2. HOW TO DESIGN A BIOCLIMATIC BUILDING: WHAT SOFTWARE TO USE?
Software for designing bioclimatic buildings.
Nowadays there are several software for bioclimatic design. Within this first introductory article, I would like to bring attention to 3 specific software:
CASAnova is a very simple software to do a pre-design, it is useful to know with a few clicks what are the climate data of a certain place and how these can influence the climate design.
Strengths: an extremely simple software that can be used by almost any person, and in 5 say 5 minutes I can get a coarse result that should help the designer to frame the situation.
Weaknesses: being a very simple software, rightly so, we cannot expect it to do super-precise calculations.
It is the official software of the public certifying body for buildings in South Tyrol.
The software was originally designed by the “ClimateHouse Agency” today by the South Tyrol Energy Agency (CasaClima).
Strengths: The software is sufficiently accurate for buildings whose energy requirements are up to class B.
The software is suitable for comparing the energy classes of two buildings. The software is designed for energy certification in South Tyrol, not for energy planning.
Weaknesses: the software was born as software for energy certification of buildings and in this sense, the software works very well, however, I think that using this software for the bioclimatic design of a building, is foolish since it is not possible to enter climate data of a particular site. And as we have learned micro-climate data is the basis for proper bioclimatic design.
3. WUFI Passive
Currently, WUFI Passive software is the king of bioclimatic design software.
Developed by the Fraunhofer institute IBP, the software allows calculations for Passive Buildings by making calculations nearly identical to the PHPP, but it also allows calculations of buildings from Class C to ZEB (zero energy buildings), buildings that do not consume energy.
Strengths: The software allows calculations starting either from a numerical model, such as Pro-CasaClima or PHPP, or by editing a 3D model.
The 3Dmodel can be created within the program or imported from Sketchup.
The model does both static and dynamic calculations, the dynamic ones it can do both with dry air (standard for dynamic calculations) and with humid air, and currently, I think it is the only software that does dynamic calculations with humid air (if I have a piece of wrong information please point it out).
Weaknesses: using the software and wanting to do advanced calculations the information to be entered to get a true result is quite a lot.
Having said that I remember that the software can also be used in a less advanced model thus being more intuitive and easier to use.