The accuracy and relevance of any building simulation or analysis relies on the accuracy and relevance of the input data used to describe the building model. The construction of a building is very often a key component of this input and the materials and appliances used can deeply affect many aspects of building performance. This guide explains all the different properties you are likely to encounter that describe and quantify materials and building elements as well as their units and typical value ranges.
The control of solar radiation is an important part of any building design. In hot climates it represents one of the most significant sources of potential summer heat gains. Even in a relatively cold climate, direct solar radiation can be a source of extreme local discomfort. However, it also represents one of the most important sources of sustainable heating energy that we have at our disposal as designers. Additionally, the luminous efficacy of the diffuse sky makes daylight still the most efficient form of interior lighting. Thus it is critical that building designers fully understand the often difficult balance between controlling solar gains in summer and promoting them in winter whilst maintaining views and maximising daylight.