This blog introduces the basic idea of how the technology preview of the Autonomous HVAC CFD works, how to navigate through the interface and its capabilities.
The Autonomous HVAC CFD (AHC) is a fully autonomous cloud-based CFD simulation web app developed for HVAC Engineers, HVAC consultants, and property owners to help them evaluate the performance of their HVAC systems, without having any knowledge of CFD. We have launched the Technology Preview of the app to give the users an idea of how the user-interface and experience of using the final app is going to be.
AHC performs CFD simulations to evaluate occupant thermal comfort inside the building spaces. The app provides thermal comfort indices such as Predicted Mean Vote (PMV), Percentage of People Dissatisfied (PPD), etc. The app only needs the Building Information Model (BIM) of the indoor space, location of the building, details about the HVAC system in use and information about the occupant density as input. The complete process involved in performing the CFD simulations is automated.
High-performance cloud computing is used to perform the CFD simulations. Once the simulations are complete, the users get access to an array of qualitative results provided by the app. It also generates a ready-to-use PDF report. The report includes all setup information, occupant thermal comfort result summary, and more detailed CFD results.
To know more about the idea and philosophy of the app, go through this fascinating blog. Now let’s dive into the details of how to run your first HVAC CFD simulation in this technology preview.
Here is a short demo video on How to create a project in Autonomous HVAC CFD Technology Preview and exploring the results section.
The basic workflow of the app includes 5 major steps:
Simulation Setup Stage
Create a New Simulation Project
To create a new project, click the CREATE SIMULATION button on your Dashboard. You will see a Create New Simulation pop-up.
Provide a title and description in the given fields.
Click the CREATE button. This will create a new simulation with the provided details and open the 3D viewer for further setup.
The first step involved in the simulation setup is to upload the BIM model. In the Technology Preview, we have provided a demo office model that you can readily upload in the app.
Once a new simulation is created, you will be directed to the Building Design Model section.
On the right-hand panel, under the Upload CAD Model section, click the Browse button. This will open an Upload Design Model dialog box. Here, you can see the information on the demo office model available in the preview.
Click on Upload to load this model.
Location and Weather Selection
The next step involves providing location and weather information of the building area. This helps the Autonomous HVAC CFD app to choose accurate weather conditions for the simulation setup stage.
In the Technology Preview, we have chosen New York as the default city and the weather conditions for the same are chosen. On the right-hand panel, you can see the information about the location and its weather conditions.
Building Orientation and Solar Loading Conditions
Choosing the correct building orientation is essential as it determines the solar load entering the indoor space. In the Technology Preview, a preview of how this stage would look in the final app is demonstrated. Users can select the building orientation and mention the date and time for winter & summer conditions.
The zone selection stage facilitates users to zone the different spaces in their designs based on the thermal comfort requirements and type of HVAC system in use. Here, we have provided you with a sample zoning of the demo office model.
Air Side System Selection
This stage facilitates the user to choose the airside system from the list of systems given below :
Constant Air Volume (CAV)
Plaque Diffuser System
Swirl Diffuser System
Variable Air Volume System (VAV)
Plaque Diffuser System
Swirl Diffuser System
Underfloor Air Flow Distribution System (UFAD)
The next major step after the project setup is the Design stage. In this stage, the users have to provide essential information about the Air Side systems in use. In the technology preview, the users can see all the air side systems selected in the previous stage.
On the left-hand panel, users can choose between different rooms and have a look at the type of diffuser in use. Same can be done for any Air Side System.
The left-hand panel also shows information about the Diffuser in use. Click on Animate Diffuser Flow to see an animation of the airflow.
The right-hand panel has information about the Airflow, Temperature, and Humidity of the air entering from the diffusers. In the current version, the simulations will run on the default values as mentioned in the right-hand panel.
Scenarios setting is the stage which allows users to set up thermal load and weather conditions for which the HVAC systems are to be evaluated. In the current technology preview, you can create multiple scenarios based on Occupant Density and Weather Conditions.
Click on the button on the 3D Viewer. The Add Scenario dialog box will pop-up.
Select the Occupant Density. Following which select the corresponding
Click on Add to create the scenario.
Keep repeating the same procedure for creating other scenarios.
Once the scenarios are created, they will be available for viewing on the 3D viewer.
This stage shows the combination of simulations that are possible from the available spaces, air-side systems and the scenarios selected by the user.
Choose the Airside system and the corresponding Scenario. The selected items will be highlighted. Click on the Add button on the right-hand panel to add this combination.
The users can all click on the Add All button to select all the combinations available in the technology preview.
Also, this stage gives the overall idea of the total number of simulations to be solved, the time and cost associated with these simulations.
After setting up all combinations, click on the Run Simulation button to submit simulations. The Autonomous HVAC CFD app will now begin with the process of generating the fluid volume, creating mesh, running the simulation, performing post-processing, and generating the results.
Using the simulated data, the app provides various forms of qualitative results that can be used to investigate the thermal comfort. Here are some examples of the results provided in the technology preview:
Thermal Comfort on each manikin
Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied (PPD) Index plot on a manikin
Comfort cloud of Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) in volume space
In this technology preview, users can access results like Thermal Comfort Plot, Surface Plots, Contour Plot, Comfort Clouds and Flowlines. These results are available for all the combinations selected in the Simulation Setup stage. By exploring the various results provided, the users can easily evaluate the thermal comfort conditions for the selected scenarios and air side systems.
Choose the Air Side System.
Choose the Scenario.
Choose the Space.
Click on View Results. The results section will open.
Choose the type of result you wish to view from the left-hand panel.
The Autonomous HVAC CFD app also provides an auto-generated report. A demo report is available in the technology preview. The report is a compilation of all the project related details, CFD simulation details and the results generated. It consists of details of the BIM model, information about overall methodology, location, thermal load conditions, scenarios and assumptions made. It also provides qualitative plots like PMV, PPD, etc.
Log in to your simulationHub account and try your hand at using and exploring the technology preview of Autonomous HVAC CFD app.
Aaditya Ruiker is a CFD support Engineer at Centre for Computational Technologies Private Limited (CCTech), Pune. He loves to work in fields physics and mathematics. Skilled in OpenFOAM, Fluent, C, MATLAB, CAD Modelling. He has completed his M.Tech in Thermal and Fluids Engineering from (Dr. BATU), Lonere, Raigad. His areas of interest are Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Numerical Methods, Operation Research modeling. Driving and traveling, playing cricket and chess are his hobbies and he likes to explore historical places.
Aaditya Ruikar works As a Product Manager at CCTech, He is involved in developing and delivering high-fidelity technologies for various industries at affordable prices and plays role of domain expert. He also has a vision to make these technologies more accessible and user-friendly for better and efficient design outcomes.His interests lie in researching and simulating real world systems, particularly in the domains of engineering, physics and sustainable development. He likes to tackle challenges and work with others to find innovative solutions.