Automated Generation of Minimum Energy Cost Building Designs: A Response of Computer-Aided Design
Energy cost considerations are clearly becoming an increasingly major determinant of the organization and form of the built environment. However traditional methods of architectural design, based upon manipulation of drawings and scale models of buildings, do not directly allow a designer to assess the energy cost implications of design decisions or to systematically attempt to minimize energy cost. Reliance must generally be placed upon rough rules of thumb, such as the avoidance of western exposures for large glass areas to reduce cooling loads, the use of forms with a low surface/volume ratio to minimize winter heat losses, and so on. Here I consider an emergent alternative approach: the representation of built forms by means of appropriate mathematical models, and the manipulation of these models by computer to generate minimum energy cost designs. To keep the topic within reasonable bounds, the emphasis is on one particular aspect of minimum energy cost design which is of particular concern to architects and urban designers: the discovery of building geometries which minimize heat losses.