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Breakdown of the cove.tool Platform
Breakdown of the cove.tool Platform

Descriptions of the analysis.tool, drawing.tool, and loadmodeling.tool products. Introduction to workflows between each on the platform.

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

This article explains cove.tool's 3 product lines: the analysis.tool, drawing.tool, and loadmodeling.tool. To learn more about the web app in general, check out this quick introduction to the cove.tool platform. Before we begin, here is a quick summary of the similarity and differences between the product lines.

  • analysis.tool is the main product line with core building performance features, like early-stage energy modeling, daylight analysis, 3D and site studies, water calculator, climate report, and a parametric tool for optimizing energy, cost, and carbon.

  • drawing.tool is a 3D modeling tool that provides a user-friendly platform for drawing early-stage models natively on the cove.tool web platform. It also allows users to bring in their geometries directly from a suite of traditional 3D modeling platforms and make changes to them inside cove.tool.

  • loadmodeling.tool is a load modeling and system design tool that uses the EnergyPlus engine for detailed, room-by-room load calculations and HVAC system sizing. The feature is aimed at mechanical engineers for advanced modeling capabilities.

Note: The "drawing.tool" and "baseline energy feature" are included with both the analysis.tool and loadmodeling.tool subscriptions.

Workflows Explained

The analysis.tool requires four components for setup: Building Type, Location, Energy Code, and Geometry. For the Geometry aspect, analysis.tool can work with Geometry Plugins, models made in the drawing.tool, or via manual mode. The method of loading geometry determines which analysis will be available, in general, high detail of geometry equates to more potential analysis. Here is the general workflow:

When using manual mode, the 3D Analysis is not available, there's no shape to run analysis on after all! Teams can still study the impact of the facade design when using manual mode via the Facade Guidance Feature. When using a Geometry Plugin or drawing.tool 3D Analysis is available providing in-depth results for sDA, ASE and more!

analysis.tool is best used in a linear fashion as each analysis builds on the previous. Starting with 3D Analysis, then Baseline Energy and finally Optimization teams can take a project from initial concepts through to an optimization solution, with automated reports!

The loadmodeling.tool requires the same four components for setup as analysis.tool, however, drawing.tool must be used for the geometry method. Individual rooms are required to define and run the load model, hence geometry must be either imported or drawn in drawing.tool.

Once the geometry is defined teams can proceed to the Load Modeling Dashboard to perform all required tasks to define templates, schedules, thermal zones, air systems, and mechanical plants and then simulate and view load results for the mechanical design of the project. Once load results are computed teams can access the Baseline Energy page to see a calibrated early-stage model. The energy results here are helpful for projects that do not include compliance level energy modeling in their scope. However, if you do want to run an energy model for compliance, you can download a gbXML, IDF, and OSM files of your cove.tool project with all your project information transferred and use these files with third party compliance level energy simulation tools.

The workflow within loadmodeling.tool can follow a linear or circular fashion depending on the project stage. Refer to this article for more information on load modeling workflows.

Utilizing the early-stage analysis and optimization of analysis.tool with the detailed calculations and results of loadmodeling.tool creates a powerful workflow for sustainable building design! Teams following this route can work through building analysis studies in parallel or in a linear fashion depending on project needs.

When geometry is updated between design phases teams can check their daylight performance on the same platform as they update the HVAC sizing results!

Note that projects using this workflow can start with manual geometry, and then update to drawing.tool geometry as the project progress. Between design phases it can be helpful to make copies of the project, this allows teams to use the Compare Project Feature to visually track their progress.

Breaking it down further

The analysis.tool is redefining energy modeling and parametric optimization by building smarter, accurate models in a tenth of the time. Although automation is core to every product line, the analysis tool can help you meet the targets in just a few minutes.

Benefits of the analysis.tool

  • Automated, so you can run analysis sooner and more often in the early stages of design without having to do any of the time-consuming preparation.

  • Centralizes key analysis from fields of building science into one platform, like energy, daylight, shadow, water, climate, carbon, cost, and more.

  • Platform agnostic! When it comes to setting up geometry, users can bring geometry from any modeling platform and skip over the traditional rebuild process.

Features list:

  • 3D Analysis which includes:

    • Site and context geometry via OpenStreet Maps

    • Daylight Analysis (sDA300,50% and ASE1000lux/250hrs)

    • Shadow, Radiation, and Sun hours Studies

    • COVID Occupancy Assessment Score

    • Views Analysis

    • Snapshot tools and Saved 3D Views for report generation

    • Property Lines Data

  • Facade Optimization

  • Baseline Energy with energy code automation

    • Energy Results (EUI, Breakdown, Benchmarking, Utility Costs)

    • 2030 Reporting

    • Operational Carbon Calcs

    • Engineering Input Automation

    • Efficiency Ratings for Engineering inputs

    • PV Analysis

    • PDF Report

    • Export CSV

    • OpenStudio Export

  • Water Use Calculator

    • Indoor and Outdoor Water Use

    • Cooling Tower Water Use

    • Stormwater Management

  • Climate Report

  • Optimization

The drawing.tool is a web-based 3D modeling application that provides a user-friendly platform for architects and engineers to draw their early-stage models. As the tool is native to the platform, users can easily transition between products, knowing their model will always be compatible with every workflow. It also allows users to bring in their geometries directly from a suite of traditional 3D modeling platforms and make changes to them inside the modeling interface. The intended workflow is based on the rapid performance data and export out an optimized model.

Benefits of the drawing.tool:

  • FREE for everyone to use.

  • Quick massing study and mock up

  • Download an OBJ file of your model

  • Apply unique BEM properties everywhere

  • Import from existing BIM

Features lists:

  • 2D Plan Drawing Capabilities

  • Catalog of common building elements

  • Create and assign Assemblies using Assembly builder.

  • Set Rooms/spaces to be regularly occupied for LEED IEQ Daylight and Views Calculations.

  • Copy geometry between floors

  • Create complex shapes and convert to building with one click

  • Apply highly detailed local shades to glazing

  • Room Templates

  • OBJ Export

The loadmodeling.tool is a load modeling and system design tool integrated with the cove.tool platform. The tool uses the EnergyPlus engine for detailed, room-by-room load calculations and HVAC system sizing. Models are accessed via a web interface for quick performance and ease of sharing results. The entire model is exportable to OpenStudio and EnergyPlus native files for use or record-keeping offline.

Benefits of the loadmodeling.tool:

  • Create, assign and save custom Room Templates

  • Create, assign and save custom Schedules

  • Create, assign and save Air Systems

  • Create, assign and save Mechanical Plants

  • Run load models via EnergyPlus on the cloud

  • Access results via the web, PDF Reports and Spreadsheet exports

  • Define detailed geometry via drawing.tool for simulation

  • Export to .osm, .idf, and .gbXML for interoperability

Platform wide features

There are several collaborative and support features that are available throughout the platform. These features help design teams deliver successful projects of any scope and scale!

Happy Modeling!!

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