Module 7

The Design Decision I Studies

In my study, I have created a building form, whose overall shape remains constant, i.e. it will not vary during the generative study. The building envelope gets panelized and my goal is to determine the optimal panel layout such that 1) the total material cost of the panels is minimized, 2) the energy performance of the building envelope is maximized, 3) the "quality of life" of the building is maximized.

More specifically, I have defined 3 types of wall panels the algorithm can "choose" from: glass panels, regular panels (i.e. walls/ insulation), and green panels (i.e. eco-friendly plant walls). Each of these panels types has an associated material cost and energy performance. For example, in terms of material cost: green_panel_cost > glass_panel_cost > regular_panel_cost (these values are fixed constants). Similarly, in terms of energy performance: green_panel_performance > glass_panel_performance > regular_panel_performance. As you can see, there is a clear trade-off between cost and energy performance (these values are fixed constants).

In terms of the study inputs, the algorithm can modify the U and V panel divisions of the building envelope, the percentage of all the panels that are made out of glass, and the percentage of the remaining panels (i.e. regular_panels + green_panels) that are green panels.

In terms of the study outputs, each of the outcomes is defined as follows:

Total_material_cost = (SurfaceArea_AllGlassPanels * Price_glass_panel) + (SurfaceArea_AllGreenPanels * Price_green_panel) + (SurfaceArea_AllRegularPanels * Price_regular_panel)

Total_energy_performance = (SurfaceArea_AllGlassPanels * Energy_performance_glass_panel) + (SurfaceArea_AllGreenPanels * Energy_performance_green_panel) + (SurfaceArea_AllRegularPanels * Energy_performance_regular_panel)

Quality of life = SurfaceArea_AllGlassPanels * SurfaceArea_AllGreenPanels

The idea behind the "quality of life" evaluator is that the more glass panels (—> sunlight) and the more the green panels (—> better indoor air quality), the better the environment will be for the occupants. Therefore, the sum of the surface areas of these two panel types is a fairly good indicator for the so called "quality of life".

Image of Your Dynamo Study Graph


Image of Your Outcomes / Results


This scatter plot is a great visualization of the trade-offs between the 3 parameters I seek to optimize. The Y-Axis is the Total Material Cost, the X-Axis is the Quality of Life, the Size of the circles is Energy Performance and the Color is the ratio of #Glass Panels/ #All Panels, where: red=bad & blue=great.

The highlighted option on the graph is the one I consider to be the best, because it balances "fairly" all 4 factors. The cost is about 70% of the max cost, while 42% of all panels are made out of glass, thereby ensuring significant sunlight access. Meanwhile, the energy performance is at on "ok" level, but this is acceptable as it is the only option that is not "minimal" while still guaranteeing a healthy "quality of life" factor, which is ~7000 (raw value, i.e. 70% when normalized). Finally, this option also shows a more even distribution of the panels compared to other outcomes.