APR 2019, Sebastian Desand

5 things about wind simulations every architect and urban planner should know

1. Buildings can change the urban microclimate significantly, predict it!

Structures taller than 35 meters are shaping the outdoor comfort in urban areas as they influence wind speeds and have a significant impact on solar radiation. When designing a new development, you need to understand how your choices can affect the surrounding. A conscious architecture is the baseline for creating comfortable and safe cities.

2. Test the earlier possible, then test again

The quantification of the complex wind dynamic around a high-rise shape can improve life quality, security and help the further development of the surrounding area. Listening to ‘wind feedback’ helps to improve building performance and can give valuable insights on design modifications.

"“Environmental specialists use computer simulation to analyze how climate forces interact with building and outdoor spaces.”"

3. You don’t have to be a specialist to run an accurate wind study

Accuracy levels define how close the computational simulation represents the real-life wind behavior. Different mathematical methods generate different results, and not all simulation tools are accurate when analyzing a complex movement of wind in an urban area. Only the best automated tools based on reliable theoretical models can help architects to perform data-driven design in a fast and affordable way.

4. Physical wind tunnel and expensive consultants are not your only options

Only recently has the AEC Industry learned to take advantage of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) - technology available since the 1960s. CFD simulations use computer power to predict wind flow behavior. For years CFD was considered one of the most sophisticated branches of engineering.

However, thanks to the newest developments of the algorithms and computing power available, simulation tools are now available for everyone. Designers, architects and urban planners can test their design’s aerodynamics even at the earliest stage the creative process.

5. Online simulations are way more reliable than you think

A virtual wind tunnel technology, such as Ingrid Cloud, is constantly submitted to an extensive number of tests, research and benchmark cases. The results? 95% accuracy when compared to wind tunnels testing, for example. Recent advancements in cloud computing allow everyone to run complex simulations from anywhere, and get a high accuracy result in just a few hours. Besides, using smart algorithms and automatic CFD software also eliminates the risk of human error.
Ph.D. Simulation Engineer, Jeannette Spühler, presents results from Ingrid Cloud benchmarks at the 7th ECCOMAS.