Energy specialists use their energy analysis software to process the architectural data received via ARCHICAD file export (detailed above). However, if the energy specialist makes changes in the architectural model, you will not be able to import those changes back into ARCHICAD. Even though building energy applications are capable of changing certain model attributes (e.g. shading settings, building element properties), automatically implementing these modifications in the BIM model is not possible, due to the lack of data exchange functionality between the energy analysis software and CAD applications.
Unlike other design activities (e.g. structural, MEP), the energy expert produces written documentation, and does not modify the BIM model. Results of the energy analysis are typically in text format, enriched with tables, charts and graphs that display building element and envelope performance, energy consumption, energy balance overview and breakdown, HVAC system parameters and various additional results that depend on the specific program’s additional functionality.
Thus, alteration requests by the energy specialist still have to be communicated to the architect in the traditional way, and eventually the architect has to implement the changes on the ARCHICAD model based on instructions provided via sketches, email or telephone.
Note: GRAPHISOFT offers an add-on to ARCHICAD called EcoDesigner STAR. This add-on provides extra functionality that turns ARCHICAD’s built-in Energy Evaluation function into a high-end building energy analysis tool. Since it’s integrated in ARCHICAD, this solution is able to evaluate the effects of the latest architectural design changes on the project’s energy performance.