Stephanie Gady

Step 1 - Generative Design Framework

After graduation, I am returning Arup full-time to work as a sustainability consultant. While sustainability consulting is a dynamic field, the majority of this work involves evaluation opportunities to incorporate on-site renewable energy, usually solar but possibly including other strategies such as wind or water. Some potential design decisions regarding maximizing renewable energy capacity could include: maximizing solar insolation potential along a building facade, aligning windows to maximize natural daylight with minimal heat gain (or loss depending on climate), or orienting skylights and windows to maximize natural ventilation opportunities.

  • Maximizing solar insolation potential along a building facade
    • Variables - Climate solar potential, time of day, surface area of facade
    • Evaluators - Total PV output, cost of PV implementation
    • Most Important Tradeoffs to Consider - Fabrication cost vs. total insolation potential
  • Aligning windows to maximize natural daylight
    • Variables - Window size, time of day, surface area of facade, solar heat gain coefficient
    • Evaluators - Total natural daylight, views
    • Most Important Tradeoffs to Consider - Minimize heat gain (or loss depending on climate) vs cost vs natural daylight potential
  • Orienting skylights and windows to maximize natural ventilation
    • Variables - Climate wind speeds, time of day, surface area of skylight/window opening
    • Evaluators - Total natural ventilation, views, cost of windows/skylights
    • Most Important Tradeoffs to Consider - Minimize heat gain (or loss depending on climate) vs cost vs natural ventilation potential

Step 2 - Generative Design Study

  • For this module, I decided to run a generative design study to determine the solar insolation potential for a group of buildings. I wanted to use the Views2Direction generative study as a starting point, then add in additional logic to determine how arranging a group of buildings in different positions could impact solar insolation potential of the entire cluster. I feel like this model will have many applications, so it seemed like a good choice for this module.
  • I used the Views2Direction generative study as a starting point, then added in additional logic to determine how arranging a group of buildings in different positions could impact solar insolation potential of the entire cluster. I tried to adapt this for just one building first (building 6 in the Views2Direction example study) to make sure the logic worked before implementing it across all buildings. However, my solar insolation analysis keeps coming back as 'null' even when I am sure all the inputs are feeding in values. I wasn’t sure if there is a simpler way to accomplish this with less logic, so after much turmoil I decided to narrow the scope of my design study. I decided to just focus on calculating the solar insolation potential for one building form, instead of a group of buildings.

Step 3 - Generative Design Study Results

  • Here is the final logic for my generative design study, which analyses the solar insolation potential and cost for one building form. The various inputs users can change include base, middle and top radius, middle and top rotation, the number of sides and number of stories on the tower, and the number of U and V panels on the panelized surfaces. I had several ongoing issues with some of the solar analysis nodes returning null values, despite uninstalling/reinstalling Solar Analysis for Dynamo in both 1.12.0 and 1.13.0.
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It seems like there is an error within Dynamo that prevents any solar analysis from running because in the 1.12.0 version, an error message shows stating that the node functionality is expired.

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However, if 1.13.0 is installed, Dynamo says to install the older version. I ultimately wasn’t able to resolve all the errors in the time I had to work on this assignment, but I have a good idea of what the final product would look like if I had more time to resolve the errors.

Here is the finished tower I was able to create despite the unresolved errors.

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This is a mid-height tower with a cost of about $52 million. The key factors within a generative design study would be to vary the number of stories on the tower, since this is the biggest influencer of cost, and to vary the number of sides to find a middle ground between solar insolation potential and cost. Even though I ultimately wasn’t able to complete the full generative design study, I have a good idea of how the generative design tools within Dynamo work and look forward to utilizing these tools in future projects.