations of the building could affect positively or negatively building energy and occupant comfort focusing on Predicted Mean Vote at the perimeter of the office spaces.

Is there anything else you'd like to mention? This can be in terms of your graphic ouput, this form, or suggestions for improving the submission process in general?

This is a joint effort of 3 people: - Olivier Brouard, Sustainability Engineering Team Leader - Harshul Singhal, Building Performance Analyst - Christine Tiffin, Daylighting Performance Specialist