How can we choose the building performance simulation software that helps its users make the best decisions? This presentation explores the psychology of simulation users interacting with two similar simulation tools and tracks the different patterns of design exploration, outcome, and user satisfaction that result. It focuses on the importance of accurate real-time feedback to enhance the abilities of designers and building analysts. In a study, 40 subjects with backgrounds in building design and technology completed two shading design exercises to balance glare reduction and annual daylight availability in two open office arrangements using two simulation tools with differing system response times, AcceleradRT and DIVA-for-Rhino. Subjects with access to real-time simulation feedback tested more design options, reported higher confidence in design performance and increased satisfaction with the design task, and produced better-performing final designs with respect to spatial daylight autonomy and enhanced simplified daylight glare probability.
Dr. Nathaniel Jones is a building scientist, educator, and software developer. He is currently an Advanced Technology & Research analyst at Arup and teaches building science at the University of San Francisco. His background spans architectural design, engineering, and computer science, with an emphasis tools that aid informed decision making in early design. He is the developer of Accelerad, a suite of open-source GPU-based lighting and daylighting simulation tools used by architects, engineers, and educators around the world. Dr. Jones is active in the building science community and serves as chair of the International Building Performance Simulation Association-USA chapter’s Research Committee and subcommittee on Emerging Simulation Technologies. He is the author of multiple journal and conference papers related to building energy and daylighting simulation, and he has regularly been an invited speaker on the application of parallel computation to building simulation.