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When used early in the design process, simulation can help designers reduce a building’s energy demand. Early-stage simulation must allow the user to explore many options quickly. Most building simulation programs have been structured for modeling finalized building designs very accurately. Intricate detail, often including CAD models, must be entered before such simulations can take place. This can take hours or days to prepare, which is not useful for early-stage design iteration. Further, most simulation tools require a technical background and substantial user training before they may be used effectively. By simplifying the modeling process, and specifically the user-interface, it is possible to make simulation tools accessible to a wider audience. The MIT Design Advisor is presented as means for non-technical specialists to rapidly simulate and compare energy consumption of early-stage building designs. An overview of the simplified interface and the rapid energy model are given, and sample validation cases are explored. The MIT Design Advisor is available at

Presented at Thermal Performance of Exterior Envelopes of Whole Buildings X – December 2007

Units: SI