There's a real misconception that exists around the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) that it is purely reserved for use in large aerospace or automotive projects, adopted by only the wealthiest organizations around the world. While companies such as Boeing have shown the many advantages simulation can bring, modern vendors have changed the space substantially, using high performance trends such as the cloud to increase CFD use across more industries. In this article, we explore how CFD lends itself perfectly to the built environment, and explain how architects, designers, building consultants and surveyors could benefit. Here are 6 reasons why you should consider using simulations in your next project.
(1) It Complements BIM Practices
Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become more and more widespread over recent years with engineers and designers now routinely running time and light studies, finite element analyses and energy efficiency studies within their chosen BIM model. The extension of a building model to a CFD analysis is much easier now than it was ten years ago, and HVAC designers can run through a number of scenarios for heating and ventilation systems using a variety of strategies inside an actual building model.
(2) You Can Stop Guessing
Despite ASHRAE standards, current HVAC specifications are often assumptions based on prior experience with equipment or designs. In fact, many engineers oversize their HVAC units because they can't identify where thermal differentials such as radiant temperature asymmetries, drafts, variations etc will happen in a building. With CFD simulation, HVAC solutions can be much more accurate therefore increasing efficiency and reducing costs or wasteful resources.
(3) Streamline The Decision-Making Process
With CFD analysis, visuals can be produced to show the impact design alternatives will make, meaning architects can move walls, change glazing effects, reposition HVAC systems - and many other things - to improve not only occupant comfort, but meet safety standards and increase energy efficiency. Often, simulation visuals can prove extremely helpful to explain the impact a design change can have to an owner or stakeholder allowing all members of the team to easily grasp the results of a simulation, and reach agreement quickly for subsequent actions or changes.
Fig 1. A CFD simulation of an indoor farming facility.
(4) You Can Access CFD On-Demand
The emergence and adoption of the cloud has meant BIM and CFD tools are now much more accessible and affordable. Designers, architects and engineers can now use tools such as EXN/Aero on-demand as and when needed. This on-demand capability also means architects can use CFD on the fly, rather than being tied into lengthy licenses, and list CFD services in pitches to prospective clients without any risky outlay.
(5) You Don't Need To Be A CFD Engineer
Vendors (like Envenio) have been working hard to improve education and reduce the learning curve around CFD use. Tools such as EXN/Aero are designed to be relatively simple to use and vendors are providing a higher level of support to ensure those using their product are getting the most out of the results. Here at Envenio, we offer a high range of support services along with engineering services including a Discovery Project where we run the simulations for you!
(6) It's Cheaper Than You Think
Gone are the days where you needed to fork out huge capital investment to get started with simulation. EXN/Aero is available on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you pay only a monthly subscription. This means smaller businesses and freelancers can better manage cashflow and potentially increase their profitability - while still using high performance technology that allows them to keep up with the competition.
Fig 2. A time, cost and revenue comparison between traditional CFD methods and the EXN/Aero tool.
Try It For Yourself
Whether you're working on an operating room, an indoor farming plant, a new residential building, office block or tourist landmark, a proper CFD analysis can save a staggering amount of money on initial capital costs. In addition, ongoing simulation use can help to improve the building's overall operating and energy costs, meeting the increasing energy efficiency requirements of the built environment - something that is a leading priority around the world.
There's no excuse to not being able to take advantage of simulation. Envenio has created the Discovery Project and Onboarding Program to further assist those without CFD experience. With the Discovery Project, Envenio executes a project on the client's behalf, returning engineering data and results according to an agreed set of objectives. With the Onboarding Program, Envenio works alongside the client to kick start their simulation project while training them fully on the platform. It guarantees the client is successful in using affordable simulation software tool, EXN/Aero, and minimizes the learning curve.
- Our general purpose, cost-effective CFD, cloud solver reduces simulation times by up to 20x, and the platform includes a meshing tool, the solver, and a post-processing tool, as well as plenty of storage for your files. If you're working on a building project - or have any other HVAC CFD simulation requirements - why not try a free demo of EXN/Aero today and start using CFD for building design?