Selecting a building type is the first step in creating a cove.tool project. The platform included 8 base templates. For projects outside of these 8 starting points, teams can create their own templates to stored custom inputs that represent a specific building type. To get started we have several custom template guides that are examples of this workflow for various building types.
Base Building Type Templates:
Single Family Home
The base 8 templates represent a majority of the project types modeled on the platform. These 8 templates are supported in every commercial energy code preloaded into the app. Although there are now 70+ recognized building typologies according to EnergyStar, few are as comprehensively standardized and benchmarked as these 8. Rather than continuously expanding the base template list, custom template guides are generated to inform changes users can make from base templates to generate one of the alternative building typologies.
Custom template guides:
These guides help identify which base template to begin with, which values to manipulate, and some even link to 3rd-party resources which can help provide more detailed value assumptions. As the list of custom template guides does not cover all 70+ recognized building typologies, users can try creating their own guide (steps in the next section), or submit a request for a custom template from the support team.
Create your own custom template
These steps are the general workflow you'll follow to generate your own custom template. At any point in the process feel free to validate any value assumptions with the cove.tool team using the Live Chat Box feature, found on the bottom left-hand corner of the web app.
1. Start a new project.
On the Project Page, Select the building type nearest to your actual use type from the base options. This type will provide the default values that will later be customized to fit the design inputs and expected energy consumption of your alternative building type. It is helpful to choose a building type closest to the one you are customizing it to.
Single Family Home
Note: Read this article to learn more about building types. If you would like assistance confirming which project template to begin with, feel free to reach out to the support team in the live-chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
2. Complete Geometry Page
Setup your geometry as needed for your project. If creating a firmwide template, the exact geometry will be changed for future projects, so we can keep things simple and use the Manual Mode inputs. For more information on entering geometry into Manual Mode see this article. Also note, using a floor area size typical for your use-type projects will help better accurately auto-fill the initial engineering inputs.
3. Continue to the Baseline Energy page
Here users can change the name of the use type by editing the text in the tab title-bar.
4. Adjust template benchmark
Under the General tab, users should select a new use-type in the 2030 Building Type input drop-down list. Selecting a new use-type will reconfigure your existing baseline to connect to a more appropriate baseline reference as provided by the 2030 DDX Database. Below is a list of all the available options. For definitions and further explanation of each building type option, check out this article.
5. Last, alter the rest of your engineering inputs to fit your custom building type.
Many of the inputs will need to be agreed upon amongst the design team using past experience and information about the specific design being undertaken. If you are unsure of where to start, here are some Key Inputs that will drastically differ between building types and effect your energy results:
Envelope Inputs: Roof and Wall R-values, Window U-values and SHGC values, and Below Grade inputs.
Usage and Schedule Inputs: The lighting, appliance use, temperature set-points and occupancy will vary depending on the building program. The total hours of operation will have a large impact on the building EUI, so it is critical to model with a schedule that closely matches planned operation.
Building Systems: System Type selection and Area Outdoor Air Rate (CFM/sf) will be the most significant variables. This tab is best filled out by the professional engineer leading the project.
Once done hit the recalculate button to apply the template changes to the entire project.
Sharing a Custom Template Firm-wide
To start using the template internally, follow these steps:
1. Check the "convert to template" checkbox on the first project page
This ensures that your template is given access to everyone in your business. The project will be locked for everyone other than the owner of the project. This template project can be duplicated once the template is complete.
2. The new custom template will appear at the top of the projects list page under the header Explore Templates
3. Copy a custom template to start new project with it assigned
Making a copy will preserve all the values, geometries, and changes of the previous file, but in a new project so nothing has to be lost or redone.
4. Assign new template via Project Dashboard
An alternative method to create a firm-wide template is to select the New Template action from the Project Dashboard. Here you will be able to select any of your current projects and save it as a template for quick and easy sharing.