Integrating daylight and energy performance with optimization into the design process has always been a challenge for designers. Most of the building environmental performance simulation tools require a considerable amount of time and iterations for achieving accurate results. Moreover the combination of daylight and energy performances has always been an issue, as different software packages are needed to perform detailed calculations. A simplified method to overcome both issues using recent advances in software integration is explored here. As a case study; the optimization of external shadings in a typical office space in Australia is presented. Results are compared against common solutions adopted as industry standard practices. Visual comfort and energy efficiency are analysed in an integrated approach. The DIVA (Design, Iterate, Validate and Adapt) plug-in for Rhinoceros/Grasshopper software is used as the main tool, given its ability to effectively calculate daylight metrics (using the Radiance/Daysim engine) and energy consumption (using the EnergyPlus engine). The optimization process is carried out parametrically controlling the shadings’ geometries. Genetic Algorithms (GA) embedded in the evolutionary solver Galapagos are adopted in order to achieve close to optimum results by controlling iteration parameters. The optimized result, in comparison with conventional design techniques, reveals significant enhancement of comfort levels and energy efficiency. Benefits and drawbacks of the proposed strategy are then discussed.
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