8/05/2019 - Blog

How to fix the thermal performance of a surface in Revit?

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Surface fix – how to do it in Revit?

The latest version of the flagship FenestraPro Premium software for high-performance façade design is available. The innovation comes with FenestraPro with many new enhancements and functionalities which allow for more complete and at the same time easier façade design process but one is of particular importance for designers: Surface Fix.

Surface Fix functionality will allow the designer to analyze and make improvements to a surface in FenestraPro which has an inadequate thermal performance. In general, the smart intellect in FenestraPro will highlight the problematic surfaces, will show you details of their performance and even more – will provide solutions for achieving optimal performance right in the Revit model.

Here are some of the considerations we need to take into account when designing surfaces:

What are surfaces in the energy model in Revit and FenestraPro?

In an energy model in Revit, surfaces are the paths of heat transfer to or from each space. They include surfaces between interior spaces and the external environment.
To be more accurate, they are space boundary surfaces. For simplicity, however, Revit refers to them as surfaces.

Based on the Revit’s Energy Analytical Model (EAM), FenestraPro creates its own surfaces to facilitate organization of the model and considering different thermal performance of different Surfaces characteristics.

Therefore, in FenestraPro Surface can be defined as the part of the heat transfer path in Revit which has its own clearly defined thermal characteristics. Results for these areas may be viewed independently or as part of a larger façade which is a collection of Surfaces with the same orientation.
In the Spatial Elements method, surfaces from Revit’s Energy Model are used to define the areas on the exterior and Analytical Surfaces and Spaces are used for calculations. Information from the model regarding heights, widths and orientations is extracted from Revit. Curtain Walls are assigned their own Surface. Curtain Walls are assigned their own Façade in Spatial Elements.

In the Building Elements method, FenestraPro also reads Shade Surfaces from the EAM (Energy Analytical Model) when there are no rooms or spaces present. These are used to interpolate surfaces which are not defined by internal spaces. In Building Elements, Curtain Walls are Surfaces as part of a larger Façade.

What could be wrong with a surface of a high-performance building?

Many factors must be considered when designing surfaces for a high-performance building. Surfaces may be overheated, underheated, or they could allow for uncomfortable amounts of daylight or glare into the internal spaces and therefore reduce occupants’ comfort.

In commercial spaces and buildings, there may be different zones which require specific thermal performance for glazing such as retail space, offices and restaurant areas.

And designers may also wish to consider the aesthetic appearance of the glass such as the color, tint, reflection and framing on the exterior.

On other hand, in residential buildings additional considerations may include privacy for some areas, openness for other areas as well as the ability to control daylight penetration, security and means of fire escape.

How can we fix a surface in Revit with FenestraPro?

FenestraPro’s smart functionality will alert the designer when a surfance has sub-optimal performance. Surfaces which need attention will be highlighted and you can easily recall its properties and change the ones which are below required performance.

The surface properties in FenestraPro are: U-Value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Visual Light Transmittance. And FenestraPro allows for these properties’ management according to regulations or desired building’s performance.

Step-by-step guide to fix a surface in Revit with FenestraPro
When alerted for suboptimal thermal performance of a Surface, the FenestraPro designer could do following:

1. In Facade manager if surface has too high or too low glazing analytical properties you can see small popup “Surface Fix”
2. Click to open a new window. There you will see the small dashboard with gauges showing actual surface u-value, solar load and daylighting
3. Below the label: “Family types on this surface (Select Item To Fix the surface)” you will see the list items with all glazing family types on the current surface
4. Select one and click “Apply” to open LINC
5. Select one of the filtered items in LINC and press the “Apply To Revit” button. (Circle button with icon on the popup with family info)
6. If the item already exists in “Constructions.xml” file, you will be able to see changes straightaway.

If there is more then one family types in selected surface, you will be able to see the button “Apply To All” – means apply selected item in LINC to all of the existing families.

Finally, if activated, FenestraPro will provide a connection to Linc which will suggest a selection of Glass Types which in turn will resolve the performance issues. The properties of the new Glass Type will be applied to that element in Revit and the results will be automatically updated. Linc will provide a shortlist of suitable and appropriate glazing types to apply.

And here is slideshow how the process looks in FenestraPro for Revit

Apart from the above improvements, FenestraPro Premium comes with additional general performance improvements and support for Autodesk Revit 2019/2018/2017.

Come back soon for detailed tutorials into how to deploy the great new functionalities with you FenestraPro Premium for Revit.

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