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DesignBuilder Features

graph1-150.jpgSimulation and Design

  • Calculate heating and cooling loads using the ASHRAE-approved 'Heat Balance' method implemented in EnergyPlus. Design weather data is included (below).

  • Run simulations of your model using real hourly weather data to check how the building would behave under actual operating conditions.

  • Check the effects of design alternatives on the key design parameters such as annual energy consumption, overheating hours, CO2 emissions.

  • A comprehensive range of simulation data can be shown in annual, monthly, daily, hourly or sub-hourly intervals:
        • Energy consumption broken down by fuel and end-use.
        • Internal air, mean radiant and operative temperatures and humidity
        • Comfort output including underheating and overheating hours distribution curves, ASHRAE 55 comfort criteria (unmet loads), Fanger PMV, Pierce PMV ET, Pierce PMV SET, Pierce Discomfort Index (DISC), Pierce Thermal Sens. Index (TSENS), Kansas Uni TSV.
        • Site weather data
        • Heat transmission through building fabric including walls, roofs, infiltration, ventilation etc.
        • Heating and cooling loads.
        • CO2 generation.
        • Environmental performance data is displayed without needing to run external modules or import data. Any simulations required to generate the data are started automatically.
        • Compact HVAC systems provide an easy way into detailed analysis of commonly used heating and cooling systems. Choose from:
  • VAV with terminal reheat and options for VAV box and outside air control.
  • Constant volume.
  • Split air.
  • Fan coil units.
  • Heat recovery
  • Packaged rooftop, unitary DX.
  • Hot water radiator.
  • Underfloor heating.
  • High temperature radiant heating.
  • All air systems can have recirculation with outside air control, economiser, fan and pump modelling.
  • DHW
  • Natural ventilation can be modelled with the option for windows to open based on a ventilation set point temperature; openings can be modulated by outside air temperature.
  • Glazing systems including frames, dividers and reveals are modelled in detail. Electrochromic glazing, transparent insulation are possible.
  • Shading by louvres, overhangs and sidefins as well as internal and mid-pane blinds.
  • Model glazed cavities such as double facades and Trombe walls.
  • Daylighting - models lighting control systems using one or two lighting sensors per zone and calculates savings in electric lighting. Choose from stepped or continous dimming.
  • Dynamically varying vertical temperature gradients in tall spaces such as atria and for displacement ventilation systems.
  • Architectural features such as columns, awnings and complex shading devices can be treated including the effect of shading and reflection.
  • Parametric analysis screens allow you to investigate the effect of variations in design parameters on a range of performance criteria.
  • Generate IDF files and work with these outside DesignBuilder to access system functionality not provided by DesignBuilder.
  • Choose from a range of different EnergyPlus simulators including the current DOE executable release, the current DLL release and any interim releases made available by DOE. You can even access versions of EnergyPlus you have compiled yourself.



  • OpenGL building modeller allows building models to be assembled by positioning ‘blocks’ in 3-D space.  Blocks can be cut and stretched allowing you to work with just about any geometry.
  • Global changes can be made to the model at building, block or zone level.
  • Control the level of detail in each building model allowing the tool to be used effectively at any stage of the design or evaluation process.

  • 3-D CAD models can be imported using gbXML.

  • Building geometry can be imported from 2-D CAD floor plan data and then traced over within DesignBuilder to create blocks and to partition blocks up into zones (we are also working on a new 3-D CAD import capability using gbXML).

  • Generate impressive rendered images and movies of your building design including the effect of site shading. 
  • Extensible architecture of the internal graphics engine will allow rapid development of the new modelling features which we have planned for future versions.


  • Latest ASHRAE worldwide design weather data and locations (4429 data sets) are included with the software and over 2100 EnergyPlus hourly weather files are available free using the DesignBuilder 'Install on Demand' feature. The full list of DesignBuilder hourly weather data can be viewed on the EnergyPlus website. 
  • The software comes with UK NCM databases and also equivalent ASHARE construction, activity and schedule data.
  • Data templates allow you to load common building constructions, activities, HVAC & lighting systems into your design by selecting from drop-down lists.

  • Add your own templates if you often work on similar types of buildings.


  • Realistically rendered images can be generated and exported from the model with no additional work.
  • Explore the model using simple view and walk-through controls.
  • Site shading analysis for any day of the year.
  • AVI movies of solar shading and scene orbit automatically generated.
  • Colour-coded layout images show zone activites (usage).
  • Cut-away sections.
  • Export your DesignBuilder model to other CAD applications such as AutoCAD, Microstation, SketchUp using 3-D DXF.

More on Visualisation

Latest News

DesignBuilder v4.7 is released!

DesignBuilder SBEM v4.7 approved for England and Scotland EPCs and Part-L2 / Section 6 2015

View webinar recording: Advanced EnergyPlus Modelling with EMS