First, I needed to decide on a site location. Using Google Earth to explore both the Stanford Dish and Jasper Ridge locations, I felt that Jasper Ridge was more scenic and would allow visitors to feel more immersed in nature (see Google Earth screenshot below). Therefore, I decided to use the Jasper Ridge location for my project site.
Next, I looked at the Climate Consultant psychometric chart for California Climate Zone 3 to see what some effective design strategies I might want to use. Passive solar direct gain (low and high mass combined) accounts for 40% of the annual comfortable hours. This means that, not surprisingly, there is a great opportunity in California to harness solar energy to reduce energy demand in the building.
Then, I used masses to model two different building shapes I was considering. As seen below, the second model had slightly higher cumulative insolation and PV energy values, but the first model had a slightly lower EUI. For the baseline cases in Insight, I adjusted the settings of operating schedule, plug load efficiency, and lighting efficiency in accordance with the video tutorial on Canvas. According to Insight, the orientation of either model does not have a significant impact on its EUI. However, for reference, the screenshots below have south pointing to the bottom left and north to the top right. After reviewing the results of the analysis, I have decided to use the second model as the starting point of my project. Aesthetically, I think it is more interesting than the first model, and even though it had a slightly higher baseline EUI than the first model, I do not think the difference is significant enough to be the determining factor in my decision. I believe I will still be able to meet my performance goals using the second model.