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Outwith domain...within terrain - Effects of early design energy modelling on architects' design practice

Oliveira, Sonja; Marco, Elena; Getting, Bill; Organ, Samantha


Samantha Organ
Senior Lecturer in Building Surveying


This paper examines the effects of early stage design energy modelling technology on architects’ design practice. Energy analysis in design has traditionally been the domain of the building services engineer with emphasis placed on verifying established building simulation models at late stages in design. Recently, however, with advances in digital design media, leading architectural firms are acquiring in-house design simulation for energy modelling. The effects of broadening the use of energy modelling technology on architecture design practice or the design process are however, poorly understood. Industry and academic attention has been gathering on the topic of building performance simulation with most of the focus placed on standardising the wide array of tools and narrowing the broad spectrum of analysis parameters. Few discussions examine approaches to energy analysis across the diverse design settings and the principles, assumptions and identities designers negotiate. The analysis draws on institutional theory utilising semi structured interviews and focus group with 19 participants across 3 large international architecture firms. Preliminary findings indicate differing organizational, team and project approaches with an emphasis placed on legitimating established design assumptions across the three firms. The implications of the findings are twofold. First, the analysis provides an initial overview of how early stage design energy modelling is considered in design in architecture practice in the UK. Second, the paper provides an understanding of how architects negotiate meaning on energy in design. There are also implications for energy policy development in the context of the built environment particularly concerning building performance.


Oliveira, S., Marco, E., Getting, B., & Organ, S. (2016, June). Outwith domain...within terrain - Effects of early design energy modelling on architects' design practice. Paper presented at International Conference on Integrated Design

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name International Conference on Integrated Design
Start Date Jun 30, 2016
End Date Jul 1, 2016
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords energy modelling, building performance, architecture, institutional logics, design practice
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : International Conference on Integrated Design : Building our future, University of Bath