The Zone component is the starting point for creating the key elements in a thermal simulation, the thermal zone. The “BREP” input requires you to provide a Brep geometry, which represents a room or a group of rooms with similar thermal properties (Limitation: only poly-surfaces consisting of planar surfaces are supported). If you provide a list of Breps the component will produce a list of thermal zones. The second input “NAME” allows you to provide a specific name to a space in order to facilitate the results interpretation later on. This is optional. If you don’t provide a name Archsim will assign “UNZ” and a number to your zone. The third input “SET” is also optional and should only be used by advanced users. It allows you to override the settings that come from the GUI with a string (in case you do not like the GUI or you would like to be able to parametrically set some of the inputs). This string has to be formatted just like the text that is output under “SET”. You can either provide this text via a text panel or use the advanced settings components to do so in a more “Grasshopperesque” fashion.
The loads tab lets you define internal heat sources such as people, equipment and artificial lights. Lights are hard wired to a dimming control in the GUI. People and Equipment loads can be folded with an availability schedule. The conditioning tab gives you control over the space conditioning in a specific zone. You can control set-point temperatures, availability schedules and capacity of your heating and cooling system. Further mechanical ventilation can be specified. Under the ventilation tab, you can specify natural ventilation and infiltration of your zone. “Scheduled Ventilation” can be used when air exchange rates of a zone known, e.g. form a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation.
The “Natural Ventilation” section can be used to calculate wind and buoyancy driven airflow in a zone. The underlying equations are given below.
The “Materials” tab defines the constructions used for the zone. Archsim automatically categorizes the Brep sub-surfaces into elements such as “roof”, “slab to ground”, “internal wall” etc. The constructions that you can pick form are predefined in the library. Custom materials, constructions as well as schedules can be defined in the library editor available under the library button or via grasshopper components. The later workflow is described in a later section.