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How do I install cove.tool?

Cove.tool is a web app, and does not need to be installed on any particular computer. You can access your projects from anywhere by entering in your login details.

Is there a plugin to export geometry from 3D modeling software?

We have a Revit plugin which you can download here. You simply select the various geometry components and the plugin sorts and sums the areas by the direction they are facing. Compatible with Revit 2015-2019.

We also have a Grasshopper plugin which you can download here. The Grasshopper Tutorial can be downloaded here. Compatible with Rhino 5.

Additional integrations coming soon.

Does the Revit plugin allow you to enter footprints other than rectangular (e.g. L-shaped)?

Yes, any shape of building is supported.

Do you split floors into simple 5 zones (perimeter/core)? If so, what is the depth of the perimeter zones? If not, how many zones per floor are assumed?

Since this is an early stage to schematic design tool, splitting into zones does not make sense since interior program is assumed to have the same temperature. Many academic papers have shown the conclusions from simulations of single zone vs perimeter/core are the same for this level of detail. Not having zones allows us to accept geometry that is not 100% closed, allowing messy models from conceptual design to be analyzed easily. We have observed that many typical Revit, Rhino, and Sketchup models are not constructed with closed rooms making many geometry exporters send over bad data into an energy modeling tool. Our goal is to have the most accurate method with the least junk data to make the best decisions.

What do I use for the building height if it has several spaces with varying heights?

In this case simply use the maximum height of the habitable space. The height primarily affects how we model wind speeds behind-the-scenes.

What stage of the project is cove.tool best suited for?

It is an early stage design tool best suited for Schematic Design through 80% Design Development.

How are you determining the baseline values?

The baseline values are determined by taking inputs taken from the ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Code.

How is the baseline cost calculated?

The baseline cost is all the code minimum (baseline) options taken together with the geometry. So any option which has a cost/area value is multiplied properly to compute the cost. We do not need to know the overall building cost since it’s a decision-making tool and not a costing tool. The key is having something as a baseline and being able to to see the impact/tradeoffs of different options.

How is the cost premium calculated?

The baseline values are the grayed-out options you see when you step through the various optimization areas. Each of them has a cost associated which we sum together to get the total baseline cost. Then we simply subtract this from the sum of the costs for a given set of design options.

The HVAC system that I want to add is not listed as one of the options. How do I add it?

Just submit a ticket defining the HVAC system you are trying to model and we will work with our building science specialist to get that into the software.

How do I calculate the wall area?

Get the area of the exterior surface of the wall excluding windows.

Can I define my own baseline model?

Yes. You can do so by defining your role as a “mechanical engineer” at the beginning of the project, which will allow you to access and modify the details for the baseline model.

What is the simulation engine being used?

Normative energy calculator defined by ISO 13790 and CEN 15603 and proven to be accurate to within 5% of tools such as EnergyPlus or eQuest

The ISO 13790 has apparently been superseded by ISO 52016. Do you plan to update to ISO 52016?

By far, the most research has gone into the ISO 13790 and our ultra fast code is written based on this well documented standard. ISO 52016 is relatively new and we will not be updating to this standard until we are confident that the academic community has fully vetted the new calculation method.

Does cove.tool export to EnergyPlus or gbXML so that it can be used during SD or DD, and the optimum design configuration can be used as a starting point for a detailed model?

This tool is intended for conceptual and schematic design when detailed simulations are not possible but the effect of decisions has the most impact – think MacLeamy’s Curve. The ISO 13790 is a normative method based on and calibrated against a dynamic simulation tool like EnergyPlus. A detailed HVAC model is best constructed in EnergyPlus. We have plugins available so that the same geometry that the design team is using can be exported to EnergyPlus programs such as DesignBuilder or IES when the DD stage is reached. We feel that keeping the geometry in one program like Revit, Rhino, or Sketchup is best since this is what those programs are designed to do. It is possible for us to export all the inputs to a data file using our API so if you have a specific need, let us know!

Is there a way to simulate RTUs in the current model?

Yes, the model can do RTU design. This would be dependent on the COP and the Partial Load Index.

How could we use the tool for international projects, for which the costs could be different?

Currently our costs are US-based. However, our goal is to make this an international product and we will be looking into reliable sources of country-specific cost data for our preloaded defaults. If you have suggestions for a specific country we would be glad to hear it.

Is the tool being developed to other sustainability aspects such as water, waste management, etc.?

Beyond the basic energy model we have already included energy reduction from PV systems and will definitely be looking to add more based on user feedback.

Is there an API for developers looking to build integrations with cove.tool?

The API lets you update building geometry and returns the EUI breakdown. If there is a specific use-case you’re looking to use the API for, let us know so we can create the necessary endpoints.

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