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What's new in DesignBuilder v4

DesignBuilder v4 adds a substantial set of new features, and improvements compared with v3 including a major overhaul to the modeller to make it even more flexible and productive.

Other highlights include the latest certification software for UK, a new Simulation Manager and Results Viewer for EnergyPlus, a new Multi-Objective Optimisation design tool and a LEED module to speed up ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G and LEED work. Many new Detailed HVAC systems have been added including VRF, GSHP, DCV, heat pumps and Solar hot water and well as a range of other LZC and renewables systems and financial modelling capabilities. 

This is by far our biggest release ever! To find out about upgrading to v4 from v3 or earlier see our upgrade page. The list below summarises the main improvements. 

3-D Modeller

  • Accurate surface geometry and zone floor area and volumes based on actual construction layer thickness.
  • BIM imports are now much more reliable and accurate and thermal properties for constructions, materials and glazing systems are also loaded.
  • Modeller geometry convention templates allow a range of ways to define building blocks.
  • Boolean geometry, cutting, stretching tools now all guaranteed to generate valid blocks.
  • Grid tool speeds up component placement especially when placing CFD components and assemblies.
  • Add surface tool allows existing block geometry to be reconfigured in a flexible way.
  • Block reflection tool allows blocks or groups of blocks to be copied and reflected.
  • Linear thermal bridges at junctions.
  • More flexible construction lines can be accessed from any level in the model
  • Create templates from model data 

UK Part-L and EPCs

EnergyPlus Simulation

  • EnergyPlus v8.3 with significant speed improvements
  • Simulation Manager allows EnergyPlus simulations to be queued and run in parallel on the local machine or on network servers. Results can be loaded to DesignBuilder or to the standalone Results Viewer.
  • Fast cloud simulations through the Simulation Manager and the JESS online service
  • New Results Viewer application allows all EnergyPlus results to be viewed and compared with previous results including detailed HVAC system temperatures, mass flows and humidity for air and water sides.
  • Option for combined heat and moisture transfer (EMPD and HAMT models) - Beta
  • Improved Scheduled natural ventilation control capabilities.
  • IGDB window panes database updated to v37.
  • Exterior surface baffle with natural ventilated cavity - Beta
  • Programmable interface –EMS/FMU with extensions - Beta
  • More detailed emission factors for CO2, CO, NOx etc

LEED and ASHRAE 90.1

  • Construction, glazing, lighting and activity templates allow baseline building models to be created.
  • ASHRAE 90.1 baseline HVAC systems 1-10 included.


  • Cutaway tool allows sections to be viewed.
  • Shading now provided at zone and block level as well as at site and building levels.


  • New CFD circulation fan can be used for server centre analysis etc.


  • VRF systems including a database of manufacturers performance data
  • Ground source water-to-water heat pumps with vertical borehole, surface and pond heat exchanger options and integration with GLHEPRO and GLD.
  • Solar hot water systems for heating and DHW.
  • Demand Controlled Ventilation (DCV) including options for ASHREA 62.1 VRP and IAQP.
  • Displacement ventilation and UFAD air temperature distribution can be accurately modelled.
  • View HVAC performance curves graphically in the modeller.
  • Water-to-air heat pumps (unitary air and zone systems) 
  • Air-to-water heat pumps (ASHP) (unitary air and zone systems)
  • District heating and cooling
  • Waterside economisers - Beta
  • Direct cooling of chilled ceilings from ground water via a heat exchanger
  • Fluid to fluid heat exchanger - Beta
  • Fluid coolers

Cooling Design

  • Monthly cooling design calculations.
  • Summary peak loads includes option for coincident or non-coincident calculation.
  • System/block/AHU loads can be calculated.

LZC and Renewables

  • PV panels.
  • Building integrated PV generation - Beta
  • Wind turbines.
  • Load centre distribution with storage, inverters etc.
  • Earth tubes for zone ventilation.


  • Multi-objective optimisation design tool for identifying optimal solutions which best meet design objectives and constraints with options for over 120 different variables.

Locations and Weather Data

  • ASHRAE 2013 locations database updated - 6,500 locations now included.
  • Latest hourly weather data from EnergyPlus - 2,900 locations now included.
  • Monthly cooling design data included in locations data.

Condensation Analysis

  • Condensation analysis based on the ISO 13788 standard.


  • Construction cost estimation.
  • Tariff analysis for operational fuel cost calculations with options for complex tariff structures.
  • Life-cycle cost analysis provides building whole life costs.


  • New more flexible licensing system allows software to be used offline.

Find out about upgrading to v4.