This paper presents a holistic evaluation model that assists in designing energy efficient buildings. The model is based on computer-designer interaction. Here, the designer suggests a range of design alternatives, and in turn, the computer evaluation model generates a matrix of design solutions and performs various environmental simulations. The performances of the various design solutions are then analyzed to derive relationships that explain the impact that the different building components have on energy consumption. The relationships are represented in the form of statistical relations and interactive data charts.
The evaluation model was tested and used to evaluate an energy efficient house. The designer of this house implemented Strategies for integrating solar radiation, thermal mass, thermal insulation, and air ventilation to conserve energy. A field study and computer simulation were conducted to monitor the actual performance of the house, and to validate the evaluation model results. The research derived mathematical relations between thermal mass, thermal insulation, solar radiation and natural ventilation and the resulted energy consumption. The research also suggests general design guidelines to improve the energy performance of buildings, and to enhance thermal comfort.