Which comes first, the building design
or the energy analysis? It's a classic
chicken-or-egg problem. Once dimensions
for walls, windows, and floors are
set, a designer is usually reluctant to
change them based on an energy analysis.
At that point, the only way to save
energy is by using more insulation, better
windows, or more efficient mechanical
equipment. While there's nothing wrong
with fine-tuning these components, you
can often get more Btus for your buck by
altering the basic house design.
Almost ten years ago, G.Z. "Charlie"
Brown, professor of architecture at the
University of Oregon, began developing
a computer program that would provide
energy-use estimates at the preliminary
design phase. The program is called
Energy Scheming (version 2.0