At the core of the Hottgenroth/ETU software product strategy lies a common data model. The model allows intelligent data interchange between all program modules, so the data you collect can be used many times.
All building data is stored in one complete and coherent model:
- Building geometry
- Building fabric and U-values
- Components/products (e.g. HVAC equipment)
- Layout of pipework and ducts
- Usage profiles
- Climate data
Depending on which ETU program you want to use, the central program manager will load the appropriate data. For example, an energy performance certificate (EPC) requires different data from a heat-loss or a cooling load calculation, and Dynamic Building Simulation relies strongly on room volumes, detailed climate data and usage profiles. Internal or external dimensions are used as required by the particular calculation. The software ensures that the data-set is consistent between different modules.
You can enter your building dimensions and areas manually, via import interfaces (for example to DWG or DXF drawings or PDF & JPG floor plans) or through an integrated 3D drawing tool. The advantage of the graphic data input is that it prevents input errors by giving immediate visual feedback. This is especially useful for large and/or complex buildings.
Building Information Modeling - BIM
BIM is growing more popular as a shared knowledge resource for all parties involved in the building process. From inception onwards it is used by architects, consultants, construction companies, buildings services engineers and facilities managers. The basis for BIM is a 3D geometry model, but the BIM model also holds non-graphical project documentation such as user requirements, MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) engineering data, compliance documents and project planning data. BIM users report increased efficiency, reduced errors and improved communication during the process, but the real winners are building owners and facility managers because the BIM documentation provides invaluable information for operating and maintaining the facility for many years after its completion.
The Hottgenroth/ETU data model offers a bi-directional data-exchange with BIM databases through IFC (Industry Foundation Classes, an object-based file format). Drawings from various 3D architectural CAD systems can be used for the ETU geometry model. An IFC export feature (available from Q2 2015) allows you to upload your ETU engineering work, such as pipework layouts and calculation results, into the BIM database.
With every engineering job or validation/simulation task performed with the ETU tools, the model gets richer and becomes more useful. It contains accurate and comprehensive input for the operation and maintenance manual which is required once the building is completed and handed over to the owner, user or facility manager.