Monday, April 21, 2014

Enough with the fools... let's look at some tools!

CASE Grasshopper tools and workflows to facilitate the energy analysis process.
While many of the tools from this month's CASE announcement showed a lot of promise it may be some time before we ever see renewed interest in t-squares and drafting tables.  But April fools aside, certainly readers of this blog can all agree that information has been at the core of what we do for a very long time...  the tools for leveraging it has just evolved into something far more sophisticated than a red pen (which is still pretty damn powerful!) 

At CASE, we have continued to build tools that are helping us seize new opportunities for leveraging building information.  We build internal tools to help us deliver better services, we build custom apps that meet a client's specific needs, and we build purpose-built workflows for projects.  Interoperability continues to be a serious process concern for designers, building performance is a hot topic for engineers and architects, and computational design continues to blend together with BIM to blur the perceived lines between design and production.

Our growing stockpile of custom digital ammunition has helped us to be agile in our approach and deliver better service to our AECO clients.  Among the many software development efforts, in the past year we have created over 50 new Grasshopper components for interoperability, advanced data management, modeling workflow, and analysis.  In the past 4 months, I  have authored over 42 new nodes for Dynamo.... many of which are available for download right now as LunchBox and Slingshot packages.

On the boards...

Data visualization workflow of daily heating and cooling per zone.

So what's on the drawing boards?  For one... energy.

Energy analysis is a critical task for both architects and engineers during the design process.  As a consultant, I have observed many firms struggle with laborious, time-consuming workflows for transitioning design models into analysis models.  Worse still, reliable analysis models often get constructed towards the tail end of a process when it has become too late to change the design based on the information.  As such, a truly performance-driven process remains an elusive goal for the building industry.

This year, Alan Jackson and I embarked on a process of developing a code base for energy analysis and data visualization tools for iterative design.  We will be presenting this work at the upcoming ASHRAE/IBPSA-USA Building Simulation Conference in September.

 Here are our main interests at the moment...
  1. Early-Stage Models:  Analysis isn't very helpful if you can't use them to help inform your thinking.  We want to make it easier for a design professional to create iterative energy models to inform conceptual thinking and early design.
  2. Interoperability:  There are many common file types present in the design and analysis process.  We want to design straightforward processes for consuming and exporting energy model data so it can be used in many different environments.
  3. Data Visualization:  Analysis is more than a spreadsheet data dump.  We are designing tools and workflows to make it easy to visualize and make sense of analysis results.
Here's a preview of what we're up to... as always, feel free to reach out if you have interest in working with us to evolve the process :)

CASE components for preparing a conceptual multi-zone analysis model.
CASE nodes for charting make it easy to visualize analysis results inside of Grasshopper.
Comparing results between parametric iterations of single and multi-story volumes.
Reading a GBXML created with Autodesk Revit and exporting it as an IDF for EnergyPlus

A short tour of some general analysis workflows...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New CASE Building Suite has landed! #CASEbs

After many late nights of hardcore research, development, ping pong, CoD, and energy drinks, we have finally released our own set of tools for the building industry!  We are set to transform how architects and engineers design, analyze, and collaborate with our new Building Suite!!!

...Visit our site to learn more about CASE Building Suite!...