DesignBuilder v6 adds a substantial set of new features and improvements compared with v5 including tools for bulk data editing and a view showing placement of construction and glazing systems across the model. Other highlights include CHP and Ice thermal storage components, Uncertainty and Sensitivity analysis reports and a new set of extensibility tools opening DesignBuilder up for plugins and scripts to access the DesignBuilder model.
Find out about Upgrading to v6
The main additions since v5 are:
Modeller, Reporting and Visualisation
- The Model data grid tool has been updated to allow data to be edited. You can also now define your own views on the data and there is an option to export the data to spreadsheet, modify and import back to the model. The tool is ideal for bulk editing of data and facilitating QA processes.
- Graphical display of all constructions and glazing used in the model allows you to visually check and report where each construction and glazing system is applied in the model.
- Graphical display of calculated natural ventilation airflows helps you to visually check the airflows through internal and external windows, vents, doors etc at the whole building level and right down to individual surfaces.
- Rendered visualisations now allow lines to be used to more clearly represent surface edges leading to sharper-looking graphical outputs.
- Site and building rotation now handled within the modeller allowing building geometry to be rotated accurately relative to the site.
- Plugin for Revit 2019.
Hundreds of improvements have been made to the EnergyPlus simulation tools included with v6. The most important of these are:
- EnergyPlus v8.9 is the target version.
- Latest Phase Change Materials (PCM) with Hysteresis allow more accurate modelling of this innovative lightweight solution for adding thermal mass to buildings.
- Simulations can be run for multiple years helping improve accuracy for very high mass cases such as ground domains and ground heat exchangers.
- The Results Viewer has been updated and now includes options to view summary results tables as histograms and can also display results for multi-year simulations.
- Improved heating and cooling system design summary outputs including fabric, ventilation and gains data.
- Improved daylighting maps can now include numeric text labels for each grid cell and a range of options for colour palettes.
- Radiance illuminance simulations are now run in parallel, significantly reducing wait times for larger models.
- Improvements to the ASE Daysim simulations.
- Option to define the ground plane extent.
- Option to control randomness in Radiance results.
- Improved management of calculation and display options.
- Co-generation equipment (CHP) with options for internal combustion engine and micro turbine configurations. Trigeneration is also possible by combining generators with absorption chillers.
- Ice thermal storage and additional plant operation schemes allow off-peak electricity to charge thermal stores.
- Variable speed fan cooling towers.
- Improvements to evaporative coolers.
- Built-in curve generator tool allows curves to be quickly added to models based on manufacturer's data.
UK and Ireland Certification
- Latest SBEM 5.6a for England, Scotland, Wales.
- Section 63 tools for Scotland.
- Latest SBEM v5.5h for Part-L and BERs in Ireland.
See the SBEM and DSM approval page.for information on which DesignBuilder version is approved for use in each region.
Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis
The result of an ongoing collaboration with UCL and EnSims, our new Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis tools enable a systematic quantification of risk and an evaluation of the most influential aspects of a building design in the context of energy and environmental performance. By applying a "probabilistic" definition of input design variables, the reports provide a strong supporting basis to help guide design and operational decision making.
The main features are:
- Uncertainty and Sensitivity analysis results are presented as histograms along with summary statistics. Reports include clear text descriptions to help you interpret the results.
- Sensitivity analysis is undertaken using multivariate linear regression. Regression parameters and standardized coefficients (a sensitivity measure) are calculated for every output variable.
- Input design variable sampling based on probability distribution curves. More than 20 discrete and continuous distributions are available for selection and customisation.
- Various input design sampling methods include: Random, Random Walk, Latin-Hypercube, Sobol and Halton.
- DesignBuilder v6 also includes 3 powerful new types of custom variable to give you complete control of the parametric variations applied to the model as part of optimisation, uncertainty and sensitivity analyses.
- The optimisation tools now allow "additional outputs" to be included alongside objective and constraint KPIs to enable more in depth post process analysis to be carried out.
- Building rotation design variable provided (complementing previously existing site rotation).
- An API for plugins and scripts links to the DesignBuilder object model allowing an unlimited range of custom calculations, reports and model processing to be added by users and 3rd party developers.
- Python scripting enables simulation inputs and outputs to be automatically processed before and after simulations based on scripts that you write.
Find out about Upgrading to v6.