The Metabuild AI – a closer look

The algorithm

Our cloud platform was built around a new simulation-based optimization algorithm that was developed to meet the needs of the building industry.

  • Background

    Creating perfect buildings is about making sure that buildings remain fit for purpose for years to come, offer a high level of comfort, minimize environmental impact and keep operating cost low.

    But considering the vast number of design options available today, there are billions of possible configurations for every building project. With today’s tools it impossible to test all these options and find the optimal configuration. That is why most experts rely on experience and gut-feeling – which results in sub-optimal building designs.

    Metabuild’s algorithm was created to identify optimal building designs by testing thousands of design options for each project.

  • Evolutionary algorithm

    In artificial intelligence, an evolutionary algorithm is a subset of evolutionary computation. Evolutionary algorithms use mechanisms inspired by biological evolution, such as reproduction, mutation, recombination, and selection for complex optimization tasks.

    Metabuild’s evolutionary algorithm was tailor-made to fit the needs of BIM and building simulation. Its unique features allowed us to create the first platform that connects evolutionary multi-objective optimization with the power of building simulation and cloud computing.

  • Scope of the performed building simulations
    • Accurate physical models, validated with measured data
    • Time resolution of simulations: 365 days of a year, 10-minute time-steps
    • Detailed building physics simulation algorithms for heat transfer, radiation, convection as well as air and moisture transfer, light distribution and water flows.
    • Detailed profiles for occupancy and lighting for different building use types
    • Usage of site-specific hourly weather data (includes outside air temperature, outdoor air humidity, atmospheric pressure, degree of cloud coverage, wind direction and -speed, precipitation, shortwave radiation, atmospheric and terrestrial long-wave counter radiation, etc.)
    • Tight integration of powerful simulation engine EnergyPlus
    • Detailed simulations of lighting comfort, thermal comfort and air quality
    • Economic analyses including CAPEX, OPEX and life cycle cost
  • Backed by science

    Our software was developed by leading scientists in the field of building simulation and optimization. Studies on the impact of our technology have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals. Through Metabuild’s partnerships with TU-Berlin and NTNU Trondheim we’re constantly improving our software.

The design options

This list shows all design options tested during the optimization process. Options can be restricted and/or specified by the customer.

  • Architectural design (optional)
    • Variable window-to-wall ratios (10 – 100%; minimum values for window heights and window widths can be defined for specific façades)
    • Variable building orientation (1° steps possible; ranges can be specified)
  • Building envelope

    Exterior wall, roof and floor constructions:

    • Precast reinforced concrete, insulated
    • Reinforced concrete
    • Wood frame insulated
    • Insulated masonry
    • Steel truss insulated
    • Mixed steel plate – concrete insulated

    Insulation materials:

    • Expanded polystyrene (EPS); 0 to 32 cm
    • Polyurethane rigid foam (PUR); 0 to 32 cm
    • Extruded polystyrene (XPS); 0 to 32 cm
    • Cellulose; 0 to 32 cm
    • Glass fiber; 0 to 32 cm
    • Mineral wool; 0 to 32 cm
    • Rock wool; 0 to 32 cm
    • Foam glass; 0 to 32 cm
    • Sheep wool; 0 to 32 cm
    • Urea-formaldehyde foam; 0 to 32 cm
    • Wood fiber; 0 to 32 cm
    • Expanded Perlite; 0 to 32 cm
    • Polyisocyanurate (PIR); 0 to 32 cm

    Internal wall and floor construction:

    • Concrete blocks
    • Precast concrete parts
    • Insulated masonry
    • Wood frames
    • Reinforced concrete

    Glazing:

    • Double glazing clear 3mm/13mm air
    • Double glazing clear 6mm/13mm Argon
    • Triple glazing clear 3mm/13mm argon
    • Triple glazing low-emission (LoE) film (44) clear 6mm/ 13mm air
    • Triple glazing clear 3mm/13mm argon
    • Quadruple glazing low-emission (LoE) film (88) 3mm/8mm krypton

    Window frames:

    • Wood frame
    • Composite material
    • Aluminium or metal frame
    • Vinyl frame

    Shadings:

    • Inside blackout blinds
    • Internal blinds
    • Curtains
    • Pleated blinds
    • Awnings
    • Drop-arm awnings
    • Outside blinds
  • Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC)

    HVAC-system:

    • Electric baseboards
    • Hot water baseboard
    • Hot water radiators
    • Fan coil
    • Packaged terminal air conditioner with hot water heating coil
    • Packaged terminal heat pump with supplemental electrical heating coil
    • Packaged terminal heat pump with supplemental gas heating coil
    • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) with evaporation-cooled condenser
    • Unitary system gas furnace with single-speed DX cooling coil
    • Unitary system single speed DX heat pump water source heating coil with single speed DX water-cooled cooling coil
    • Water to air heat pump with supplemental hot water heating coil
    • Packaged terminal air conditioner with electrical heating coil
    • Packaged terminal air conditioner with gas heating coil
    • Packaged terminal heat pump with supplemental hot water heating coil
    • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) with air-cooled condenser
    • Unitary system gas furnace
    • Unitary system multi speed DX heat pump air-source heating coil with multispeed DX cooling coil
    • Water to air heat pump with supplemental electrical heating coil
    • Hot water underfloor heating
    • Electric underfloor heating

    Central heat and domestic hot water generator:

    • District heating
    • Condensation boiler (oil)
    • Condensation boiler (gas)
    • Hot water boiler (electricity)
    • Hot water boiler (gas)

    Central chiller:

    • District Cooling
    • Water cooled electric screw cooler
    • Air-cooled electric screw cooler
    • Water-cooled piston compressor chiller
    • Air-cooled electric reciprocating chiller

    Dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS):

    • Exhaust air (no heat recovery)
    • Supply and exhaust air (heat recovery possible)
    • With hot water heating coil
    • With electric heating coil
    • With water-cooled cooling coil
    • With DX heating coil
    • Heat recovery via plate heat exchanger
    • Heat recovery via rotary heat exchanger
  • Lighting
    • Mercury vapour lamps
    • Metal halide lamps
    • Low pressure sodium lamps
    • Incandescent lamp or halogen lamps
    • Fluorescent lamp (T5/T8/T12)
    • High pressure sodium lamps
    • LED-lighting
  • Power supply

    On-site primary energy systems (CHP):

    • Natural gas-based internal combustion engine
    • Natural gas-based micro gas turbine

    Photovoltaic systems:

    • Polycrystalline silicon PV panels
    • Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) PV panels
    • Amorphous silicon PV panels
    • Monocrystalline silicon PV panels

    Batteries:

    • Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries
    • Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries
  • Water-saving systems
    • Greywater recycling, natural systems
    • Greywater recycling, membrane bioreactor
    • Rainwater harvesting and reuse
    • Water-saving fixtures

The performance criteria

Metabuild includes all relevant performance criteria for assessing and benchmarking the design solutions during the optimization process.

  • Cost performance criteria
    • CAPEX (Investment cost)
    • Energy costs
    • Maintenance and replacement costs
    • Life cycle costs
  • Comfort performance criteria
    • Daylighting Comfort: Continuous Daylight Autonomy, Useful Daylight Illuminance, Annual Sunlight exposure according to WELL and LEED V3
    • Thermal Comfort: PPD – Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfied, PMV – Predicted Mean Vote, Draft risk, Vertical discomfort, Floor discomfort, Radient asymmetries, Convection coefficient according to ANSI/ASHRAE 55:2010 and EN ISO 7730
    • Air Quality: VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds, TSVOC – Total Volatile Organic Compounds, CMR (Carcinogenic, Mutagenic, Reprotoxic), Acetaldehyde, Formaldehyde, Ventilation Rate, CO2-Concentration/Activity, Relative Humidity according to Eurofins, WELL and LEED IEQ Credit 3.2
  • Environmental performance criteria
    • Total energy consumption
    • Primary energy consumption
    • Electricity consumption
    • CO2 emissions
    • Embodied carbon
    • Water consumption

Get a free consultation to find out what we can do for your project.

Talk to your Metabuild consultant directly via phone +49 30 692 00 14 11.
Or send us an email to hello@metabuild.io. Of course we are also glad to answer any questions.