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ECOTECT Tutorials

www. e co tec t.co m

ECOT ECT T utoria ls

Welcome to the ECOTECT Tutorials. These exercises are provided to give you both
introductory and in-depth knowledge of ECOTECT. By using these tutorials you will quickly
master the basics of modelling and analysis.
It is recommended that you do each tutorial in the order listed below, as some commands
may not be explained as thoroughly in successive tutorials.
The analysis tutorials are particularly useful for gaining a better understanding of how
buildings and materials work, and how to improve your designs.
Whether you are a student architect or an experienced environmental engineer, you will find
information here to assist you in learning how to get the most from ECOTECT.

This manual is an exact reproduction of the electronic Ecotect tutorials


that were available in the squ1.com web site on January 2005. The
manual was prepared in agreement with squ1.com for the teaching
needs of the Building Environment Analysis Unit (www.shef.ac.uk/beau)
in the School of Architecture at The University of Sheffield.

Contents

MODEL L ING F UNDAMENT AL S - Simp le Hou se

MODEL L ING F UNDAMENT AL S - Clas sroom

21

MODEL L ING F UNDAMENT AL S - Aud ito rium

33

ADVANCED MODELL ING - Impo rting CAD Geom etry

59

ADVANCED MODELL ING - Back groun d Bitmap

63

ADVANCED MODELL ING - Ob ject Mo rph ing

67

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - In te rna l Sun Pen etration

71

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - Optim is ed Sha d in g Des ign

86

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - Ov ersha do win g & Site Ana lys is

80

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - Crea ting a se t o f louv res

84

L IGHT ING DESIGN - Interna l L ighting Ca lcu lation s

89

L IGHT ING DESIGN - Exp orting to Rad ian ce

96

L IGHT ING DESIGN - Ra d ian ce Ma te ria ls

10 2

T HERMAL PERF ORMANCE- Intro duc tio n

10 7

ACOUST ICS - Rev erberation T ime

11 6

ACOUST ICS - Des ign ing Acous tic Reflectors

12 1

ACOUST IC ANAL YSIS - Des ign ing Raked Aud ie nce Sea tin g

12 8

Cos t & Env iro nmen ta l Im pact

13 5

Conv erting W eathe r Data with T he W eathe r T oo l

13 9

Ou tpu t from ECOT ECT

14 9

MODEL L ING F UNDAMENT AL S - Simp le Hou se

Settin g u p a Ne w Mode l
The first step is to ensure you are working on a new blank document, and that the
working grid is set appropriately.

1.

Select the New item from the File menu, (or click the New

button).

This clears the model memory and reloads the default material data.
2.

Select the Perspective item from the View menu (or hit the F8 key).
This ensures you are looking at a 3D perspective view of the grid. If your view isn't
similar to that shown in the above diagram, simply click the Right Mouse button in
the Drawing Canvas and drag the view around until it fits. Use the Shift and Control
keys, in combination with holding down the Right Mouse button, to zoom and pan the
view respectively.

3.

Select the Fit Grid to Model item in the View menu (or use the Fit Grid
button).
If there are no objects in the model then this sets the grid to the default grid settings.
Otherwise it fits the grid to the extent of the objects in the model.

4.

To check the grid settings select the Grid Settings item in the view menu (or use
the Model Settings

button on the Main toolbar, and select Grid tab).

This invokes the Model Settings dialog box, allowing you to manually specify grid
dimensions. In this case we are only going to check the values, making sure they
correspond roughly to the ones below.

5.

Select User Preferences from the File menu, then select the Cursor Snap tab (or
simply press the Snaps

button on the Options toolbar and select Settings).

This is to ensure that snaps are set appropriately. It is recommended that the snaps
shown below are used. By using the Snaps button on the Options toolbar (or their
corresponding keyboard shortcuts) it is possible to change snap settings at any time,
even in the middle of creating or modifying objects.

It is also possible to determine current snap settings and change them, by using the
Snaps Status panel at the bottom left of the program window.
Letters in black refer to snaps that are on, whilst those in white are off. To change the
snaps using this panel, simply click the letters once, with the Left Mouse button.

Add ing th e F irs t Zone


The next step is to create a new zone for the first part of the building. This is going to be a
simple rectangular box.

1.

Select the Zone item from the Draw menu (or use the Zone

button).

This will begin the creation of a new zone object, with walls, and a ceiling, extruded
from a single floor object.

2.

Move the cursor over the Drawing Canvas.


This displays the Node Input cursor with the red X and Y axis. As you move the
cursor around the Drawing Canvas the Cursor Input toolbar updates, with the
absolute X, Y and Z location for the first node.

3.

Type 1000 in the X and 1000 in the Y input boxes and hit the Enter key.

This starts the zone, with the first node at the absolute coordinates 1000, 1000, 0.
4.

Move the cursor around the Drawing Canvas.

If you move the cursor around the Drawing Canvas now, you will notice that the
Cursor Input toolbar updates with X, Y and Z values relative to the last node that was
entered. As well, if the cursor is moved in the X direction, the X Cursor Input box has
the focus. If moved more in the Y direction, the Y Cursor Input box will get the focus.
You should also notice that the X and Y axis are snapped to and highlighted, (if
Orthographic snaps are set as previously stated). This makes it quick and easy to
generate orthogonal objects.
Finally, you may see a distance value displayed in the centre of the line segment
currently being entered (if the ECOTECT defaults are set). This is to assist in drawing
accuracy, but if not preferred can be turned off from the Modelling tab in the User
Preferences
option.
5.

dialog box by un-checking the Display Interactive Distances

Move the cursor some distance in the X direction, type 13000 and hit the Enter
key.

This creates the first wall segment of the zone, using the default extrusion height. The
default extrusion height can also be changed from the User Preferences dialog box,
or the height of any zone can be changed after it is created (this will be explained later
in this tutorial).
6.

Move the cursor some distance in the Y direction, type 5000 and hit the Enter
key.

This creates the second wall segment of the zone.


7.

Move the cursor in the -X direction, type 13000 again.

This creates the third wall segment of the zone.


Note that you do not have to enter a minus sign in front of the 13000 to get it to move
in the negative X direction, it simply moves 13000 in the direction of the mouse.
8.

Hit the Esc key on the keyboard (or right click in the Drawing Canvas to display
the Context menu, and select Escape).

This finishes the creation of the first zone and displays the Rename Zone dialog box.
At this point it is necessary to type in an appropriate name for the zone. This then adds
a new zone to the list of zones in the model. When a zone is created using the button
or menu item, this dialog box will always appear.

Ad justing th e Zone He igh t


The next step is to alter the height of the zone, which was automatically extruded to a
default height of 2400mm (specified in the User Preferences dialog box). This extrusion
height can be changed at any time for any object that maintains its linking.

1.

Using the Select


button (which it should already be set to), select the floor
element of the zone.
If you are having trouble selecting the correct element, use the Spacebar key on the
keyboard to cycle through adjacent objects or simply keep the Left Mouse button
down when you select and then drag slowly in any direction to cycle through adjacent
objects.
Selected objects may show up as either yellow in colour (as in the image below), or
with a thickened line. This setting can be changed from the User Preferences dialog
box, either by choosing a Selection Highlight type from the selection box, or by
altering the Selection Colour.

The floor element of any zone created using the Zone button or menu item, is the
parent of all other objects extruded from it. This means that the floor controls the other
objects, making it easier to edit the entire zone after it has been created.
2.

With only the floor element selected, change the Z value in the Extrusion Vector
input boxes in the Selection Information panel, to the right of the Drawing
Canvas.
This can be done either by typing in the number, or by dragging the small arrows that
appear after clicking in the input box (as shown n the image below).

This value alters the entire zone's extrusion height.


In any of ECOTECT'S input boxes you can also enter any type of equation or
dimension as long as it is annotated correctly. (For more information on entering data,
go to Entering Data in the User Interface section of ECOTECT'S main help file.

As an example, try entering 2000+1000 then hit the Enter key. This will change the
value to 3000 in the input box.
3.

To apply this change to the selected object, you will need to click the Apply
Changes button at the bottom of the Selection Information panel.

To automatically apply changes made, therefore not requiring you to click the Apply
Changes button after altering values, simply check the Automatically Apply
Changes check box at the bottom of the panel. This can also be done for the Material
Assignments panel.
If the Automatically Apply Changes check box is already ticked, you need only hit
the Enter key after making an alteration for it to take effect.
4.

To permanently change the height of subsequent zones, select User


Preferences from the File menu, then select the Modelling tab (or simply press
the

button on the Main toolbar and select Modelling).

In the Default Zone Height input box enter 3000 as the new value. This ensures that
every zone created from now on will be 3 meters high. Click the OK button when
you've finished entering the new value.

Add ing a Seco nd Zon e


The next step is to create the zone on the north side. For this, we want one of the nodes to
be in the exact centre of the north wall. This time we are going to work more within the
Drawing Canvas, and use object snapping to ensure the model is accurate.

10

1.

Select the Zone item from the Draw menu (or use the Zone

button).

This will begin the creation of a new zone object.


2.

Move the cursor over the Drawing Canvas until you snap to the Mid Point of the
north side of Zone 1.

You can tell which side is on the North by the arrow in the far left corner of the grid.
Snaps are displayed with a small letter corresponding to the appropriate snap type.
Move the mouse until a small M appears at the cursor, and click with the Left Mouse
button to accept the point.
If a small M does not appear it is most likely that Mid Point snaps have not been set.
To do this (whilst still in command) click the Snaps button on the Options toolbar and
make sure that Mid Points has a tick next to it, or hit the M key on the keyboard.
3.

Move the cursor in the X direction and type 5000 (do not hit the Enter key).

After typing 5000 move the cursor around the Drawing Canvas. Notice how the cursor
is constrained by 5000 units in either positive or negative X. Notice also that the cursor
will snap to the X axis as you move close to it, this is because Orthogonal snaps are
also on.
4.

Move the cursor so that it snaps to the X axis with the set value of 5000, and
click the Left Mouse button.

11

Once the desired point has been chosen with the mouse, simply clicking the Left
Mouse button will accept that position and move on to the next node placement.
5.

Move the cursor in the Y direction, type 4000 and click the Left Mouse button.

This creates the second wall segment of the zone.


6.

Using the Snaps pull-down menu from the Options toolbar, set the Align snap to
on.
This time we are going to use the Align snap to finish the last two wall segments of our
new zone.

With Align snaps on, move the cursor back along the X axis until a small XY appears
next to the cursor. This is telling us that the cursor is aligned with other nodes in both
the X and Y axis. If we were only aligned with a node in the X, only a small X would
appear (same with the Y and Z axes).
7.

Once the cursor is aligned in the X axis with the last node entered, and in the Y
axis with the first node of the zone, click the Left Mouse button in the Drawing
Canvas.

12

This creates the third wall segment of the zone, and with align snaps on we know it's a
perfectly orthogonal zone.
8.

Hit the Esc key on the keyboard (or right click in the Drawing Canvas to display
the Context menu, and select Escape).

This finishes the creation of the second zone and displays the Rename Zone dialog
box. Enter an appropriate name for this zone then click the OK button.

Add ing W indo ws and Doo rs


We are now going to add a couple of windows and doors to the two zones. This can be
done using either parametric library objects, or manually using the mouse. We are only
going to use the parametric method in this tutorial.
1.

First deselect all objects by clicking an empty area of the Drawing Canvas (or
choose the None item from the Select menu).
This makes sure that we are not trying to add windows to all the selected elements.

2.

Select the northernmost wall of Zone 2 using the Select

button.

Notice as you move the cursor close to an object that the cursor changes. This
cursor tells you that a selection can be made. Again if you find it difficult to select the
wall, use the Spacebar key on the keyboard to cycle through the nearby objects.
3.

Once the wall is selected hit the Insert key on the keyboard to insert a child
object (in this case a window).

13

4.

With the dialog box open, select the Window button at the top and enter values
roughly similar to the ones shown above.
The default insertion point for any child object is the exact centre of it's parent object.
These values are listed to the bottom of the Insert Child Object dialog box, and can
be changed by entering different values.
ECOTECT will not let you position a child object outside the limits of it's parent.
Therefore if inconsistent values are entered ECOTECT will move the child object until
it fits within its parent.
Once you've finished entering values click the OK button.

5.

Now that the window is inserted in the middle of the wall, try nudging the
window around the wall using the X, Y and Z keys on the keyboard.
When moving the window around, it will always move in the plane of its parent. You
should also notice that it will not let you move the window outside the wall. This is
simply an exercise to show that you can interactively move any object, subject to its
relationship links. Try to manually reposition the window back to the centre, or as close
as you can.
When using the nudge keys (X, Y, Z) the amount which you nudge by is set by the
Cursor Snap/Nudge Value input box
on the Options toolbar. The
default setting for this is 100mm but it can be set to any value by typing in the input
box and hitting the Enter key on the keyboard, or by clicking the up / down arrows to
the right of the input box.
To nudge an object in a negative direction hold the Shift key down whilst pressing
either the X, Y or Z key.

14

6.

Now try inserting a window on the northern facade of Zone 1.


This time make the window 1500mm high, 3000mm wide and a sill height of 1000mm.
If you insert the window in the centre of the wall it will have to be nudged in the
negative X direction until it looks similar to the image below.

7.

Now try adding a door between the two zones using the same method we used
for adding a window but by selecting the Door item form the child object list.
Make the door 2100mm high, 900mm wide and position it approximately 1000mm from
the western wall of Zone 2.

When adding either a Window, Door or Void child object in a wall that is adjacent to
the wall of another zone, you only have to add the child object in one of the two
adjacent walls. ECOTECT when calculating inter-zonal adjacencies works out that the
object will pass through to the other zone letting in heat, light, air and sound according
to the material and objects properties.
This is different with a Panel child object, as a Panel denotes a different type of
material within a wall and only effects the zone within which it is contained.
8.

Enter the final door in the eastern wall of the second zone.

15

Creating a Pitched Roo f


The next step is to add the roof objects, with a 600mm overhang.

1.

Select the Pitched Roof item from the Draw menu (or use the Roof

button).

The first time this is done, ECOTECT requires you to enter a base-plane with the
cursor in the Drawing Canvas (subsequent use allows editing of previous base-plane).
It also displays the Parametric Objects panel to the right of the Drawing Canvas.
At this stage you can either enter values in the panel, or draw / adjust the base-plane
interactively. In this instance we are going to draw in the base-plane interactively.
2.

To draw your first base-plane, left click the mouse on one top corner of the first
zone, then on the opposite corner.

3.

You should end up with a base-plane that looks like the one in the image below.

Once the node is snapped to the corner (a small P should be displayed next to the
cursor, if not check that Point snaps are on in the Snaps button on the Options
toolbar) click the Left Mouse button to accept the point.
4.

You now need to check the details that appear in the Parametric Objects panel
to the right of the Drawing Canvas.

The most important things to check are that Roof Type is set to Gable, Ridge Axis is
set to X-axis, and the Eaves Depth is set to 600mm.

16

5.

To complete the roof, click the Create New Object button at the bottom of the
panel.

The roof is created with an over hang of 600mm. Now try creating the roof for the
second zone, this time changing the Ridge Axis to Y-axis, as the roof needs to run in
the opposite direction to the first.

Now if you take a look at the two roof objects you will notice that they do not join
correctly.
6.

To fix this, we need to enter Node Mode so that the nodes of the second roof
object can be edited. To do this select the Nodes item from the Select menu (or
hit the F3 key on the keyboard).

17

Once in Node Mode, we need to view the model from the side. To do this, select the
Side item from the View menu (or hit the F6 key on the keyboard).

7.

Once in side view drag a box around the nodes at the bottom left corner of the
second roof.
With the nodes of the bottom left corner selected, use the nudge keys to shift the
nodes in the positive Y direction until the edge lines up with the edge of the first roof
object.

The edges should match up using the current snap setting of 100mm, but if not it may
need to be changed in the Options toolbar.
8.

With the bottom nodes lined up, select the uppermost nodes on the left side and
nudge them in the negative Y axis until they line up with the ridge of the first
roof object.

9.

Finally return to perspective view by selecting the Perspective item from the
View menu (or hitting the F8 key on the keyboard).

In perspective view spin the model around to check the changes we just made, and to
have a look at the completed house.
To do this click and hold down the Right Mouse button whilst dragging the mouse
around the canvas.

18

Also try changing the display to Rough Sketch mode, by selecting Rough Sketch
from the Display menu.

Im po rting DXF F iles


1.

From the File menu select the Import item. Then from the Tutorial directory in
your ECOTECT Install directory, locate the file Trees.dxf.
You may need to select AutoCAD DXF from the Files of Type selection box.

2.

This should display the File Conversion dialog box.


If the settings are similar to those displayed in the image below, click the OK button.

3.

Two trees are displayed as part of the model, and the grid resizes to include the
new objects.
Once the trees have been imported, select them and in the Object (first) section of the
Selection Information panel, check that the zone is set to Outside.
If not, with the objects still selected, click the Zone input box, then click the Options
button once it appears, and choose the Select Zone... item from the list.

4.

The Select Zone dialog box should appear containing all the zones in the model.
Choose the Outside zone from the list and click OK. The objects will now exist
on the Outside zone.
It is very important that external objects such as the trees and for example shading

19

devices are not left on a thermal zone. If the objects were left on a zone that was to be
used for calculating thermal performance, they may alter the results calculated. This is
because the additional surface area, from in this case the trees, would add to the solar
gains of the zone possibly distorting the loads for that zone.
5.

Finally shift the two trees in the negative X direction by hitting the Shift + X key,
until the model looks similar to the one shown below.

20

MODEL L ING F UNDAMENT AL S - Clas sroom

Creating a Zone us ing In teractiv e Me asu reme nts


The first step is to ensure you are working on a new blank document, so that you can
start the first zone.

1.

Select the New item from the File menu, (or click the New

button).

This clears the model memory and reloads the default material data.
2.

Starting at 0, 0, 0 with the point marked with an X in the above diagram, try
creating the first zone with the dimensions shown above.

Using the Create Zone


tool in the Modelling toolbar, input the first point in
absolute coordinates in the Cursor Input toolbar. Then type in the successive nodes
using the dimensions given.
If you are unsure how to do this and have not done the Simple House tutorial, please
refer to that. Otherwise, if you have done the first tutorial or if you feel experimental,
the Cursor Input toolbar appears in the top toolbar as soon as you enter a modelling
command. Simply move the mouse in the direction you want to go and type a value
when that axis' text box receives the input focus. This locks that axis, meaning that you
can now drag the mouse in another axis and enter a further value. To accept a point,
simply click the Left Mouse button in the Drawing Canvas or hit the Enter key. You
want to end up with something that looks pretty similar to the following diagram.

21

3.

Hit the Escape key to finish creating the zone.


Once you have reached the last node, finish the zone and in the Rename Zone dialog
box give it a unique name.

4.

Select and delete the existing Ceiling element so that it can be replaced with a
raked ceiling and roof.
The Spacebar key on the keyboard will help in cycling between adjacent objects.

5.

With the Create Line tool draw a line from the middle of each end of the zone, at
roof level.
You may need to check your snap settings to ensure that you have Mid Point snaps
on. You need this line in the exact centre as you are going to use it to construct the
new ceiling / roof.

22

Once the two points have been entered, hit the Escape key on the keyboard to finish
the command.
6.

With the line selected, go into Side view and, using the Move tool (Transform
toolbar), shift the line up in the Z direction 1100mm.

To do this, press the F7 key to enter side view, then click the Move
button and
move the mouse to snap to one end of the zone at the top. Then click the Left Mouse
button to start moving the selected line, then drag the mouse in the Z direction and
type 1100 to limit the move to that distance. Finally, click the Left Mouse button again
to accept the new position.

7.

Once you have moved the line up, change back to Perspective view by hitting
the F8 key. Now you need to add four planes to describe the roof.

Using the Create Plane


button, snap to the existing geometry and create four
separate roof elements, two flat and two sloped. Try using the F2 key to repeat the last
command.

23

When you have finished with the construction line you created earlier, select it and
delete it from the scene.
8.

Take a look at the model in Rough Sketch mode (Display menu).


As you can see there are two triangular holes at either end of the zone which you will
need to fill. It is important for thermal and acoustic calculations that all zones are
completely enclosed volumes (for more information on this, refer to Layers & Zones in
the Concepts section of the ECOTECT Help File).

9.

Select the wall element at the end of the zone, then select the Add Node
button.
By adding a node to the top of the wall you will be able to cover the hole with a five
sided wall segment.

10. Move the cursor to the center of the top wall segment and click the Left Mouse
button.
Now the new node is attached to the cursor and you can move it into the correct
position at the ridge line. To finish click again with the Left Mouse button.

24

11.
Now do the same to the other end of the zone, so that it looks like the image below.

Add ing W indo ws


You are now going to add several windows to the zone, and this time you are going to use
the cursor method. The easiest way to do this is by setting up a series of construction lines.
1.

First create a line that runs at the base of the southernmost wall of the
classroom, and move it up in the Z axis 700mm (the easiest way is by using the
Z key on the keyboard).
When using the nudge keys (X, Y, Z) the amount which you nudge by is set by the
Cursor Snap/Nudge Value input box

on the Options toolbar.

Then copy and paste this line (Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V), and move the copy up further in
the Z axis another 1200mm.

The lines should look like the ones above. These are going to be the sill and top of the
windows.

25

2.

Now create a vertical line that runs between the far end points of the two
previous construction lines, then nudge it 750mm in the positive X direction
using the X key (it should look like the image below in side view F7).

Create a copy of this vertical construction line (Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V), and nudge it a
further 2000mm in the positive X direction.
3.

To create a window child object you must first select the object to insert the
window into (in this case the southernmost wall).
Then select the Window
button from the Modelling toolbar, and using the
construction lines to snap to, draw the window as in the image below.

Hit the Escape key to finish creating the window.


4.

Before creating duplicate windows, delete the four construction lines.

5.

To create an additional five duplicate windows, select the first window then
choose the Duplicate item from the Edit menu.
In the Duplicate Selection dialog box, enter 2500 in the X offset and make sure the Y
and Z offsets are set to 0.

Make sure the Don't prompt me again check box is ticked, then click the OK button.
Continue to hit Ctrl+D on the keyboard until there are a total of six windows in the wall.

26

Cop ying (trans fo rm in g) Ch ild Ob jects


You now need to create a similar set of six window in the northernmost wall. To do this you
will need to unlink the existing six windows from their parent wall, copy the windows to the
northern wall, then re-link the windows back to their respective walls.
If you tried to transform (in this case copy) the windows without first unlinking them, it would
be impossible to move them outside the plane of the wall. This is because the object linking
of a child object ensures that the child is physically constrained within the boundaries of the
parent wall.
It is also very important to re-link the windows back to the wall that they are to exist within. If
this is not done, the window will exist on top of, not inside the wall. As a result the window
would not act like a hole in the wall for light, heat etc. to pass through.
1.

Select the existing six windows and unlink them from the parent wall, either by
clicking the Unlink Objects
the Edit menu.

button, or by choosing Unlink Objects item from

To select multiple objects hold down the Shift key to add to the selection set, or the
Control key to remove objects. A small + or - sign will appear next to the respective
selection cursors.

2.

Once unlinked and with the six windows still selected, select the Move
button from the Modelling toolbar.
To make sure that you are copying the objects not just moving them, make sure the
Apply to Copy
check box in the Options toolbar is ticked. Now with the
cursor in the Drawing Canvas, snap to the bottom corner of the southernmost wall and
left click the mouse button to start the copy.

The six window objects are now attached to the cursor.


To finish the copy, left click again on the corresponding corner of the northernmost

27

wall. Then to cancel the command hit the Escape key (you could continue to copy the
objects elsewhere as well but in this instance it is not required).
3.

Now that the windows are copied you need to re-link them.
To do this select one set of six windows plus the wall within which they need to belong,
and choose Link Objects item from the Edit menu or hit Ctrl+K on the keyboard.
Then do the same with the other six windows and wall.
If you have trouble selecting the required objects, as mentioned before the Shift and
the Control keys will add / subtract from the selection set, and in combination with the
Spacebar key you can cycle through neighbouring objects.

4.

As a final step, you need to check and make sure the windows are linked
correctly. There are a couple of ways this can be done.
One way is by selecting one of the windows, then choosing the Parent item from the
Select menu. This should then select the object's parent. If no objects are selected
after having done this then the original object doesn't have a parent, and thus is not
linked.
You could also do the a similar test by choosing the wall object, then choosing the
Child item from the Select menu.

Another way to check is by viewing the model in Rough Sketch mode (Display
menu). As in the image above, if the windows appear as holes in the wall then they are
linked to the wall. If they appear opaque then they are not linked. This method only
works when the child object's material definition has a transparency equal or greater to
0.2 (20%).

In se rting Mu ltip le Doo rs


You know need to add four doors, which will be exactly the same, to four different elements
in the seen.

1.

Select the four small east and west facing wall elements using the Select
tool, the Shift key to add to the selection and the Spacebar to toggle selected
elements.
Another way to easily select the objects is to drag selection windows around each wall
(this is best done in Plan view, F5 key), with the Shift key held down to add to the
selection as you go.
If selecting objects using a selection window, it is important to note that if you drag
from left to right the selection will contain all objects that are contained inside the
selection window, and if you drag from right to left the selection will contain all objects
that cross the selection window. This is shown in the Drawing Canvas by a selection
window with either, a solid red or a dashed red line respectively.

28

2.

With the four walls selected, hit the Insert key on the Keyboard to invoke the
Insert Child Object dialog box.
Select the Door button at the top, then enter a height of 2100mm and a width of
900mm. Leave the insertion point of the door as is (i.e. the centre bottom of each of
the four walls).
Then click the OK button when you've finished entering the data.

Add ing a Rid ge Sk ylig ht


To do this you are going to create a series of construction lines within the roof plane to help
draw the skylight, similar to how you created the first window in this tutorial.
A skylight is the same as a window object. The difference lies in the properties of the
material assigned to the object.
1.

First draw a line along the ridge of the roof.

2.

Next, using the Move tool, move the line down the roof by a distance of 1000mm.
The easiest way to do this accurately is to choose the end point of the line as the base

29

point for the move, then switch the cursor input method from Cartesian to Polar by
clicking the Cartesian Coordinates

button at the of the Cursor Input toolbar (it

should now look like this


). Once that's done move the cursor in the Drawing
Canvas down the roof line until it snaps to the mid point of the end of the roof plane.
Now with the cursor still snapped, type in the required distance, 1000. Having typed
1000 the cursor is now restricted in movement by a distance of 1000mm, as can be
seen in the Cursor Input toolbar.
Still with the cursor snapped to the roof's mid point, left click the mouse to accept the
final location of the line.

The reason for changing from Cartesian to Polar coordinates was to allow us to move
the line a specified distance but along an unknown angle (the line of the roof). This
would not have been possible using Cartesian coordinates, as it only allows distances
in the X,Y and Z axis. By using Polar coordinates the relative distance from the base
point was easily specified, and the angle was taken from the roof line having snapped
to it's geometry.
3.

Now create a copy of this first construction line 500mm further down the roof.
The easiest method is as described above, but this time making sure that the Apply to
Copy check box is ticked.

4.

Finally create two lines that run between the end points of the previous
construction lines, and move them towards the centre of the roof a distance of
1000mm.
Moving the two small line segments is best done by using the X (and Shift X) key on
the keyboard to nudge the objects.

The construction lines should look similar to the image above in plan view.
5.

Once the construction lines are done, you can draw in the skylight.
Use the Window
tool to draw the first skylight, making sure the roof object (the
parent) is first selected and you snap to the construction lines.

30

6.

Delete the construction lines once this is done.

Mirro rin g Ch ild Ob jec ts


To create a copy of the first skylight in the other side of the roof you are going to copy the
original one by mirroring it.
1.

First remember to unlink the original skylight from it's parent (roof object) by
selecting it and hitting Ctrl+U on the keyboard.
If you don't unlink the object before mirroring it you wont be able to move it from within
it's parent.

2.

Next choose the Mirror


pull-right).

tool from the Modelling toolbar (in the Transform

As soon as the Mirror tool has been selected the Origin icon appears in the Drawing
Canvas (probably towards the far left corner of the building 0,0,0).

The Origin is required by the Mirror tool as it defines the point about which the mirror is
to occur.
3.

Before actually starting to mirror the skylight, move the Origin to one end of the
ridge line of the roof.
To do this (whilst still in the Mirror command) move the cursor over the top of the
Origin until it snaps to it. This is indicated by a O next to the cursor.
Once snapped to the Origin, click once with the Left Mouse button to start moving it,
move the cursor to the ridge of the roof, then click once again with the Left Mouse
button to complete the move.
Finally before starting the mirror, make sure the Apply to Copy check box is ticked.

4.

Now that the Origin is in the correct location (and you'll be making a copy of the
original), start the Mirror command by moving the cursor to the other end of the
roof's ridge and clicking the Left Mouse button once.
If you move the cursor around the Drawing Canvas now you should notice that the
new mirrored object is attached to the cursor along the axis created between the
Origin and the point at which you started the Mirror command (as shown below).

31

5.

To finish the mirror, click the Left Mouse button once somewhere in-line with the
roof's ridge (this can be the same point that you started the Mirror command
with).
Then hit the Escape key on the keyboard to make sure the Mirror command is not still
active.

6.

Finally you need to link the two skylights back up with their respective roof
objects.
Select the first skylight and roof object and hit Ctrl+K, then do the same with the
second two.
The completed model should look like the one shown below.

32

MODEL L ING F UNDAMENT AL S - Aud ito rium

Us in g Con struc tio n L ine s to Setup a Mod e l


The first step is to set up a new drawing with construction lines on a separate zone.

1.

Select the New item from the File menu, (or click the New

button).

This clears the model memory and reloads the default material data.
2.

Select the Zone Management panel to the right of the Drawing Canvas. With the
panel visible, create a new zone called Construction Lines by clicking the arrow
at the top right corner of the panel and choosing the Create New Zone item.
Give the new zone a colour other than white, and make sure that it is set as the
Current Zone indicated by bolded text (double click a zone name to make it the current
zone, click the zone colour swatch to display the colour pallette).

33

3.

Starting at 0, 0, 0 with the point marked with an X in the diagram below, create
the lines with the dimensions shown.

With the Create Line


tool, input the first absolute coordinates in the Cursor Input
toolbar. Then enter the successive nodes by moving the mouse in the direction
required and typing the distance required.
Without leaving the Drawing Canvas click the Left Mouse button to accept the
placement of each node.

Create the construction lines using the segments shown above.


4.

Select the single line segment, as shown below, and offset the line in the
positive Y direction by 800mm.

This is going to be the aisle.

5.

Select the line shown below, then click the Add Node
button and insert a
new node in the middle of the top section of line, as indicated.
The selected line is going to be used as the profile for the seating in the auditorium.
The adding of a node is needed to create the aisle for the seating.

34

6.

With the line still selected, select the Nodes item from the Select menu (or hit
the F3 key, or double click the selected object) to enter Node Mode.
Now in Node Mode (evident by the red nodes of the selected objects) with the Select
tool drag a box around the top two nodes so that they are selected.

7.

Still using the Select tool, move the cursor over the bottom selected node until
the Move

icon appears next to the cursor.

Then click the Left Mouse button, to attach the node to the cursor allowing you to edit
it's position.
Move the node to the closest end of the offset line and click the Left Mouse button
again to accept the new position (as shown below).

8.

Select just the uppermost node of the same line and move it vertically back inline with the top line segment.
This can be done easily by entering the same X value as the previous node, in the
Geometry section of the Selection Information panel. Apply the changes by clicking
the Apply Changes button.

9.

This line is now the edge of the first row of seating.

10. Make a copy of this line at the other end of the two aisle lines.
Using the Move
tool (making sure Apply to Copy is checked in the Options
toolbar) snap to one of the central nodes of the line and click the Left Mouse button.
Now snap it to the other end of the respective aisle line and click to accept the new
position, as shown below.

35

11. Select just the uppermost node of the new line and move it vertically back in-line
with the top line segment, as was done earlier (this time entering the same Y
value).

12. Select both of the seating lines (front and back) and from the Modify menu
choose the Morph Between item.
This function generates all the interim lines which will be used to create each row of
seating.
Enter 8 in the Morph dialog box and click the OK button.

13. Finally select all the objects in the scene, choose the Mirror
tool and make a
mirrored copy of the lines, about the top line segment.. You may need to adjust
the Origin to line up with the top line segment. To do this move the cursor over the
Origin, until a small O appears, then left click once to move it.

The construction lines are now complete.

36

Creating th e Aud ito rium Zone


We are now going to create the internal envelope of the auditorium. This will involve the
construction lines we just created, as well as others, and the use of Cutting Planes.

1.

First select the Zone


tool and trace around the outer most lines to create
the auditorium zone (make sure snaps are set to Points).
When you've finished hit the Escape key and rename the zone Auditorium.

Now view the model in perspective view.

2.

Select the floor element of the new zone. In the Extrusions Vector section of the
Selection Information panel, change the Z value to 8000, making sure to apply
the changes.

37

3.

Using the Line


tool, create three lines as shown below. The first at the midheight of the wall behind the stage; the second in the middle, at the top of the wall
segments over the audience area; and the third at the mid-height of the wall behind
the seating.

4.

The height of the first and the third lines now have to be changed to a height of
5000. Select the first line, hit F3 to enter Node Mode, and select all the object's
nodes. In the Geometry section of the Selection Information panel, change the Z
value to 5000 and apply the changes. This shifts the nodes, and thus the whole line,
up to 5000mm in the Z axis.

5.

Now do the same with the third line at the back of the auditorium, but move the line to
a height of 6000.

38

6.

Now using the Plane


tool draw two planes; the first around the endpoints of
the first and the second line just drawn; and the second around the endpoints of
the second and the third line just drawn.
These are going to be used as cutting planes to trim the top of the auditorium.

7.

Select one of the planes and assign it as a Cutting Plane. Either right-click in the
Drawing Canvas to display the pull-right menu and select Cutting Plane - Assign
Object, or from the Modify menu.
It is now necessary to check that the cutting plane's normal is pointing in the right
direction. The normal determines which side of the cutting plane, objects are removed
from.
Hit F7 to enter Side view and if the normal is pointing down, hit Ctrl+R to reverse the
objects normal (the plane must be selected) so it is pointing upwards as shown below.
Objects are trimmed on the side of the arrow.

8.

Go back into Perspective view (the F8 key), and select the floor object of the
Auditorium zone (if you find it hard to select the correct object, remember to use
the Spacebar to toggle between objects that are close by). Now from the Select
menu choose the Children menu item.
This now selects all the child objects of the floor, which we are going to apply the
Cutting Plane to. To do this select Trim Selection from the Modify menu, or from the
pull-right menu of the Drawing Canvas.

39

9.

Repeat the last step, this time with the other sloped plane assigned as a Cutting
Plane.

10. Now that the ceiling of the auditorium has been trimmed, delete the two planes
used to cut the zone, as well as the three lines used as height guides.
Try viewing the model in Rough Sketch mode (Display menu). As you can see the
zone doesn't have a ceiling any more.

11. Trace over the top of the walls with two planes, sloping in either direction, so
that the zone is an enclosed space, as shown below.

40

Make sure that the current zone is set to the Auditorium zone, as the two new ceiling
planes must be part of that zone to perform calculations later on.

The basic internal envelope of the auditorium is now complete.

Mo de lling the Sea tin g Ro ws us in g Mo rp h Betwe en. ..


In this section we are going to quickly generate stepped rows which will represent seating in
the auditorium. To do this we are going to use the Morph Between command to automate
a lot of the modelling required. However, to design auditorium seating more accurately it
should be raked to ensure site lines to the stage are adequate. For a detailed tutorial on
designing raked seating, go to Designing Raked Audience Seating in the Acoustics
section of the tutorial list.
1.

Create a new zone called Seating and give it a colour other than white. Also
make sure that the new zone is set as the Current Zone, as indicated at the top
of the dialog box.
If not performing thermal analysis on a model, it is possible to assign different types of
objects separate zones. Generally speaking however, zones should be used to
describe enclosed spaces within a building. For more information on how to effectively
use zones, go to Layers and Zones in the Concepts section of the main help file.
In this instances we are going to create a separate Seating zone to make things easier
when modelling the geometry (be able to turn the zones on/off etc.). However, later in
the tutorial we will have to move all the seating objects on to the Auditorium zone,
otherwise the volume of the space will not be calculated correctly (which is important
when performing analysis on a model).

41

2.

Select the group of morphed lines for the seating and ungroup them, either
using the Ungroup item from the Edit menu or hit Shift+Ctrl+U on the keyboard.

3.

In Plan view (F5) select and delete all but the two seating lines at the front and
the two at the rear of the auditorium, as shown below.
If you have difficulty selecting multiple objects by dragging a box with the Select tool,
try holding down the Shift key while using the Select tool to add single objects at a
time. A plus
selection.

should appear next to the cursor when a object can be added to the

These lines were created in the first part of this tutorial to ensure the correct profile
and spacing between rows, but are not required any more.

42

4.

Change back to Perspective view (F8), and assign the wall element shown below
as the Cutting Plane.
This time we are going to use the Cutting Plane as a tool to extend objects. When
using it to extend it is not necessary to check the direction of the Cutting Plane's
Normal.

5.

Now select the seating lines (on the same side of the centre line as the Cutting
Plane) and choose the Extend Selection item from the Drawing Canvas pull-right
menu.
Note the line that extended beyond the Cutting Plane was trimmed in-line with it, whilst
the other line segments were lengthened.

6.

Do the same to the seating lines on the other side.

43

7.

Using the Plane tool trace around each of the pairs of lines in the node order
shown below.

The order of the nodes is very important when morphing planar objects. This is
because the morphing algorithm uses the corresponding Node Index to work out which
node translates to which node, on the two objects. If you end up with something
looking like the image to the left when morphing, this is because the node order of the
two objects doesn't directly correspond. For more detailed information on morphing, go
to the Object Morphing tutorial of the Advanced Modelling Techniques section of the
tutorial list.

8.

In Perspective view (F8) move the front seating plane to a height of 200mm
above 0, and the back seating plane to a height of 1800mm above 0.
The easiest way to do this, is to set the Nudge value to 200 and use the Z key on the
keyboard to shift each object in the Z direction.

44

To assist when nudging objects, the Status Bar at the base of the Drawing Canvas
indicates the total change in distance since the first nudge (it returns to 0 if another
command is selected).

9.

Select both of the seating planes and extrude them by negative 200mm in the Z
direction (Extrusion Vector section of the Selection Information panel).
The vertical elements are going to be the risers between the rows of seating.

At this stage we can switch off the Construction Lines zone from the Zone
Management panel, making it easier to see the important elements in the model.

10. Now that the seating rows have height, we need to remove all but the front and
top elements of the two rows, as the other height segments are not required.
Select the two side, five back and 1 bottom plane (if the Cap Extrusions option is on)
of each row and hit the Delete key on the keyboard to erase the objects.

45

Now we can start morphing...


11. Select two corresponding objects in the front and the back rows, and select the
Morph Between item from the Modify menu. When the Morph dialog box
appears, enter 7 interim steps and click the OK button.

12. Now go through each pair of elements in the two rows and apply a morph with 7
interim steps between each, until all the row elements are complete as shown below.
Use the F2 key to repeat the last command.

The final step is to trim the elements that extend outside the auditorium.

46

13. Select either of the small wall elements that runs North/South (shown below)
and assign it as the Cutting Plane.

Then select all the Seating zone elements and apply the Trim Selection tool.
The easiest way to select all the objects on one zone is by clicking the Right Mouse
button on the zone name in the Zone Management panel, and choosing the Select
Objects On item.

Notice that both sides of the seating rows were trimmed. This is because when a
Cutting Plane is assigned it becomes an infinite object, that is it extends infinitely along
its plane.

F ix ing the Au d ito rium 's Vo lume


To complete the auditorium geometry the floor of the auditorium must be limited to the
space above the seating. In other words the floor element of the Auditorium zone must not
pass underneath the seating. If the floor was left as it is at the moment, any acoustic
analysis done would be extremely inaccurate. This is because the volume of a space is
very important when determining Reverberation Time etc. and at the moment the volume
includes all the space underneath the seating, which is incorrect.

47

1.

First, select the top plane of the rear seating row and hit F3 to enter Node Mode.

2.

Now in Plan view (F5), select one of the nodes closest to the rear of the
auditorium and shift it with the Select tool (Move
icon should appear) until it
snaps to the nearest point on the back wall, as shown below.

3.

Repeat the last step until all but the two central nodes are aligned with the rear
of the auditorium.

48

4.

Select the two central nodes, then click the Delete Node
Standard toolbar, or hit the Delete key.

button on the

This should remove the two nodes such that the plane follows the edge of the rear
walls.

5.

Go back to Perspective view and take a look at the adjustments that were just
made.

Notice that the plane is still flat (and at 1800 high) despite snapping to nodes above

49

and below it. This is because we made the adjustments in Plan view, which maintains
the original plane of operation.
To test the theory, try doing steps 2 and 3 in Perspective view and see what happens.
6.

The next step is to edit the nodes on the floor element so that it follows the edge
of the front row of seating.
First select the floor element and unlink it from the walls (otherwise editing the floor will
edit the position of the walls, because the floor is the parent of the walls). To do this,
from the Edit menu select Unlink Objects.
For more information on object linking, go to the Object Relationships page in the
Concepts section of the main help file.

Then follow the instructions from step 2, tracing around the first row of seating then
deleting the excess nodes. This can be done in Perspective view if you like, as there
are nodes on the same level to snap to.

7.

Next we need to adjust the walls such that they meet at the bottom of either floor
or seating depending on the location of the wall segment.
For the back three walls this means lifting the base nodes to a height of 1800, in-line
with the back seating row.

50

For the large side walls, this means tracing the profile of the steps by adding additional
nodes.

Select the wall element, and using the Add Node


tool insert nodes at the junction
of each row of seating. Move the first and last base nodes up until they meet the
nearest step, as shown.

8.
The same needs to be done for the small walls that run North/South.

Repeat the modifications for the other side of the auditorium.

51

When complete the model should look similar to the images below, in both Front and
Side views.

9.

The last step is to add two doors at the rear of the auditorium. Select the very
back wall and hit the Insert key on the keyboard. Select Door button, and set the
dimensions to 2100mm high and 1000mm wide.
Move the door in the Y direction by 2500 (using the Move
tool) then mirror the
door about the centre line of the auditorium so that there are two exits.

Mo de lling the Con tro l Room


The first part of modelling the control room for the auditorium, is to create a whole at the
rear of the hall. Geometry is then going to be added around that.

1.

In Side view (F6), click the Add Node


to start inserting a node.

tool and click the top of the back wall

In the Cursor Input toolbar specify an X value of 2000, a Y value of -1300 and a Z
value of 6000. Click the Left Mouse button in the Drawing Canvas to accept the
position of the new node.

Note that all node insertions use absolute values in the Cursor Input toolbar.
2.

Use Align snaps to align the cursor with the top of the doors and the last node,
to insert the next new node.

52

3.

Insert the third node in line with the top of the doors and with a absolute
distance in the Y axis of 1300 (to do this easily make sure the Snaps distance is
set to 100 with Grid snaps on).

4.

The final node can be inserted simply using the Align snaps.

5.

Using the Create Zone


tool and with Points snaps on, start a new zone at
the bottom of the hole in the rear wall, as shown below.

6.

Now in Plan view (F5), move the cursor in the -X direction and type 2000. Then
left click to accept the node position.

53

7.

Move the cursor in the -Y direction, type 2600 and left click to accept the node
position.

8.

Move the cursor in the +X direction, type 2000 and left click to accept the node
position, or use the Points snap.

9.

Move the cursor in the -Y direction, type 500 and left click to accept the node
position.
This next section is the small balcony that protrudes into the auditorium space.

54

10. Move the cursor in the +X direction, type 750 and left click to accept the node
position.

11. Move the cursor in the +Y direction, type 3600 and left click to accept the node
position.

12. Move the cursor in the -X direction, type 750 and left click to accept the node
position.

55

Once that's done and it looks similar to the image above, hit the Escape key twice to
finish the zone and exit the Rename Zone dialog box.
13. Select only the floor element of the zone you just created.
In the Extrusion Vector section of the Selection Info. panel give the zone a new
height of 2090 in the Z axis. Hit the Apply Changes button so the changes will take
effect.

14. Select all the objects on the new zone, and in the Edit menu choose the Unlink
Objects item.
Now that the zone is unlinked you are free to edit any element in the zone without it
effecting any other element in the zone.

Select the five wall segments that make up the balcony section of the new zone and
hit the F3 key to enter Node Mode.

56

15. In Side view, drag a box around the top of the wall elements to select all of the
top nodes.

16. Hold down the Shift key + Z and move the nodes down 1300 so that they make a
railing around the balcony.

17. Hit the F4 key to isolate the current zone, then click the Zoom Fit Grid
tool.
Once you've zoomed in to the control room, select the panels shown below and
delete them.
These elements need to be removed as they overlap part of the rear wall and are
unnecessary.

18. Select the ceiling element and hit the F3 key to enter Node Mode. Now select the
four front nodes which overhang the balcony and delete them.

The control room is now complete and should look similar to the image below.

57

19. Hit the F4 key again to toggle back to displaying all the zones, then click the
Zoom Fit Grid

tool to zoom back out.

The final step is to move all the objects (except the construction lines) onto the
Auditorium zone.

To do this select the objects except the construction lines (you might like to try locking
the Construction Lines zone to avoid selecting them), then in the Selection Info. panel
click the Zone input box and select the right arrow
icon that appears. This should
display a small list of options. From the list choose the Select Zone item, then in the
Select Zone dialog box choose the Auditorium zone then click the OK button. All the
selected objects now belong to the Auditorium zone.
20. It is necessary to change all the objects to the Auditorium zone so that the
space is completely enclosed, allowing an accurate calculation of the volume of
the auditorium.
Just as a test, from the Calculate menu choose the Zone Volumes item. ECOTECT
goes off and calculates the volume of the zone, spraying rays within the space.
As a check the final volume should be just over 1000m3, as long as your
measurements are consistent with those used throughout the tutorial. This is displayed
in the Geometric Data section of the Selection Info. panel.

58

ADVANCED MODELL ING - Impo rting CAD Geom etry

In trod uction
Although ECOTECT has it's own modelling interface, it is possible to import geometry from
other CAD packages via DXF or 3DS files. It is rare (virtually impossible really) to import
geometry into ECOTECT and expect the program to understand all of the geometry and not
require additional work/editing in ECOTECT. Unlike many CAD programs, ECOTECT
needs to understand the geometry as a building. This is the only way that analysis can be
correctly undertaken. Therefore when importing geometry it is important to thoroughly
check it, especially material assignments.
The best way to approach the import of geometry is to firstly be clear about what you want
to do with it in ECOTECT, and secondly to work out what is necessary to import to
effectively achieve your aim. As an example, it is a waste of effort modelling an entire
building's geometry in AutoCAD, then expecting it to import and perform thermal analysis
correctly in ECOTECT. Thermal models need only be very simple representations of the
building's spatial zones. For more information on this, refer to the Thermal Modelling page
in the Analysis section of the ECOTECT help file.
Import for Thermal
Because thermal analysis is very specific in it's geometric requirements (with regard to
zoning and primary/alternate materials), it is recommended that 3D geometry be (in the
most part) created in ECOTECT, as opposed to importing a full 3D CAD model from
another program. However, what is very useful is using existing 2D drawings to trace over
in ECOTECT. Refer to the 2D import section below.
Import for Solar & Lighting
Solar and lighting analysis is more accurately undertaken with quite detailed 3D geometry.
ECOTECT needs to know less about the building than for a thermal analysis, therefore it is
reasonable to import full 3D geometry. However it is important to remember to specify the
materials of all surfaces correctly in order for reflected and transparent objects to be
accurately considered. Refer to the 3D import section below.
Import for Acoustics
Similar to thermal analysis, acoustic analysis requires accurate zoning and material
specification. Therefore, like thermals, it is recommended that 2D drawings be imported to
trace from in ECOTECT. Refer to the 2D import section below.

59

Gen era l Po ints to Rememb er

DXF files are good for 2D geometry and only very simple solids, not full 3D or ACIS
geometry.

3DS files are good for 3D geometry but not at all for 2D geometry.

ECOTECT locates objects using real world coordinates. If geometry that is being
imported is positioned using very large negative coordinates, ECOTECT will have
trouble rotating/viewing the geometry. That is, right-clicking and dragging to rotate the
view in one direction may result in the view moving in the opposite direction.

In addition, very large coordinate values for the location of geometry may result in
ECOTECT being unable to fit the grid canvas correctly. This will often result in what
looks like very tiny objects way off in the distance and an oversized grid.
To avoid these issues, it is recommended that you locate the geometry as close to
0,0,0 as is possible.

It is important to remember that the DXF & 3DS file formats can be written differently
by different CAD programs, therefore different results may occur depending on the
program and it's export settings. If the desired result is not achieved in ECOTECT it is
recommended that you attempt all the options available when exporting from your
CAD package, as significantly different results can be achieved with different settings.

2 D Impo rt - DXF F iles


ECOTECT will not read blocked or referenced objects. Therefore it is important that you
explode any block or group objects before exporting as a DXF.
ECOTECT will also not understand very well change in UCS made to create objects.
Objects created with an altered UCS may import out of alignment and orientation.
If exporting from AutoCAD, type use dxfout entered at the command line and in the
SaveAs DXF dialog box, choose the Options button, then the DXF Options tab and make
sure the Select Objects checkbox is ticked. It is important to only export the drawing
objects, otherwise the DXF file will include all the line-style tables and redundant layers etc.
1.

To import a DXF file, choose the Import... item from the File menu.
Open the 2D Drawing.dxf file in the Tutorial Files directory in the ECOTECT
installation directory. You will need to make sure the Files of Type list has AutoCad
DXF Files chosen.
The following dialog box will appear allowing you to specify import settings.

60

2.

When importing a 2D drawing to trace over, it is recommended that you tick the
CREATE ALL OBJECTS AS CONSTRUCTION LINES option.
This will ensure that closed DXF polylines are not interpreted as additional floor planes
separating the model from the ground, thus affecting analysis results. The option
makes all imported DXF objects of type LINE and assigns them the default line
material.

3.

Make sure the options are similar to the ones shown in the dialog box above,
then click the OK button to import the file.

For more information on the different options in this dialog box, take a look at the DXF
Import page in the ECOTECT help file.
4.

To start tracing from the 2D drawings, it is useful to lock the zones with the
imported lines on, so as not to alter the imported geometry.

3 D Impo rt - 3 DS F iles
With very large and complex 3DS files (> 1MB) it is recommended that the geometry be
exported as several separate files. ECOTECT will be able to handle very complex geometry
once loaded but, due to the way ECOTECT handles 3DS files, it may actually take
significantly longer to load one large file than several smaller ones. This is mainly due to the

61

temporary storage and memory management required as the 3DS file is being interpreted
in ECOTECT.
1.

To import a 3DS file, choose the Import item from the File menu.
Open the 3D Model.3ds file in the Tutorial Files directory in the ECOTECT installation
directory. You will need to make sure the Files of Type list has 3D Studio Files
chosen.

2.

There are no options for 3DS file import, therefore the objects should be
displayed in the drawing canvas immediately after loading.

3.

Notice that the geometry is triangulated.


This is characteristic of a 3DS file, and occurs when the geometry is exported by the
CAD program, not by ECOTECT when it imports the geometry.

4.

If you don't want the geometry to be triangulated, select the objects just loaded
and choose the Merge Coincident Triangles item from the Modify menu.

This function may not work with all triangles and can occasionally get a bit confused
with some geometry, like the base plane in the example model shown above. In these
instances it may be appropriate to manually correct some of the resulting geometry.
5.

You may also notice that the imported geometry is also grouped together.
This is because most geometry from a 3DS file is quite complex, and it was thought
that grouping the geometry on import would make it easier to handle.
To ungroup the objects, hit Shift+Ctrl+U or choose the Ungroup item from the Edit
menu.

62

ADVANCED MODELL ING - Back groun d Bitmap

L oad ing a Back groun d Bitmap

1.

Start with a new model file.


From the File menu select the New item, or click the New File
Main toolbar.

2.

button from the

From the View menu select the Background Bitmap item, or from the Model
Settings

dialog box click the Bitmap tab.

The Bitmap tab in the Model Settings dialog box will be displayed. From here it is
possible to load an image file and modify its properties.

3.

Click the Load Bitmap... button.


A standard Windows Load File dialog box appears. Navigate to the Tutorials
directory within the ECOTECT install directory. Double click the bitmap file labeled
House Plan.bmp.

4.

ECOTECT returns to the Bitmap settings.


Click OK to exit out of the dialog box and return to the Drawing Canvas.

5.

If the model view is set to perspective your canvas may look something
similar to the one displayed below.

It is not possible to view an image in perspective view, therefore in place of the


image a bounding box with two diagonal lines through is displayed instead.

63

To view the image go to Plan view, either from the View menu or hit F5 on the
keyboard.

6.

Before going on to the next section you may like to try some of the different
display modes in the Bitmap tab of the Model Settings dialog box.
Inverted is usually the best option for a black Drawing Canvas.

Sca ling th e Bitmap


To ensure the correct size for the imported bitmap, a section of the image needs to be
measured. This needs to be a part for which a real dimension is known. In this instance we
are going to use the northern wall of the garage, which (as shown below) needs to be a
distance of 6000mm.

1.

Using the Measure

tool, measure the northern wall of garage.

To get an accurate measurement, zoom in on the garage using the Zoom Window
button.
The measurement information is displayed in the Selection Info. panel.

2.

Return to the Bitmap tab in the Model Settings

dialog box.

Enter the distance measured in the previous step in the Measured Distance input
box, then enter 6000 in the Real Distance input box.
Make sure you hit the Apply button before continuing.

3.

Return to the Drawing Canvas and press Ctrl+F or click the Fit Grid
button.
This will resize and zoom the grid to the new image size.

64

4.

To check the new image size, re-measure the northern wall of the garage.
The distance should now be 6000.

T rac ing the Bitmap


Most scanned images (in this case a plan) will show some wall thickness around the
perimeter and between rooms. This leads to the question 'which side of the wall do I
trace?'.
In most cases you will actually trace the centre as thermal calculations require single-plane
walls around and between zones. The centre gives the closest approximation between the
surface area exposed to outside conditions and the internal volume, as well as ensuring
that the walls of adjacent zones properly meet.
For more complex lighting and shadow models, where accuracy of geometry is the
overriding requirement, you will probably want to trace both sides of the walls, or simply
trace the inside and extrude the windows outwards to represent the wall depth.
If modelling for thermal calculations, it is also important to decide how to divide the building
into appropriate zones.

The image to the right shows an


example of the thermal zoning that
could be applied to this particular house
plan.There are a number rules for
zoning that apply to any type of building
when performing thermal analysis,
these are:

1.

A thermal zone represents an


enclosed space within which
the air is free to flow around
and whose thermal conditions
are relatively consistent. In
most cases, any room that
can be closed off with a door
would be a separate zone.

2.

Sometimes temperatures in
different parts of large spaces
can vary. In these cases, the
space can be divided into a
number of smaller zones with
adjoining elements defined as
voids. This way heat is free to
flow between the zones, but
their thermal characteristics
can be analysed individually.

3.

Also, adjacent utility spaces


such as store rooms, toilets
and corridors can often be
grouped together into the one
zone. This is because the

exact temperature of each


utility space is seldom of
interest, but their action as
a thermal buffer between
other zones may be
important.

65

If using ECOTECT only for shading and lighting calculations, the division of zones is not as
important and they can be used as layers to separate objects and functions. However,
thermal and acoustic calculations require very specific zoning based on the above rules.

1.

Having decided the requirements for the model (ie. thermal / lighting /
shadows / acoustics) it is possible to start tracing the image.

2.

Using the Zone


drawing.

tool zoom in to the first zone for the building and start

It is recommended that the default zone extrusion height is set appropriately first
(Modelling tab of the User Preferences dialog box) and that grid snaps be used
and set to 100mm. Using a grid snap of 100 will ensure that dimensions are
rounded values.
For more detailed instructions on modelling in ECOTECT try the Simple House
tutorial.

66

ADVANCED MODELL ING - Ob ject Mo rph ing

Ho w Mo rp h in g W orks
The Morph Between command is only active when exactly two objects are selected at the
same time. It performs a linear morph between the two objects with a specified number of
interim steps.
The Morph Facets command is similar to Morph Between, except that it creates enclosed
surfaces between the two objects being morphed.
The morphing objects do not have to have the same number of vertices, however relative
vertex ordering is important, as shown below.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

67

As can be seen from the examples above, different results can be achieved even if the
original objects appear identical. The differences arise because of the ordering of the nodes
(ie. the order in which the object nodes were created).
If an unexpected result occurs when morphing, it will usually be because of the order of the
objects' nodes.

T ry some d iffere nt types of mo rph ...


1.

Open Morphing.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There are 9 different zones, each containing two objects. Each zone has been set up as
a different type of morph for you to try.

2.

To perform a morph (with only one zone displayed at a time) select all the objects
on the current zone, and from the Modify menu choose the Morph Between menu
item.
In the Morph dialog box type the number of interim objects to be created, type 7 and
click the OK button.

Morph 1: same order, same height...

Morph 2: same as Morph 1 but with one object mirrored in both directions...

Morph 3: same order, different height...

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Morph 4: same as Morph 3 but with one object rotated 90 degrees...

Morph 5: same order, offset...

Morph 6: same order, different shape, different number of nodes...

Morph 7: same as Morph 6 but with one object mirrored causing a twist effect...

69

Morph 8: same order, different height, adjusted profile...

Morph 9: same as Morph 8 but with a different order...

70

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - In te rna l Sun Pen etration

Dis p la ying Sh ado ws


This is a brief tutorial, explaining the process of displaying shadows (and reflections) on
specific objects in a model. In this instance it is used to illustrate the effect of sun
penetration inside a space.
1.

Open Sun Penetration.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There five separate zones in this model, one for the room and the rest for different
window elements.
This model has been drawn to accurately access the penetration of daylight into the
space, including the thickness of the front wall. It is not an appropriate model for
attempting thermal or acoustic analysis, as the room has been divided into zones for
different types of elements.

2.

To display shadows select the Shadows item from the display menu, hit F10 on
the keyboard, or from the Shadow Settings
Shadows

button.

71

control panel click the Display

The default settings for shadows is to cast them on the ground (Z = 0).
It is also possible to set shadows to fall on specific objects which are tagged as shaded,
this is explained in the next section.
ECOTECT has an overall shadow and sun patch colour which can be set in User
Preferences under the Modelling tab.
It is also possible to set specific shadow and reflection colours for different zones in a
model, which is useful for highlighting different parts of a model. This is done in the
Zone Management dialog box.

Dis p la ying In te rna l Shado ws


To display internal shadows it is necessary to tag some walls as shaded objects. This tells
ECOTECT to only display shadows on specific objects and not on the ground.

1.

Using the Select


below.

tool, select the floor and western wall of Zone 1, as shown

You will need to hold down the Shift key to add the second object to the selection set. If
at first you cannot select the object you want, use the Space bar (even when holding
down the Shift key) to cycle through objects which share the same line segments.

2.

With the two objects selected, either;


from the Modify menu go to the Assign As sub-menu and choose Shaded Surface;
or, right click the mouse in the Drawing Canvas, go to the Assign As sub-menu and

72

choose Shaded Surface;


or, from the Shadow Settings control panel click the Shaded button in the Tag
Object(s) As section half-way down.

This should result in a display similar to that shown below.

3.

Now that shadows are displayed on the floor and wall, it is possible to cycle
through the date and time to show the effect of the windows and shades at
different times of the year.
This is easily done via the Date/Time toolbar.

Either; type in a specific value using the keyboard (remember its a 24 hour clock);
or, click the up/down arrows with the mouse, to adjust the time by 15min. intervals, and
the date in weeks;
or, use the Page Up/Page Down keys on the keyboard, once either input box has the
focus.
In conjunction with the above methods, use the;
Shift key to adjust in larger increments;
Control key to adjust in smaller increments;
Home key to jump to the beginning of the day/month/year;
End key to jump to the end of the day/month/year;

Dis p la ying Re fle ctions


To display internal reflections, it is necessary to tag some objects as reflectors. In this case
the objects are the horizontal planes making up the light-shelf. As reflections will occur on
the ceiling and the walls, we will need to change the objects tagged as shaded.

1.

Using the Select


below.

tool, select the ceiling and western wall of Zone 1, as shown

Once again, you will probably need to use the Shift key and Space bar.

73

2.

Next select the four light-shelf objects, as shown below.

3.

With the four objects selected, either;


from the Modify menu go to the Assign As sub-menu and choose Solar Reflector;
or, right click the mouse in the Drawing Canvas, go to the Assign As sub-menu and
choose Solar Reflector;
or, from the Shadow Settings control panel click the Reflector button in the Tag
Object(s) As section half-way down.

The display will change to look similar to the following:

74

With both shadows and reflections displayed, it can be a little confusing so we will
temporarily turn off shadows.
4.

Select the Show Reflections Only option in the Shadow Display group in the
Shadow Settings panel.

This should result in the the following diagram.

With this display, you should be able to change the date to cycle through the year in
order to work out just how deep the reflection will penetrate into the space.
You may wish to experiment with the angle of the reflectors to try to maximise
penetration whilst minimising direct sun penetration.

75

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - Optim is ed Sha d in g Des ign

In se rting a W ind o w
In this tutorial you will work through the process of designing/optimising different types of
shading devices.
1.

Open Shading Design.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There only two zones in this model, one called Wall and the default Outside zone.

2.

Firstly we need to insert a window in the wall.


To do this, select the wall element and hit the Insert key on the keyboard to open the
Object Library (or Add Child) dialog box.

Choose the Window item and enter values similar to the ones shown below. In this

76

instance we want the window to sit in the middle of the wall, therefore the insertion
position should be left as is.

When you have finished entering dimensions for the window click the OK button.

Des ign ing an Op tim ised Shade


1.

With the window still selected, go to the Calculate menu, the Shading and
Shadows pull-right, and choose Design Shading Device.

2.

From the Type selection box choose Optimised Shade (Until).


Then enter times and shade data similar to those shown above.

77

When you have finished entering values click the OK button.

occasionally, when creating the shade, one or two nodes on the device may be slightly
out of plane, meaning that it will be displayed in the Invalid Object colour ( red ). To
correct this simply select the shade, and from the Edit menu choose the Fix Links item
(Ctrl + L).
3.

Whenever you create a shading device in ECOTECT it is good practice to ensure


that it exists on the Outside zone. Although not necessary in this instance, if a
thermal analysis was to be done it would be essential, due to solar exposure
calculations.
Therefore just as a side, select the shading device, make the Outside zone current, and
from the Zone Options pull-right choose the Move Selection to Current Zone item.

4.

Now that the shade has been created and is on the Outside zone, it is a good idea
to check that the design is working.
From the View menu go to the Recall View pull-right and choose view 2. This will give a
better view of the shadows falling on the window.

5.

Now turn shadows on, either from the Display menu or the Shadow Settings
control panel.
You'll notice that the shadows are falling on the ground.

6.

To make the shadows display on the wall, select the wall object and either;
from the Modify menu go to the Assign As sub-menu and choose Shaded Surface;

78

or, right click the mouse in the Drawing Canvas go to the Assign As sub-menu and
choose Shaded Surface;
or, from the Shadow Settings control panel click the Shaded button in the Assign As
section at the bottom.

7.

It is now possible to cycle through time and dates to ensure that the shade is
working as required.

It should be noted that the intent of the optimised shade design function is to illustrate
the extent of shading exactly required for a particular set of circumstances.

Des ign ing Othe r T ypes o f Shade s


You may now like to try creating some different types of optimised shades.
Before creating any other shades it is important to delete the previous shade, or move it to
another Zone which is switched off.
Follow the same procedure as outlined above, choosing different types of shades and
perhaps some different times/data.

79

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - Ov ersha do win g & Site Ana lys is

L oad ing the Ov ersha do win g Mode l


The first step in this tutorial is to load a model file containing some buildings. We are going
to use the model shown above to look at overshadowing of the empty site shown in orange.
This is to contain a child care centre, so our preliminary site analysis is going to look at the
best location for the morning play area. As morning recess is from 10:00-10:45am, it is
desirable its location has access to direct sunlight during this period in the winter months.
1.

Open Overshadowing.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There are quite a few zones in this model, representing various buildings and site
features.

2.

Select the Shadows item from the Display menu.


This displays shadows on the entire site and opens the Shadow Settings control tab to
the right of the Drawing Canvas.

Shadows are shown for 12:0pm on April the 1st in Perth, Western Australia as this was
the last setting saves with the model.

Settin g the Da te a nd T ime


1.

In the Date/Time toolbar, change the time to 10:15 and the date to the 21st of June
(mid-winter in the southern hemisphere).

80

You can set the time and day using either the spin buttons or by clicking in either text
box and using the PageUp/PageDown keys. You can moderate the increment value (1,
15 or 60mins) by holding down the Shift or Control key using both methods.

The shadows should update each time a change is made, resulting in the following
image.

This give some indication of the area we need. We could cycle though a range of dates
and time getting a slightly better idea of what is going on, or we could use a sun-path
diagram to display an entire years overshadowing in one image.

Dis p la ying a Sun -Pa th Diag ram


The default format is a stereographic diagram. Refer to the main help file for a detailed
description of each type of sun-path diagram and how to read them.
1.

Click select the small point object within the orange site.
This is displayed as small 'asterisk' as shown below. Make sure that is the only object
selected.

2.

Select the Sun-Path diagram... item from the Calculate menu.


This will display a Sun-Path Diagram showing the sun-path and overshadowing of that
point, which should be very similar to the image shown below.

81

This indicates that from about May through August this point is in shade from just before
10:00am to just after 12:00pm. It is therefore not appropriate to put it in the middle of the
site on the north side.
3.

With the sun-path diagram still displayed, select the Transform


left toolbar and then the Move

4.

Select the Zoom Window


around the orange site.

button in the

item from the displayed pull-right.

button from the View toolbar and drag a zoom box

You can achieve the same view using the Shift and Control keys whilst dragging with
the Right Mouse button down. Basically you want to get a view similar to the one
shown in Point 1 above.
5.

Click in the Drawing Canvas and drag the selected point to the east side of the
site.
It does not matter where you first click as long a you then drag in the right direction and
look at the selected point as you move. For example, you may want to click in an empty
area of the screen, such as at Pt 1 shown below, and drag to the right to Pt 2. Note that
the Cyan line indicates that the orthogonal snap is on and that you are dragging in the X
axis only.

When you click at Pt 2, the sun-path diagram will update.

82

This is much better as it shows brief opening for sun penetration exactly at the times
required - 10:00am to 11:00am. This is cutting it quite fine, however it may be the only
area of the site that receives sun at those times. You may wish to check if that's the
case by simply moving the selected point around to other areas of the site and
examining the resulting overshadowing diagram.

In te rac ting with Sh ado ws


When the sun-path diagram is displayed, you can use it to interact with displayed shadows
in the model. To do this you may want to resize the dialog so that you can see both it and
the model in the main application window, as shown below.

1.

If you have turned shadows off to select the point, select the Shadows item from
the Display menu in the main application window and keep the Sun-Path Diagram
dialog displayed.

2.

Click and drag the Left Mouse button in the sun-path diagram.
This will cause the date and time to change, following the mouse. When you release the
mouse button, the shadows in the Drawing Canvas will update to the new date and
time. If you hold down the Control key as you drag, the shadows will update
interactively.
This direct link between the sun-path diagram and physical shadows can be very useful
when you are trying to work out which buildings are actually causing the overshadowing
at particular time, especially in a very complex environment. As a small additional
exercise, you could continue your investigation in this area by opening the Zone
Management dialog box and selecting different shadow colours for the different zones.
This way you can more easily isolate the effects of each building.

83

SOLAR ANAL YSIS - Crea ting a se t o f louv res

L oad ing the L inked Shad ing Dev ice Mode l


In this tutorial you will work through the process of creating a set of linked horizontal louvres
to introduce you to some of the more useful object linking effects in ECOTECT.

1.

Open the Linked Shading Devices.eco file from the Tutorial Files directory
located in your main ECOTECT Install directory.
There three zones in this model, the default Outside zone, Louvres, Wall and
Window. The Louvres zone also has a shadow colour highlight to show its shadow
in dark green. All other zones use the default shadow colour.

2.

To display shadows, select the Shadows item from the Display menu.

Dup lica ting the Louv re

84

1.

In order to create a set of louvres, first select the green horizontal louvre.
You can do this by either click or drag selecting the object itself.
To duplicate the object, select the Duplicate... item in the Edit menu.
This will display the following dialog box.

2.

Change the duplicate offset values to those shown above, ensuring that you check
the Link duplicates as child objects option. This will create a new copy of the
louvre at a distance of 200mm below the first.
Repeat this a further six (6) times to create a set of louvres as shown below. You
can use the Ctrl+D keyboard shortcut instead of going to the menu each time. If you
check the Don't prompt me for this again option, the Ctrl+D shortcut will not
display this dialog box but will use the last set value. You can display this dialog
again using the menu command.

Ma n ipu lating the L ouv res

85

1.

The next step is to double-click the original top louvre to enter node mode.
You can also enter this mode by selecting the object and using the F3 key. This
should display 4 red nodes at each object vertex.
Once displayed, select the two nodes farthest from the wall. You can do this by first
clicking on one, then holding the SHIFT key down while selecting the other.

2.

You can now adjust all the louvred objects by editing the original, known as
the parent. To illustrate this, nudge the selected nodes up and down using the
Z key.
To nudge the nodes down, hold down SHIFT and press the Z key several times.
When nudging, the unmodified X, Y and Z keys move the selection in the
associated axis. The SHIFT modifier moves the selection set in the negative
direction in each axis.

Whilst you could do this same thing by simply selecting the farthest nodes of all the
louvre objects at the same time, the linking allows you to apply more complex
transformations such as rotations and scalings to a single object and have them
reflected in each of the linked children.

Cho os in g a Cut-Off Date

1.

Make sure the nodes in the top louvre are back horizontal when you have
finished experimenting with nudging. The next step is to set the date and time
you wish to block internal sun penetration at.

86

As this model is located in the southern hemisphere (-32 latitude), to use these
louvres to provide year-round protection, we have to choose the time the Sun is
lowest in the sky. This is likely to occur at the winter solstice - in this case the 21st
of June. Use the Date/Time toolbar to select 12:00pm on the 21st of june

As you change the date/time, you should notice that the shadows change
interactively. You can either use the up and down arrows or the PageUp/PageDown
keys while any of these controls have the input focus.
You might want to rotate the model view to be able to clearly see both the louvres
and the sun penetration on the ground.
To protect from sun penetration it is simply a matter of either angling or extending
the louvres out until all the sun patch is obscured. To preserve as much view as
possible, we are going to first see how deep the louvres would need to be.

2.

We want a more refined degree of control over the depth so we need to


change the snap distance.
To do this, change the snap distance value in the Options toolbar. If you use the up
and down buttons, use the CONTROL key to reduce the increment value from the
default 100mm to 10mm (1" to 1/16" when set to imperial units). The SHIFT key
changes the increment to 1000mm.

3.

Once set, use the Y key to nudge the louvre out until the sun-patch is
completely hidden.

This is where most designers stop, thinking that the shade is now designed.
However, at other times of the day in winter the Sun can be much lower in the sky
and at quite a different angle.

4.

To test the effectiveness of your shade, change the time to 15:30 for example.
If you rotate the view again to show the shading, this should appear similar to the
image below.

87

Obviously there will need to be some cut-off time, especially with openings that face
East or West. This is where the need for vertical fins and more innovative shading
solutions become important.
As an exercise, you might want to change the orientation of the window to 25 off
North and design a completely protective shading device that still lets in some
natural skylight. You can set the orientation using the Date/Time/Location... dialog
in the Model menu.

88

L IGHT ING DESIGN - Interna l L ighting Ca lcu lation s

Settin g up the Ana lys is Grid


In this tutorial you will work through the process of analysing lighting levels, then design an
appropriate artificial lighting grid to compensate for low light levels.
1.

Open Classroom.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There only two zones in this model, one called Classroom and the default Outside zone.

2.

Before calculating lighting levels it is necessary to setup the Analysis Grid.


Go to the Analysis Grid

control panel, and click the Analysis Grid Settings button.

89

The above dialog box is displayed. Enter values similar to the ones above, making sure
the X and Y Grid Cells are the same (20 and 12), then click the OK button.
Notice that the Z Offset for the grid in the Grid Position section of the Analysis Grid panel
is set to 600mm.

This is an accepted standard working plane height for lighting calculations. You can of
course move the gid up or down to suit your needs. This is necessary if the floor plane is
not at ground level, Z=0. Adjusting the height within a space will affect the calculated
light levels.
3.

To display the analysis grid, select the floor object then click the Fit Over
Selection button.
This button stretches the grid to just under the extents of the object. It also hides any grid
points that are not within the extents of the object.

Before moving on and calculating light levels, it is important to make sure that the
analysis grid is set appropriately. If the grid is altered in any way after calculations have
been performed, the values will be lost.
Also it is important that the boundary of the grid does not sit exactly on the surface of
geometry. If this does happen, ECOTECT will find it difficult to determine if a point on the
grid is on one or the other side of the wall. The result will look quite strange in that it will
look light the walls are emitting very bright light (ie. from the sky).

Ca lc u la tin g L igh t L ev els


1.

To calculate light levels, select the Lighting Levels option in the Calculate section
at the bottom of the control panel.

90

Then click the Perform Calculation... button to display the following dialog.

Enter values similar to the ones above. You may want to set the precision to Medium to
hasten the calculation process (though it will be slightly less accurate), then click the OK
button.
The above settings are a worst cast scenario for latitude -31.9. Worst case being defined
by an overcast sky in the middle to winter. This corresponds to a sky illuminance of
around 8500Lux. If your site is in a different location, either enter the design sky value
directly if you know it or use the Calculate Design Sky options.
2.

ECOTECT starts calculating values. This may take a while - perhaps a good time
to make a cup of tea...

Once the calculations are complete, try altering the display settings. The above grid is
displayed with Shade Grid Squares and Show Contour Lines on.
Also try adjusting the Minimum and Maximum scale values as well as the Contours
value to adjust the contour increment. To apply these settings hit the Enter key. You
should also try experimenting with the other display options, such as the Show Values
in 3D option.

91

Des ign ing the L ighting Syste m


Once the extent of natural lighting is established, it is possible to design an artificial lighting
system to compliment the daylighting and light the space at night.
1.

The first thing to look at before moving on, is the natural lighting system. Using a
minimum design requirement of 300 lux, it is possible to separate the two
skylights, as around 700 lux is being achieved in the middle of the room.
Hide the analysis grid temporarily (Unclick the Display Analysis Grid button in the
Analysis Grid panel) and select one of the skylights. With Point snaps on, move the
object 500mm away from the centre of the room (the easiest way is to snap to opposing
end corners).

Now do the same to the other skylight.


2.

Once this is done you may like to recalculate the lighting levels to see the effect.
Separating the skylights slightly provides a much more consistent range of levels in the
centre of the room, and reduces the area along the edge requiring additional artificial
lighting.

It is obvious that additional light is required along the junction between the pitched and

92

flat roofs. As well, it will be necessary to provide a strip of lighting along the central roof
line for operation at night.
The two perimeter rows of lights could work from a single switch, however the central
row should be switched separately as it will not usually be required during the day.
The corners of the room are also a bit dark, however if these areas were to be used
(which is unlikely) then task lighting would be more appropriate here.

Add ing Electric L igh ts

1.

To add lights to the model simply click the Create Light


point in the model.

button, then click a

In this case this is best done in in Plan view. Whilst you can drag the direction vector of
the light, we want it to point directly downwards. To do this, hit the Escape get after you
have positioned the first point.

2.

Once a light has been inserted it is necessary to move it up in the Z direction, as


the default creation height is Z = 0.
In side view (F6 or F7) make sure the light is selected, then hit the Z key on the
keyboard to move the light in the Z direction by increments of the nudge value (default =
100).

Move the light up until it is level with the flat section of roof (Z = 2400).
3.

Once one light has been inserted correctly, mirror it about the centre of the room.
Make sure Apply to Copy is checked and the origin is in the right position.

93

4.

Now that we have the start of the two perimeter rows of lights, we need to add the
first light for the central row.
This can be quickly done by copying one of the existing lights and nudging it into position
in the Y and Z axis. A height of about 3400 in the Z axis will be sufficient.

5.

Now that we have the first three lights we can array them in the X direction, with a
gap of around 2000mm, to form the three rows of lights.
The easiest way to do this is to use the Object Transformation panel (Modify >
Transform > Numeric or Ctrl+T).
Make sure the three lights are selected, then enter values similar to the ones shown to
the left in the Linear Array group.

6.

Once entered, click the Create Array button.


The final array should produce three rows of eight lights each, at 2m centres.

At this stage the model may become cluttered with lines from the cones of the lights.
To turn these off, in the Display menu go to the Element Detail pull-right and choose
None.

Ass ign ing L ig ht T ype s


The next step is to specify the right properties for the lights.

94

1.

First make sure all the lights are selected, then choose the Material Assignments
panel and click the FluoroLampStripUnit light material. Then click the Apply
changes button at the bottom of the panel.

2.

Now recalculate the lighting levels in the space.


Once calculated, you should be able to display only the effects of the electric lights only
by selecting the Electric Light Levels option in the Grid Settings group.

This should display levels similar to the following.

You will note that total light levels (daylighting + electric lighting) are well above 300Lux,
however the electric lighting alone does not reach this level throughout the room. Thus
we need to either add more lights or use brighter luminaires.
At this stage you may wish to experiment with some of the other types of light in the
library or adding additional lights to attain an even distribution of 300 Lux across the
room.
Similar to other types of object in ECOTECT, the properties for lights are defined by the
material assigned to the light. A future tutorial in this section will look at manipulating the
light output distribution or lights and loading in IES data obtained from manufacturers.

95

L IGHT ING DESIGN - Exp orting to Rad ian ce

In te rfac ing with Ra d ia nce


In this tutorial you will learn how to export a file to the RADIANCE Synthetic Imaging
software and generate realistic lighting levels. RADIANCE is not installed with ECOTECT,
however it is a freely available public-domain application from Lawrence Berkeley
Laboratories. You will need to have either downloaded and installed the free Desktop
Radiance software from the Lawrence Berkeley site or purchased the ADELINE package
to complete this tutorial.
1.

Open Classroom.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There only two zones in this model, one called Classroom and the default Outside zone.

Creating a Came ra Vie w


1.

We first want to set up a camera in order to view the interior of the room.
To create a camera, click the Camera button
in the left-hand side toolbar. To
position the base point of the camera, use the Control key to move the cursor up and
down in the Z axis and then drag it into position. Be careful not to position it exactly on
or in any of the wall, floor or ceiling planes or you will end up looking directly at a flat
featureless surface. Once you position the first node, ECOTECT will prompt for a
second. Simply drag the 'look at' node to the other end of the enclosure as shown.

96

It does not matter if the second node sits on a plane or is coincident with any particular
point as it serves only to provide a view direction.
If you need to reposition the camera after placing the second node, simply double-click
on the camera object and select either node to move it. The view direction is always
indicated by the 'pointy' end (the one with the arrow).
Before moving on and calculating light levels, it is important to make sure that the
analysis grid is set appropriately. If the grid is altered in any way after calculations have
been performed, the calculated values will be lost. See the Lighting Introduction
tutorial if you need more information.

Settin g Came ra Prope rties


1.

To set the properties of the camera, make sure it is selected and click the Material
Assignments Tab icon

to display its assigned material.

The Materials Tab is located on the right hand side of the main ECOTECT application
window. There is only one CAMERA material in this model so it is automatically
assigned.

2.

The next step is to modify the field of view of the camera. To do this simply
double-click on the 'External_Camera' entry in the materials list.
You should now see a dialog box like the one below - change the horizontal and vertical
angles to 90 and 60 degrees respectively as shown below and click the OK button.

97

The camera's pyramid shape should update, as shown below.

Expo rting to RADIANCE


Once you have created a camera, you are ready to export to Radiance.
1.

To generate a Radiance image, select the Export... item in the File menu and
change the file type to Radiance Scene File.
Basically Radiance doesn't seem to handle long file names at all well. Some of its
components do, but things such as PFILT and PCOMB don't. Always save your
Radiance scene files in a very simple directory structure (such as C:\temp\rad\run1 or
something). Never use spaces in the names or names greater than 8 characters long.
Sometimes they'll work, most of the time not.
Once you select a file name the following dialog box will be displayed:

98

2.

Ensure you change all the settings to match those shown above and then click
the OK button.
You should now see a DOS Command Prompt appear and a whole range of command
line data display. Radiance should automatically run, which may take a while. However,
it should periodically display its calculation status as it goes.

If you do not see DOS prompt it is likely that you did not select the Save+Final Render
option at the bottom of the dialog. If you instead see a dialog box asking you to locate
the Radiance Application RAD.EXE, then this is simply the first time it has been run on
your machine and ECOTECT has been unable to find the Radiance directory in all the
usual places. Simply navigate to where you installed Radiance, enter the bin directory
and choose the RAD.EXE file. You should then see the DOS Prompt.
If your DOS Prompt appears and then disappears almost immediately then you are in
trouble. We;ve tested and re-tested the Classroom.eco file with Radiance, so you can
be pretty certain its an installation issue. You could try selecting the Save + Invoke
RadTool option, then set the Pause on Completion option in the Settings dialog box
to try to deduce when the problem might be, however you will probably find the
information you need in the Square One forum as we get quite a few enquiries about
setting up Radiance.
You can get quite comprehensive help on all the settings in this dialog by clicking the
Help... button.
Radiance is an excellent tool for highly accurate and quick lighting analysis, however it
can be a little temperamental and takes a bit of getting used to. Whilst you can use
ECOTECT to bypass much of the data entry and command line issues with Radiance,
however you should have a good read of the documentation that comes with it if you
wish to use it for more than simple visualisation.

99

3.

Once the calculation is complete you should see an image very similar to the
following pop up in WinImage.
As selected in the dialog box, this is an illuminance image, not a luminance image. This
means that it differs from a photographic image by showing the amount of light falling on
each surface as opposed to the amount of light reflected off.

Gen era ting Co nto ur/Fa lse-co lou r Im ages


The real benefit of this is that you can generate false-colour and contoured illumination
maps directly from this image. To do this, simply select False-colour... or Iso Contour...
from the Analysis menu in WinImage.

This will display the following dialog:

100

Ensure you select Illuminance in the Quantity group and enter a Maximum Value of 4000
Lux to set the scale. Selecting OK will display the following image if you selected Falsecolour.

You can save this image as a Bitmap for inclusion in reports by simply selecting Save
As...from the File menu and setting the file type to Windows Bitmap.

101

L IGHT ING DESIGN - Ra d ian ce Ma te ria ls

Us in g m ore Comp lex Ra d ian ce Ma te ria ls


This is a short tutorial on how to use more complex RADIANCE materials from within
ECOTECT. You should have already done the Exporting to Radiance tutorial to make
sure that RADIANCE is set-up properly on your machine and that you can successfully
export a scene file from your model.
1.

Open the Radiance-Materials.eco file from the Tutorial Files folder in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There are three zones in this model, one called Room, one called Box and the default
Outside zone. It is a simple room with a camera and a large box box in the middle.
Essentially the box is the object whose materials we are going to change. It should
already be grouped so you only need to click one object to select them all.

Ren dering th e Base Mode l


1.

First off, export the model to Radiance to see what material the box is currently
assigned.
The box should be assigned the material 'LightBlue'. You can export to Radiance using
either the Export Manager panel to the right of the main application window or the
Export... item in the File menu.
Either way you should be prompted for a filename to save the scene files - simply
choose somewhere like C:\Temp\Test.rif, remebering the problems Radiance
sometimes has with long file names.

102

You should then see the see the Radiance Export dialog, in which you should ensure
that an Overcast Sky is selected and that the action is set to Final Render, as shown
below.

This should produce an image similar to the following:

Defin ing a Mo re Co mp le x Ma teria l


1.

Make sure you have set the Default Export Material Directory in the Preferences
Dialog.
When ECOTECT exports any file, it can be set to look in both the local model directory

103

and a global shared directory for matching material files. Simply select the User
Preferences item in the File menu and ensure that you have the item highlighted below
set to the Materials folder in your main ECOTECT install directory.

You can create a your own export materials directory and redirect ECOTECT to there if
you work with a lot of your own materials, however this tutorial uses the 'WoodGrain.rad'
and 'BrickRough.rad' files which should already be installed in the default Materials
folder. If you have changed this directory, simply copy these two files to the area you
now use.
2.

Select the box and assign it the 'BrickRough' material.


As mentioned previously, the box is grouped so you should only need to click on one
object to select the whole box. Once it is selected, open the Material Assignments
control panel on the right hand side of the main application window (the tab with the
checkered material swab) and select the BrickRough material, as shown below.

3.

Once again export the model to Radiance as you did in the very first step, this
time ensuring that the 'Check for Material.rad files' item is checked.
This item can be found in the Radiance Export dialog in the Material Definition group.

104

Checking this option instructs ECOTECT to check in either the same directory as the
ECOTECT model or the Export Materials directory for any files with the same name as
any materials in the model. We have assigned the box 'BrickRough', so ECOTECT will
look for a file called 'BrickRough.rad'. It understands that .rad is the prefix for Radiance
files whereas if you were exporting to VRML it would look for 'BrickRough.wrl', etc.
You should end up with an image similar to the following:

If you were to examine the Radiance scene file created by ECOTECT, you would find
that it has substituted the following for the definition of the BrickRough material:
4.
# <== [C:\Program Files\Square
One\Materials\BrickRough.rad]
5.
6.
void texfunc BrickRough_m1
7.
4 Xp Yp Zp brick1.cal
8.
0
9.
6 .020 .040 .230 .115 -0.7 0.7
10.
11.
BrickRough_m1 texfunc BrickRough_m2
12.
6 xwrink ywrink zwrink wrinkle.cal -s 0.1
13.
0
14.
3 0.05 0.05 0.15
15.
16.
BrickRough_m2 plastic BrickRough
17.
0
18.
0
19.
5 0.150 .075 .012 0 0.2
20.
21.
# ==>
It has simply inserted the contents of the 'BrickRough.rad' file diectly into the scene file. You
will notice that the material definition ends up defining it as 'BrickRough'. Thus, even though
the file system will recognise a material called 'brickrough' as matching 'BrickRough', the
Radiance render will fail as its material definitions are case-sensitive.
The code inside the file contains relatively straighforward Radiance instructions. For more
information on what they mean if you wish to edit and customise them, see the file
RadianceReferenceManual.pdf in the manuals folder in your Radiance directory.

105

Expe rim enting with Diffe ren t Va lues


1.

As a short exercise to reiterate what we have done, try assigning the box as
WoodGrain.
Perform the same steps as above, this time choosing the 'WoodGrain' material, just to
show how easy it is once you have a library of materials. You should end up with an
image similar to the following:

2.

If you are feeling experimental, save the ECOTECT model into your own home
directory (if you are on a lab or office machine) and copy the WoodGrain.rad file
to the same directory as you saved the model.

Open the local copy of the 'WoodGrain.rad' file in a text editor such as NotePad.
The file should look like the following. The numbers that you can change without having to
worry about anything are highlighted in red. For example, the number after the -s in the
second line is simply the scale of the randomised dirt function. The numbers at the very
bottom represent the red, green and blue colours of the base maarity and roughness value.
void brightfunc WoodGrain_b1
4 dirt dirt.cal -s 0.008
0
1 0.15
WoodGrain_b1 brightfunc WoodGrain_b2
4 zgrain woodpat.cal -s 0.016
0
1 0.55
WoodGrain_b2 texfunc WoodGrain_tex
6 xgrain_dx ygrain_dx zgrain_dx woodtex.cal -s 0.01
0
1 0.075
WoodGrain_tex plastic WoodGrain
0
0 5 0.35 0.3 0.15 0.005 0.025
The aim is simply to get a feel for how easy (or obscure depending on your perspective) it is
to achieve different effects with the different parameters.
Don't worry if you mess up this file as you can always copy the original back over the top of
it if you need to start over.

106

T HERMAL PERF ORMANCE- Intro duc tio n

L oad ing the Th erma l Mode l


The first step in this tutorial is to load a model file containing a Simple House. To learn how
to construct this model, you may want to attempt the Simple House tutorial before
proceeding.

1.

Open Thermal Intro.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install directory.
There are three zones in this simple model, the north room, south room and ceiling
space. We want to analyse all three so we must first ensure that they are all thermal
zones - meaning that they each represent a fully enclosed air space.

2.

To determine thermal zones, display the Zone Management panel on the right
side of the main window.
The images alongside each zone indicate its current state, whether it is
hidden/displayed, on/off, locked/unlocked, thermal/non-thermal and its colour, as
shown below. The red T indicates that each zone is thermal. If any zones in your
model (other than the Outside zone) is set as non-thermal, simply click the Left
Mouse button on the thermal indicator to turn it on.

To make some of the thermal graphs clearer, each zone is assigned a different
colour. If you are using your Simple House tutorial model, you may want to assign
similar colours to the three zones so you can follow the rest of this tutorial.

107

Ca lc u la tin g Inte rn a l Tempe ra tu res

1.

From the Calculate menu, select the Thermal Performance... item.


Before thermal calculations can be performed, some pre-processing needs to be
done on the model to determine inter-zonal adjacencies and overshadowing tables.
These are stored to disk as .ADJ and .SHD files with the same name as the model.
If the geometry of the model has changed, ECOTECT will prompt you to recalculate
these with the following message box.

2.

Click the OK button to recalculate inter-zonal adjacencies and


overshadowing.
During this calculation, objects in successive zones will highlight and small dots will
appear within some of these. These dots indicate that the object is overlapped by
another object on a different zone, an inter-zonal adjacency. ECOTECT uses the
resulting values to determine heat flow between zones at different temperatures and
hourly shading during incident radiation calculations.

When these calculations have finished, a blank graph will display as shown below.

108

3.

Select the Recalculate button.


ECOTECT will detect that no hourly climate data has yet been loaded and will
display the following message box. Simply select OK to display the file selection
dialog.

ECOTECT comes with a limited range number of WEA files, however you can use
the The Weather Tool application in the ECOTECT directory to read most weather
data file formats and create your own WEA files.

4.

Select the 'Australia - Perth WA - 1.WEA' climate data file from the Weather
Data folder located in the ECOTECT install directory.

5.

The displayed graph should now look something very similar to the following:

This graph displays the hourly temperature within each zone at the current date
(Monday the 1st of January). The dotted and dashed lines represent the climate
data on that day, as shown in the legend immediately below the graph, whilst the
solid coloured lines show internal environment temperatures.

109

6.

To change the date at which temperatures are calculated, drag the date slider
to the 1st of April.

If your computer is fast enough you can hold down the Control key as you drag the
slider to automatically update the graph. The size of the slider means that you may
not be able to drag directly to the 1st of April. If not, simply drag to a date that is
very close and then use the left or right arrow keys to select the right date.

7.

To highlight Zone 1, simply select it from the Highlight Zone section of the
dialog.

The temperature of the selected zone is shown as a double-width line. The red and
blue gradients in the graph indicate when the temperature of the zone is above or
below its designated comfort range. You can set comfort band values for each zone
in the Zone Management dialog box.
This graph shows that the internal environmental temperature in Zone 1 reaches
nearly 30C whilst the peak outdoor air temperature reaches only 23C. We really
need to track down where all that extra heat is coming from.

8.

To display the contribution of all the different sources of heat loss and gain
for the selected zone, choose Hourly Heat Gains/Losses in the Thermal
Calculation section and select the Recalculate button.

110

This graph shows the relative effect of each source of heat flow for each hour of the
day, as well as the resulting aggregate HVAC load if a mixed-mode, air-conditioning
or evaporative cooling system is used in the zone.
This can be very useful when trying to track down why a zone is behaving the way it
does. For example, this particular graph shows that the dominant load in Zone 1
throughout most of the day is actually the inter-zonal load (the light blue line). If you
look at the model, it is most likely that this is coming from the Roof Zone
immediately above, suggesting that the ceiling between the two is not sufficiently
insulated.

Cha ng in g Ma te ria ls in the Mode l


To try to reduce the inter-zonal gains in Zone 1, we are going to change the ceiling material
from PlasterCeiling to PlasterCeilingInsulated to see what effect this has.

1.

Close the Graphical Results dialog or click in the main application window to
bring it to the front.

2.

Click on the Material Assignments control tab and select CEILING from the
Element Type list (step 2 below).

3.

Select PlasterCeiling in the displayed primary materials list (step 3 below).

4.

Click on the Material Options button and choose the Select Primary Material
menu item (step 4 below).
This last step selects all objects in the model that have PlasterCeiling as their
primary material assignment.

The four objects include the two ground floor zone ceilings and the base of the two
roofs, as shown below.

111

We now need to change the primary material assignment of these objects to


PlasterCeilingInsulated.

5.

With the four objects still selected, click on the PlasterCeilingInsulated


material in the primary materials list (step 5 below).

6.

Select the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the control panel (step 6
below).

7.

Click back in the Graphical Results dialog box or, if you can't see it on the
screen, select the Thermal Performance... item in the Calculate menu again.

8.

Select the Recalculate button.


Because the geometry hasn't changed, only material assignments, inter-zonal
adjacencies don't have to be redone so the graph should be quite quick to update,
giving the following.

112

The effect of insulating the ceiling has been to reduce the peak inter-zonal gain from
close to 5000 Watts to less that 200 Watts. If you were interested, the next step
could be to shade the north window to reduce the direct solar gain, and then tackle
the indirect solar gains by shading the east and west walls or using a lightercoloured external finish - however that is an exercise for you to follow up at a later
time.

Sta tis tica l Ana lys is


In addition to temperatures and loads on specific days throughout the year, it is often useful
to statistically analyse the annual performance of a building. This means displaying how
often zones attain particular temperatures and the average daily distribution of losses and
gains.

1.

Select Temperature Distribution from the Thermal Calculation section of the


dialog box and click Recalculate.

After a short calculation time, this will display the following graph.

This shows temperature along the bottom axis and the number of hours per year
spent at each temperature in the vertical axis. This particular graph shows that the
roof zone (pink) regularly reaches temperatures above 30C and occasionally as
high as 44-46C. Zone 1 (light green) is generally warmer than the outside air
temperature (dashed blue), however regularly falls to 14C and sometimes as low
as 12C. Once again, the blue and red bands represent the boundaries of the

113

selected zone's comfort band.


It would be reasonable to assume that the lowest temperatures in Zone 1 occur late
at night or very early in the morning. This may not be too much of a problem as the
occupants would generally be asleep in bed at those times, with close-fitting drapes
with pelmets acting to reduce conduction losses through the window.
It is important, however, to try to achieve some internal heating in the mid-late
evening in winter to prevent the occupants relying on an active heat source. One
way to do this is to use exposed thermal mass in the walls to store the external heat
and solar radiation. If the thermal mass is thick enough, the time taken for this heat
to flow through can be up to 7 hours (thermal lag). This means that 7 hours after the
sun has fallen on the external surface, the internal surface starts to warm up.
We now want to check to see if this happens in Zone 1, given that it has CavityBrick
external walls.

2.

Select Fabric Gains from the Thermal Calculation section of the dialog box
and click Recalculate.

After a short calculation time, this will display the following graph. This graph shows
an average day each month, with months along the horizontal axis and hours of the
day along the vertical. The colour of each grid square represents the average gain
or loss.

This shows that heat gains from the building fabric, due to both external
temperatures and incident solar radiation, occur mainly from about 6pm to 11pm in
winter. It also shows that summer gains occur from about 2pm to midnight. This is
mainly because the sun rises earlier in summer and spends longer heating up the
east wall. This would suggest that some form of summer shading on the east side
may be required, but something that doesn't jeopardise morning winter gains.
Another important heat source, as we established earlier, is inter-zonal gains.

3.

Select Inter-Zonal Gains from the Thermal Calculation section of the dialog
box and click Recalculate.
This will display a similar graph, but now showing when inter-zonal gains occur
throughout the year.

114

This graph shows that inter-zonal heat gains occur at the worst possible time,
middle of the day in summer. We should really take steps to reduce this. Given that
we have already insulated the ceiling, the next option may be to use a different roof
material.

4.

Using the same technique as used when we changed the ceiling material,
change the roof material assignment from MetalDeck to ClayTiledRoof.
Note that each roof section is grouped together, so selecting one roof object selects
them all - including the PlasterCeilingInsulated base. You can either ungroup each
roof or use the same 'Select Primary Material' selection method we used before.

5.

Click back into the Graphical Results dialog and select Recalculate.
The effect of the clay tiles is to significantly reduce mid-day summer inter-zonal
gains whilst still maintaining some useful mid-day heating in winter.

You can isolate each source of heat flow this way. As you can see, the aim is to
gradually optimise the performance of each zone by selecting and testing various
materials and even different planning configurations.
Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules for thermal design that will always
guarantee the right result. There will always be some aspects of the design that you
don't have complete control over, such as climate, available materials and building
use. You should use the thermal analysis functions in ECOTECT to at least make
best use of what you can control.

115

ACOUST ICS - Rev erberation T ime

Sta tis tica l Rev erbe ra tio n


As discussed in the Sound Behaviour topic on the Square One website, reverberation time
(RT) is the simplest and most commonly used objective measure of the acoustic
performance of a space. It is defined as the time taken for the sound level of a steady
source to drop by 60dB after it is abruptly turned off and is given as a value in seconds.
The RT is basically a ratio of the weighted sound absorption coefficients of materials within
a space to its volume. The quickest method of calculation is simply to weight each material
by its surface area - which is known as a statistical RT. This method takes no real account
of the actual geometry of a space, just the materials within it and an overall form factor.
However, it is usually a good predictor and is very widely used.
An alternate method is to actually trace many thousands of acoustic rays randomly sprayed
within the space and then to weight each surface by the number of ray intersections. This
method usually produces different results to the statistical method as it focusses on the
more acoustically significant surfaces and ignores those the sound can't actually get to.
As is usual with these things, the performance of the real room is likely to be somewhere
between these two extremes. In this tutorial we are going to look at both calculations and
modify some materials within a space. It is assumed here that you have already been
through at least the introductory tutorials and are reasonably familar with the ECOTECT
interface.

L oad ing the Examp le Mo de l

1.

First open the ReverberationTime.eco model from the Tutorial Files folder
located in your main ECOTECT Install directory.
The zone we are interested in here is called MainSpace. You will notice that it is a
thermally complete zone, meaning that its envelope is entirely defined and that
planes or surfaces do not project outside the space in any way.
This zone represents a small lecture room with concrete walls, a partially exposed
concrete ceiling and a timber-clad concrete floor slab. The only real absorption in
the room comes from a plywood panel bulkhead running the length of the room.

116

2.

Now select the Statistical Reverberation... item in the Calculate menu.


This will prompt you to calculate interzonal adjacencies. This is a necessary step as
it allows ECOTECT to pre-process your model, checking plane equations, surface
areas and looking for adjacencies between zones. The prompt should look like the
following:

Usually this calculation is very quick, however it is the overshadowing analysis that
really takes the time. As we are not going to use this model for thermal analysis yet,
we can simply turn off shading calculations.

3.

Click the Settings... button in the prompt.


This will display the Inter-zonal adjacencies dialog box. We basically need to select
the None option in the Overshadowing Accuracy selector, as shown below.

4.

After selecting None, click the OK button.


This will display the Graphical Results dialog box. You will notice from the settings
section immediately below graph that the volume of the zone has been already
calculated at 333.6m and that it has been assigned 35 cloth-covered seats, which
are currently 80% occupied.

117

From this information, recommended reverberation times for speech and music can
be derived. This is shown as a faint blue band running the full width of the graph.
The RT graph of the MainSpace shows values for each of the 9 octave bands that
represent the Ear's hearing range. The coloured lines represent three different
equations for performing the statistical calculation, denoted as Sabine, MillingtonSette and Norris-Eyring (see the Sound Behaviour topic for more details). The bold
line, in this case the blue Sabine, represents the equation whose results will be
stored within the zone's RT array.

You will notice that the RT for speech frequencies (500Hz - 4kHz) are well above
that recomended for speech, being closer to the upper limit recommended for
music. The longer RT values are also biased towards the lower frequencies. Sound
recording engineers would refer to such a room as 'boomy' or having a lot of 'bottom
end'. This in itself may not be a problem as speech does not contain too many low
frequencies, however recorded material such as a video may have, so we should
really know how often such material may be used before we can assess it as a
problem.
However, at speech frequencies the recommended RT for speech is around 0.70.8sec whereas the room currently has an RT at these freqencies of 1.2-1.4 sec,
almost double.

Ad justing th e RT
We can adjust the RT of any space by simply changing the materials assigned to any of its
surfaces. As an obvious first experiment, we are going to play with the material assigned to
the area of dropped ceiling running through the centre of the room.

1.

Click inside the main application window and then select the three objects
indicated in red below.

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You will note that they are currently assigned the PlywoodPanel material. To
compare, we are going to assign them as SuspendedAbsorber and see what
changes that makes to the RT graph.

2.

Once the three objects are selected, click on the SuspendedAbsorber material
in the Material Assignments panel and then click the Apply button at the
bottom of the panel.

These are two quite different materials. The PlywoodPanel is relatively rigid but
without significant mass. Thus it allows low frequencies to pass pretty much straight
through creating an enclosed space within the ceiling that acts like a bass trap. Midto-high frequencies are reflected back into the space with relatively little absorption.
The SuspendedAbsorber material on the other hand contains thick fibrous material
with significant mid-high frequency absorption, as shown in the comparative
animation immediately below.

You can view these graphs by double-clicking on the material in the Material
Assignments panel to display the Element Properties dialog, and then choosing the
Acoustic Data tab.

3.

Next return to the Graphical Results dialog and click the Recalculate button.
This should display the following graph.

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As you can see, this has significantly reduced the RT in the mid frequencies,
basically the speech band - perhaps a little too much as it is now a little below the
recommended RT for a space with that volume. Unfortunately, acoustic design is
never as cut and dried as this. It may be that the potential occupiers of the space
would prefer it a little 'dry'.

Simp le Exe rc is e
As a simply exercsie, you should try to reduce the low frequency RT of the space. There
are really very few materials that absorb low frequency sound. However, the ECOTECT
Help File contains lists of the absorption coefficients of a wide range of different materials
and absorbers. To access this list, simply open the Element Properties dialog and click the
Help... button, or navigate within the help file to Modelling > Material Assignments >
Material Data page.
You can add absorber to the space by either assigning it to an existing surface or by adding
moveable partitions, which can be removed or adjucted to control the overall response.

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ACOUST ICS - Des ign ing Acous tic Reflectors

L oad ing the Reflector Mod e l


This tutorial looks at the analysis of acoustic reflectors. The design of reflectors is greatly
assisted by being able to interactively manipulate objects in the model and automatically
see the effect on reflected acoustic rays.
1.

Open the SimpleTheatre.eco file from the Tutorial Files directory located in your
main ECOTECT Install directory.
There are three zones in this model, the default Outside zone, the Main Hall geometry
and the Speaker above the stage.

2.

To make sense of the acoustic rays, we want to view the model from front view.
To do this select "Front" from the View menu or press the F7 function key.

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Sp ra ying L ink ed Aco ustic Ra ys


These are called linked rays as they are 'linked' to the current sound source and the
geometry of the enclosure.
1.

Select the Linked Acoustic Rays... item from the Calculate menu.
This will display the following dialog box.

As we are looking in front view, the most important thing is to ensure that the Rotation
setting is 90 degrees. This distributes rays around a vertical disk. Other than that, you
can see that rays will be sprayed around a full 360 degrees in 1 degree increments and
with 2 bounces.
Once you are satisfied that the values in your dialog box are the same as shown above,
select the OK button. A series of rays will be displayed within the theatre as shown
below.

Such a mess of sprayed rays isn't really useful in determining how specific reflectors are
working. We really need to restrict rays to the objects we are interested in.

T agg ing Ac ous tic Re fle cto rs


1.

In order to tag specific object as acoustic reflectors, we need to select them.


Using drag selection, click and drag a selection rectangle as shown below.

This will select only the ceiling objects. You will have to be a bit careful not to include
objects that you don't want so you may need to try this several times.

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We next want to add in the main reflector above the stage. To add to the current
selection set, simply hold down the Shift key and click-select the reflector indicated in
the image below.

2.

To tag the selected objects as acoustic reflectors, select the Assign As >
Acoustic Reflector item in the Modify menu.

You can also do this using the Tag Object(s) As group in the Rays & Particles panel.

Res tricting Ra ys to Aco ustic Re flec to rs


1.

To restrict reflections to the recently tagged surfaces, select the Linked Acoustic
Rays... item from the Calculate menu again to redisplay the Spray Rays dialog.

2.

Ensure that the Only Test Acoustic Reflectors option is checked as shown below
and select the OK button.

The rays should now redraw themselves displaying only those that reflected off the

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tagged objects.

Test rays are still generated over full 360 degree arc, however only rays that first hit
reflectors will be tested further and drawn. This allows you to move the source around
anywhere you want and automatically update the rays.
3.

To demonstrate this, select the sound source above the stage by click-selecting
it.

4.

Make sure this is the only object selected and then press the Shift and the X key
to nudge it towards the left.
As you nudge the source you should see the reflections automatically update. you can
use the X key by itself to move the source back towards the right.

You should notice that the coverage the reflector provides of the lower audience and
upper stalls area changes significantly as the source moves. This is an indication that its
effect will be significantly different depending on where different speakers are on the
stage.
In most cases this will be undesirable as the reflector will serve mainly the lower
audience when source is closest to the front of the stage and the upper rear stalls as
the source moves away. When the source is closest to the front of the stage, the lower
audience are the ones that least need the reflection as they are closest to the source
itself.
It is obvious therefore that the reflector needs some optimisation.
5.

Just as you can update rays by moving the source, you can also update rays by
moving the reflector.
It is beyond the scope of this tutorial to describe the optimum location and angle of this
reflector (mainly as this is used as an exercise in the on-line notes) however you may
quickly investigate by selecting the main reflector and nudging it downwards. You can
also rotate it using the interactive transformation techniques you learnt in the Modelling
tutorials and then nudge it backwards a little.
The animation immediately below shows the how this might look.

124

At this stage you may want to investigate the effect of the reflector on rays in planes
other than a vertical cross-section. You can do this quite simply by entering node mode
and changing the direction of the source vector (dragging the arrow to point where you
want it to point. This can be quite useful, however linked rays can only ever give you a
sectional view of what is happening.
If you want a more comprehensive view of the effects of the reflector in 3D, use the
acoustic rays and particles features of ECOTECT.

Sp ra ying Aco ustic Pa rtic les


Whilst acoustic rays and particles provide a great deal of analysis potential, we are going to
concentrate on the effects of the main reflector above the stage.
1.

The first step is to make sure that only the main reflector is selected and to tag
that as the only acoustic reflector.

2.

Make sure that the Rays and Particles panel is visible in the right hand control
panel section by clicking the

tab.

As mentioned earlier, you can assign objects as acoustic reflectors in the Rays &
Particles panel as well as via the main menu. In this case, simply click the Reflector
button.

3.

The next step is to generate acoustic rays that travel towards the reflector. To do
this, make sure the settings in the Generate Rays group are the same as those
shown below and then hit the Generate Rays button.

4.

Depending on you current display setting, the rays will then be displayed in the
Model Canvas.
To view them as animated particles, select the Animated Rays radio button in the
Display Settings group and then press the Play button in the Animation group
immediately below it. This should display something similar to the following:

125

Depending on the speed of your computer you can speed up or slow down the
animation by setting a different frame increment value in the Animation group. For
more information on these setting as and the meaning of the particle colour coding, see
the Rays & Particles topic in the The User Interface > Panels section of the main help
file.
What we are really interested in is the coverage of this reflector onto other objects in the
scene.

Dis p la ying Re fle cto r Cov erage


1.

Select the Reflector Coverage radio button in the Display Settings group.

This will display all the first-order reflection points off the specified surface, as shown
below.

This gives a good indication or which parts of the auditorium are receiving first-order

126

reflections, however the random nature of the rays does not clearly show the relative
distribution. We can overcome this by using evenly distributed rays.
2.

To generate evenly distributed rays, change the Generate Rays settings to those
shown immediately below.

Note that for reflector coverage we only really need one reflection bounce. However, we
are using a 1 degree angular increment which is quite fine so we don't want the
overhead of 16 reflections. We may want the to see where the reflections go later on so
we are going to choose 4 bounces.
Also, as we are no longer targeting reflectors in the distribution method, we need to
make sure the Only Test Reflector option is checked to restrict the first bounce to
tagged reflectors.
When you click the Generate Rays button, you will see the following distribution after a
short calculation time.

The even distribution of rays clearly shows any dispersal of the sound energy as it
propagates. Each ray represents an equal angle so the dispersal of energy is directly
equivalent to the density on incident ray over each surface. In this case the flat reflector
produces a relatively even distribution.
If you are interested you can now move the sound source or the reflector. As rays and
particles take some time to generate you will have to manually select the Generate
Rays button whenever you wish to display the effects of your changes.

127

ACOUST IC ANAL YSIS - Des ign ing Raked Aud ie nce Sea tin g

Creating Cons truction L in es


In this tutorial you will work through the process of creating a simple raked audienceseating
area.

1.

Open Raked Seating.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your
main ECOTECT Install directory.
There are three zones in this model; Auditorium, Construction Lines, and the default
Outside zone.

2.

Firstly we need to create a vertical construction line (about 5000mm high) at


the front of the stage in the middle.
To do this, make sure the Construction Lines zone is current. Then using the Line
tool, snap to the Mid-point of the base of the stage at the front.
Left click to insert the first node, then with the Control key pressed down
(constrains the cursor to the Z axis only) drag the mouse upwards until a height of
around 5000 is reached.
Left click again to accept the second node, then hit the Escape key to finish the
line.

128

3.

Now that we have the first vertical construction line we can array them in the
X direction, with a gap of around 1000mm, to mark the distance between the
rows of seating.
The easiest way to do this is to use the Object Transformation panel.
Make sure the vertical line is selected, then enter values similar
to the ones shown to the left.
Once entered, click the Apply button.
The final array should produce one row of 17 vertical lines.

4.

Next draw a line between the start of the sound source and the bottom of the
10th line. This is best done in Front view (F7).
This line is going to be the basis of our equal-sight-angle lines.
We're using the 10th row back as the starting point for our rake, as the front seats
will have good sight lines anyway.

5.

Now, extend the line just created and the rear-most vertical line so that they
meet .
Select both the lines, then from the Modify menu choose the Intersect Two Lines
item.

129

6.

Finally you need to rotate the angled line by 1 about the speaker point.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to; select the line, then select the Object
Transformation panel. From the panel choose the Rotate - Axis from the
Transform Type pull-down list, enter a Y Angle of 1 and an array quantity of about
20, then click the Create Array button.

Sta rting th e Seating Pro file

1.

The next step is to zoom in to the first set of intersection points between the
two sets of lines, and start tracing a new line where they intersect.
Make sure snaps are set to Intersections, and that the Auditorium zone is current.
As this line is the start of the seating profile it needs to be on a zone other than
Construction Lines.

2.

Continue this line through each of the vertical lines, all the way to the back of
the audience plane.

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3.

Zoom out (Ctrl + F) and turn off the Construction Lines zone.
The seating profile should look similar to the one shown below.

Creating Horizon ta l Steps

1.

Zoom in on first raised node on the seating profile, double-click the line (Node
mode) and select the first raised node.
If the height of this node is less than 100mm then it needs to be dropped down to Z
= 0, as it's not high enough to make a full step from.

The easiest way to do this, is to enter 0 in the Z Position of the Selection


Information panel, then click the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the panel.

2.

Moving onto the next node... Still in Node mode, select the Add Node
button.
With Align snaps on (and preferably most of the other snaps off), left click the
segment between the last node and the first raised node. Align the new node in the
X and Y axis (as shown below), and left click again to accept the new nodes
position.

3.

Continue on adding and aligning new nodes, until the entire seating profile is
modified from curved to stepped.
The final curve should look like the one shown below. Given the step size towards
the rear, you will probably have to model some additional steps in the aisles later
on.

4.

Before going on to the next section, double check the steps in perspective
view.

131

If your line looks like the one shown above, you will need to shift the new nodes inline with the old.
Again, the easiest way to do this is to select the nodes and use the Selection
Information panel, and enter 4500 in the Y Position input box, as you did in step 1
of this section. Don't forget to click the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the
panel.

Extru d ing a L in e
Now that we have created the steps, we need to extrude them the full width of the
auditorium.

1.

With the line still selected and in Object mode, type 9000 in the Y Extrusion
Vector box of the Selection Information panel. Then click the Apply Changes
button at the bottom of the panel.

2.

With the original object (now the parent object to all the extruded planes) still
selected, use the Move
tool to move the seating so that it lines up with
the edge of the floor plane, -4500 in the Y axis.

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Cutting a nd Sha p in g the Sea tin g


It may not be desirable to have a rectangular seating area. In which case you can use a
cutting plane to trim / extend the seating any way you want. As an example, we are going to
cut it at an angle to the stage.

1.

In Plan view, draw a Partition


, from the speaker source point towards the
rear of the seating at an angle of about 20.

2.

Assign the partition as a Cutting Plane (Ctrl+Q). A small arrow should appear
in the centre of the object.
Deselect the partition and instead select all of the seating planes.

Once the seats are selected, press Ctrl+E to extend the selection to the Cutting
Plane.

3.

After one side has been extended, the same needs to be done for the other
side.
Either mirror the existing Cutting Plane about the centre, or create a new plane at 20. Then repeat step 2, and when finished delete the one / two partition objects.

133

The final seating should look similar to the image shown below.

134

Cos t & Env iro nmen ta l Im pact

L oad ing the Cost Ana lys is Mode l


The first step in this tutorial is to load a model file which contains some cost and
environmental impact data. The model is based on that in the Simple House tutorial.
Material costs are relatively simple to input as the data is readily available to most
practices. Greenhouse gas and embodied energy data on the other hand, is always difficult
to find and is very location specific. In the future, however, this kind of data will become
available as it is as important a design consideration as economic cost.

Important Note:
The cost and environmental data used in this example is not accurate and is used for
demonstration purposes only.

1.

Open Cost Analysis.eco from the Tutorial Files directory located in your
main ECOTECT Install directory.
There are three zones in this simple model, the north room, south room and ceiling
space. Most of the materials in the model have been assigned cost and
environmental impact values in the Material Properties dialog box.

Ca lc u la tin g Ma te ria l Costs

135

1.

From the Calculate menu, select the Material Costs... item.


Before cost analysis can be performed, some pre-processing needs to be done on
the model to determine inter-zonal adjacencies. These are stored to disk in a .ADJ
file with the same name as the model. If the geometry of the model has changed,
ECOTECT will prompt you to recalculate these with the following message box.

2.

Click the OK button to recalculate inter-zonal adjacencies and


overshadowing.
During this calculation, objects in successive zones will highlight and small dots will
appear within some of these. These dots indicate that the object is overlapped by
another object on a different zone, an inter-zonal adjacency. ECOTECT uses the
resulting values to determine how much of a material to apportion to each zone.

When these calculations have finished, a blank graph will display as shown below.

136

3.

Click the Recalculate button.


This will display the following fabric cost graph.

This pie chart shows the total cost of all components as well as the relative cost of
each building element.

4.

To display individual material totals, click the

button.

Whilst the graph will not change, the contents of the text list will now show a full list
of all the materials used in the model along with a range of cost-related values, as
shown below.

137

Ca lc u la tin g Env iro nmen ta l Im pacts

1.

Choose the Greenhouse Gas item from the Cost Type selector and click the
Recalculate button.
A range of other energy and greenhouse related items can also be selected.

This displays the following graph, similar to the fabric costs but with a different ratio
representing the different contributions.

This tutorial is intended as a quick-start guide to get you up and running. You will
probably now have to update the cost data in your material library to reflect local
conditions. Whilst this will at first sound a bit daunting, there are probably less that
20 base materials that your practice regularly uses. At conceptual design stage you
are rarely specifying the floor tiles or surface finishes. It is therefore much easier to
start off with a basic set of commonly used materials - to make sure you are at least
remaining somewhere close to the budget - and then add new materials and their
true costs as decisions are made during the gradual refinement of the model.

138

Conv erting W eathe r Data with T he W eathe r T oo l

In trod uction
All distributions of ECOTECT include a version of The Weather Tool, a program that allows
you to analyse and convert weather data for use in many of the analysis routines.
Unfortunately, accurate and comprehensive weather data is often difficult to obtain. Even
when purchased in electronic form from official meteorological offices it can be incomplete
and in the strangest of formats. To assist with this, The Weather Tool recognises a wide
range of known file formats and even lets you tailor your own to match almost any ASCII
format imaginable. A list of the automatically recognised formats is as follows:

TMY Climate Data (TMY)

TMY2 Climate Data (TM2)

TRNSYS TMY Variant (TRY)

Aus. BOM Hourly Data (LST)

CSIRO Weather Data (DAT)

NatHERS Climate Data

ASHRAE WYEC2 Data

The Weather Tool v1.10

For weather data to be useful in the analysis routines in ECOTECT, you really need a full
year worth of hourly weather data. This cannot be monthly averages or even daily ranges,
but actual data recordings for every hour of the day. The data required includes:

139

Air Temperature

Relative Humidity

Global or Direct Solar Radiation

Diffuse Horizontal Solar Radiation

Wind speed

It is also desirable but not essential to include:

Wind direction

Cloudiness

Rainfall

The main source of localised weather data is always going to be the local government
weather station or the closest airport. We have tried to provide a range of data on the
Square One website, however it is impossible to collect data for all the major population
centres let alone smaller towns and cities. In case you do need to convert your own data,
this tutorial runs you through the process using the two different types of data format.

Im po rting F ix ed Fo rma t Data


Fixed format weather data refers to files in which particular parts of the data occupy specific
columns in each line. Such formats are common where the Fortran programming language
has been used. In these files the columns refer to characters along each line and each field
is always of a fixed length.
In this tutorial we are going to use some example fixed format ASCII data which The
Weather Tool does not automatically recognise. The files you need should all be in Tutorial
Files folder in the ECOTECT installation directory, however you can also obtain them as a
zipped archive by clicking here.

1.

To begin, open the Weather Data Fixed Format ReadMe.txt file in the Tutorial
Files folder in the ECOTECT installation directory. You can do this in Notepad
or by simply double-clicking it in Windows Explorer.

140

You will usually get either a text file like this one included with any custom weather
data to explain what the values in the file are and their units.

2.

With this file still open, run The Weather Tool

3.

Click the Open

button.

In the Open Data File dialog box, change the Files of Type to Fixed Format
Weather Files, then navigate to the Tutorial Files directory located in your main
ECOTECT Install and open the Weather Data Fixed Format.dat file. The following
dialog box will be displayed.

The reason for choosing Fixed Format Weather Files is because the format of the
data is determined by a fixed set of columns. That is, each value (regardless of
whether the data is complete or not) will always start in a fixed column.

141

4.

With the dialog box shown above open, you now need to go through each set
of values and specify what they are and their units.
This is where the "Weather Data Fixed Format ReadMe.txt" file comes in, as you
will need to refer to it for what each set of values are.

5.

Starting with the Month of the Year, make sure it's checkbox is ticked then left
click and drag across columns 2 and 3 in the table above.
As the columns in The Weather Tool begin at 0 instead of 1, you have to
consciously subtract 1 from the character indexes in the description.
You should also notice that the entire 2nd and 3rd columns become highlighted
when you release the mouse button. With these selected click the Assign button, to
assign the 2nd and 3rd columns to the Month of the Year field.
Continue doing this for each successive data component.

6.

You can see that the first month value in the file is '1'. Thus you need to leftclick in the Units column and select the 'Start at 1' option.

7.

When you get to Dry Bulb Temperature, you will notice that the text file states
the columns run from 9 to 13, but there is only numbers in 10 to 12.
Quite often data will be slightly mismatched or inconsistent. If this is the case you
will need to exercise a bit of judgement as to which is correct (this may involve
several attempts at importing).
In this instance choose columns 10 to 12 anyway.

8.

Once the columns have been assigned it is important to specify the correct
units.
In this instance the value for Dry Bulb Temperature has three
characters/components and the "Readme.txt" file says their units are in C.
The Weather Tool uses SI unit, therefore the Celsius is ok, we just need to reduce
the value by one decimal point. You can always tell what units The Weather Tool is
going to convert to as they are written next to the name of each component, in this
case (C).

9.

To change the scale for Dry Bulb Temperature, left click the units cell next to
Dry Bulb Temperature. Then choose the Custom... item from the list.
In the Custom Units Conversion dialog box, type in a value of 0.1

142

This specifies that the Dry Bulb Temperature component must be multiplied by a
value of 0.1 to give in degrees, resulting in a temperature of 19.0C rather than
190C for example.

10. Continue specifying columns for each of the data components based on the
information in the "Weather Data Fixed Format ReadMe.txt" file.
The dialog box should eventually look similar to the image below.

You will notice in this set of data there is no rainfall component. When a particular
component doesn't exist in the data then you just need to make sure that it's check
box is not ticked.

11. Once all the columns and units have been defined, click the Import File
button.
Once imported, select the Hourly Data button on the left of the left panels. This
should display something similar to the following:

143

You can now save this data as a WEA file and load it into ECOTECT for use in the
thermal and solar analysis of your models. You can also use the data analysis and
visualisation features of The Weather Tool to gain a real understanding of what is
going on in that climate.

Im po rting Se pa rate d Va lu e Data


Separated Value Files contain data in which the individual components are
separated on each line by a specific character - either a coma, space, semi-colon or
tab. As such, the field length can vary without affecting the readability of the file.
This requires a substantially different importing method that fixed format data.
As an example, we are going to use data exported from the Meteonorm program
available from METEOTEST in Switzerland. This is a commercial program that
contains an extensive database of world climate data from which it can interpolate
average data for any location.

Im po rting Mete ono rm Data in to The W ea the r Too l

1.

The first step is to set up Meteonorm to export hourly output in you own
custom format.
Unless you own Meteonorm, a description of exactly how to do this would be quite
pointless. If you do own the software, then it's pretty obvious how to do this using
the Output Format item in the Format menu and choosing User Defined. This will
display the following dialog box.
The main point is that you need to know what each data field is and the units it is in
before you can import it. Whilst you can use some trial and error, it is usually
possible to trace the original data source and obtain the actual data format. We are
using Meteonorm in this example so you can clearly see where the original data
format came from.

144

If you are using Meteonorm, set up the output format and user defined units as
shown above and then generate and save an hourly data. Some example output is
included in the ECOTECT Tutorials folder as "Meteonorm.dat".

2.

Run The Weather Tool and then click the Open

button.

In the File Open dialog box, set the type of file to Separated Data File and select the
Meteonorm.dat file in the ECOTECT Tutorials folder. This will display the
following dialog box.

145

You may need to check that they look the same in order to verify your output units.

3.

Start at the top of the list and drag Hour of the Day (1-24) from the left hand
list into the Column Value list.
You can also do this by selecting any value in the left list and choosing the Add>>
button, but dragging allows you to see where in the list the item will be inserted. If
you wish to overwrite a value instead of inserting, simply hold the Control key down
as you drag.

4.

After adding the first value, you have to set its units. You can see from the file
that the first hour is given a value if '1'. Thus, you have to left-click in the
Units column and choose the 'Start at 1' option.

5.

Continue dragging and setting the units of each field until your dialog box looks like
the following. Note that the Global Radiation value is ignored. If you do not put in
this field, the diffuse will become global, wind speed will be come diffuse, etc...

146

The other issue to note is the type of separator characters to use. By default, a
range of characters are shown, meaning that fields can be separated by either a
coma, a semi-colon, a vertical bar, a full colon, a tab character (shown as a solid
block) and a space (invisible in the text field but there at the end. In most cases
leaving these characters as is will be fine - in our case we selected a coma in the
Meteonorm output so we are ok too.
However, if your data contains colons in a time value for example, you probably
don't want those values considered as two separate fields so you can simply delete
the colon character from the separator Characters edit box in the dialog.

6.

Once you added and ordered the fields as above, you can save these settings
for use later.
To do this simply select the Save button at the bottom-right of the dialog, select your
own user directory in the File Save dialog that appears and create a new file called
"Weather Data Tutorial.ccf", or whatever name you feel is appropriate.

7.

Once saved, select the Import File button at the bottom of the dialog box to
import the data.
If you have selected the HOURLY DATA button on the left of the main application
window, you should see something very similar to the following.
You can now save this data as a WEA file and load it into ECOTECT for use in the
thermal and solar analysis of your models. You can also use the data analysis and
visualisation features of The Weather Tool to gain a real understanding of what is
going on in that climate.

147

148

Ou tpu t from ECOT ECT

In trod uction
Printing from ECOTECT is not the most ideal way of achieving output, and was not
intended as a way of generating output. In this regard it is very different to most CAD
programs.
The best way to achieve printed output is to copy images to the clipboard and use other
desktop publishing applications to print. In this way you have two options with ECOTECT,
either bitmaps or metafiles.
Bitmaps
A bitmap is a another name for a raster (pixels or dot based) graphic. In Windows, these
are typically saved in a BMP file. However other common bitmap formats include PC
Paintbrush (PCX), Tagged-Image File Format (TIF), Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)
and JPEG. This is not particularly relevant to ECOTECT though, because ECOTECT saves
straight to the clipboard for the bitmap to be transferred to another application rather than
saved as a file.
What is important with regard to storing bitmaps from ECOTECT, is that they can never
have a greater resolution than the computer screen. This is because the bitmap saves
straight from the screen which is at 72 DPI (dots per inch). In this way, the higher the
screen resolution the more information will be stored by the bitmap.
Bitmaps from ECOTECT are good for publications that will remain electronic such as, web
pages or low resolution PDF files. But if you want a good quality print then metafiles are
preferred.
Metafiles
A metafile is a list of commands that can be played back to draw a graphic. Typically, a
metafile is made up of commands to draw objects such as lines, polygons and text and
commands to control the style of these objects. Some people equate metafiles with vector
graphics. In most cases this is fine; but, strictly speaking, a metafile can contain any mix of
vector and raster graphics. For our situation we will consider a metafile to be a kind of
vector graphic.
The reason metafiles are so good as a means of output from ECOTECT, is because:

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as they are vector, they can be stretched and scaled without losing quality

the print quality is very good

and, almost all windows based applications will recognise metafiles

Sto ring a Bitmap

1.

To output a bitmap, in the ECOTECT drawing canvas (or any graph/analysis


window) click the Copy View

icon (or hit the Ctrl+B keys).

If you used the icon, a small menu will appear. Choose the bitmap option.

A bitmap of the current display is now copied to the clipboard. It is now possible to
paste this into another desktop publishing program.

2.

Try pasting the bitmap into a blank word document.


After opening word, hit the Ctrl+V keys to paste the metafile. The image looks
exactly the same as the current display from ECOTECT but without the surrounding
menu items etc.

3.

Try scaling the object by click and dragging one of the corner handles on the
image to increase it's size.
You should notice that when the image gets quite large the quality of the image
deteriorates quite noticeably. If you were to print a bitmap at a large scale the
quality would be very poor.

Sto ring a Me tafile

1.

To output a metafile, in the ECOTECT drawing canvas (or any graph/analysis


window) click the Copy View

icon (or hit the Ctrl+M keys).

If you used the icon, a small menu will appear. Choose the metafile option.

A metafile of the current display is now copied to the clipboard. It is now possible to
paste this into another desktop publishing program.

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2.

Try pasting the metafile into a blank word document.


After opening word, hit the Ctrl+V keys to paste the metafile. You will notice that the
image is actually black lines on a white background. This is because ECOTECT has
assumed that when you go to print you will want to print black on white.

3.

Try scaling the object by click and dragging one of the corner handles on the
image to increase it's size.
You should notice that even if you make the image quite large the quality of the
image does not deteriorate the way a bitmap would.

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SQUARE ONE research

PTY LTD
The primary focus of Square One research is to promote and support the energy
efficient and environmental design of buildings. Our work to date has included the
development of a range of interactive software for building designers as well as a
range of consulting and research projects.
Square One research is an Australian company, with a research office located in
Cardiff in the United Kingdom and the main management / administration office
located in Perth, Western Australia.When contacting us for sales, admin or support,
please use the details listed below.

Company Contact Details

Mail To:

Fax: +61 (0) 8 9300 8666

SQUARE ONE research PTY LTD


PO Box 1003 Joondalup

E-mail: sales@squ1.com

WA 6919 Australia

Web: http://www.squ1.com

support@squ1.com

Dr. Andrew Marsh PhD, B. Arch. (Hon)


Andrew is a graduate architect who
specialises in the computer simulation of
building performance, working as an
environmental consultant, researcher and
lecturer. Andrew's main passion is writing
software. He is responsible for all the
architectural science and design software
here, as well as all the course notes and
PHP/SQL programming that drives this
site.

Caroline Raines B. Arch. (Hon), B. Env. Des.


Caroline is also a graduate architect and is
responsible for the overall graphic style of
both this site and the Square One
software range. As well as this, she has
spent many hours creating help files and
tutorials for ECOTECT, and most of the
images and interactive Flash applets on
the square one (www.squ1.com) web
site.

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