One of the steps in the things you need to study in early-stage design is a massing study. Completing a massing study is instrumental in ensuring that your first step is on the right path for high performance and data-driven design. As a note to Revit users, this is not the same as a Massing geometry element. You can read about the recommended Revit workflow in our article on the Ideal Revit Workflow.
What is a Massing Study?
A massing study is the analysis of the shape, form, size, and envelope configuration of the project. Massing studies are useful because of their rapid style of investigation. Architects can quickly analyze a wide pool of massing strategies then make an apples-to-apples comparison. It is often the starting point of architectural design and can serve as a checklist machine to make sure that the intended design will meet and/or can be improved to meet all expectations.
Here are the steps to create a massing study in cove.tool.
Step 1: Model - Model your building masses in a 3rd Party BIM Software. cove.tool has Geometry Plugins for Revit, Rhino/Grasshopper/ & SketchUp, so when users are ready to export their designs, they can find the ideal plugin and bring their designs into cove.tool. Remember massing studies are meant to be quick and easy, so it is recommended that you explore massing concepts in terms of simple block-like geometry. If you're worried about glazing placement/sizing, don't be. Users can explore WWR% (Window-to-Wall Ration) inside cove.tool with sliders and value inputs.
Step 2: Simulate - Use cove.tool to create a project for each of the designs you want to explore. Start a new project and use the plugins to export your building geometry into cove.tool. Name each project uniquely and include a JPEG of your design in the Image Upload bar. Once you start outputting reports, these details will be crucial for differentiating the iterations and identifying the most beneficial strategies. This baseline energy page will list a variety of building performance metrics to give preliminary food-for-thought, useful for making data-driven decisions.
Step 3: Compare - To compare each design side by side, you have two options.
Option 1: Use the compare feature. This feature allows users to compare up to 4 cove.tool projects side-by-side in a stripped-down results-only format. Check out this article on how to compare projects using this feature.
or, Option 2: Create a report for each massing strategy. At the top right-hand corner of the Baseline Energy page, users can select the Create Report option. Selecting this will auto-generate a downloadable PDF report. Each report can be collected and shared to compare the energy, cost, and overall building performance. Also, screenshots of the Daylight Analysis and sDA score can be added to the report for additional comparison categories. Examples below:
Step 4: Optimize: If the additional analysis is needed to further the process of elimination, then try the optimization tool to add and simulate different combinations of systems types, control strategies, and cost values. The bundles' list gives the most conclusive impression of optimized energy performance and cost premium to reach performance targets.