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Previously we advertised the opportunity to join the Autodesk ASHRAE EMC team as part of the LowDown Showdown energy modeling challenge. On October 1st in Atlanta, that volunteer team of architects and modelers presented their final design.

Eight software vendors participated in the challenge, with team members joining from several different countries and time zones.  The primary goal of this challenge was to showcase the talents and skillsets of the team members and demonstrate workflow capabilities of software tools used to design a high performance building.  The Autodesk team included Yung Nguyen from SC Engineers, San Diego, CA; Dustin Altschul from Lawrence Technological University, Detroit, MI; Eddy Santosa from CallisonRTKL, Seattle, WA, with support from Autodesk BPA Evangelist Stephanie Egger as the team coach and Principal Engineer Krishnan Gowri.


Team Autodesk: Krishnan, Dustin, Eddy, and Stephanie. Not pictured: Yung (we missed you!)

Modeling requirements for the design challenge were provided several weeks in advance of the conference, with teams required to present their final designs at the ASHRAE EMC. Audience members voted to recognize teams in the categories of energy use results, innovative workflow, team work, and creativity.  Team Autodesk began their journey with site selection and analyzing conceptual building forms using FormIt 360 Pro.  The Energy Cost Range was used to select the building form that best met the Energy Star target of 98, selected by the team as a design goal.  The team also pursued mass forms “beyond the box” to maximize the benefits of solar exposure and air flow around the building for natural ventilation.  An air foil shape was selected and from there the FormIt 360 model was seamlessly transitioned into Revit for further analysis to determine the best window-wall ratio and envelope thermal properties. Using Revit Energy Analysis, powered by Green Building Studio, the team automatically generated an ASHRAE 90.1 baseline design and refined shading options and HVAC equipment performance details.  In addition, Revit Solar Analysis was used to calculate the PV potential and finalize the roof geometry and Lighting Analysis for Revit was used to understand daylighting thresholds.


At the end of eight weeks and after an impressive amount of work, the Team Autodesk delivered a net positive building design with a final EUI of 22 kBtu/sf without renewables, and a net positive 18.2 kBtu/sf considering a 384 kW PV system.


All eight teams presented design proposals that are well below the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 baseline and several of them included innovative efficiency measures that demonstrated net-positive building designs.  Team Autodesk’s design featured unique geometry and a conceptual design analysis workflow that capitalized on the power of BIM from the beginning to differentiate their design.  Way to go Team Autodesk for thinking outside the box!

Access the Team Autodesk poster here and be sure to check out all the other teams at the ASHRAE EMC website.

Krishnan Gowri

Krishnan Gowri is a product owner and subject matter expert with more than twenty five years of experience in building science, energy simulation and software development. Prior to joining Autodesk, Krishnan was a Senior Research Engineer at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he led the Building Energy Codes software development team and Targeted E4 (Energy Efficiency Expert Evaluation) team. Krishnan graduated with his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Building Engineering from the Centre for Building Studies of Concordia University, Montreal, Que. In his spare time, Krishnan enjoys playing tennis, stringing racquets, umpiring matches, gardening and photography.