LBNL Report Number
Many building simulation computer programs, originally developed on mainframe computers for research purposes, can now run on the powerful workstation and personal computers that are available to most architectural and engineering firms. Major efforts have been underway during the last decade to compile these programs on personal computers and make them available to a wider range of building professionals. However, even with the addition of user-friendly front- and back-ends, their use is still limited to a small number of specialized consultants. Considering the tremendous benefits of informed decisions that these programs can support, it is critical to address and resolve the issues that are associated with their limited acceptance.
In this paper, we report on our research and development efforts to better understand decision-making and develop computer tools that will facilitate the use of simulation software during the building design process. We present a brief analysis of decision-making and then describe how we try to address it in building design through the development of the Building Design Advisor (BDA). Moreover, we elaborate on the major issues that we have encountered, discuss lessons learned, and offer recommendations for short- and long-term developments in this area.