Soft Tools for Sustainable Design
The transformation from the traditional to a sustainable building design process is no longer a question of whether to build green but rather how (Kibert 2005). ‘Sustainability’ in the building sector is codified by standards, which manifest themselves in the form of a ‘sustainable’ or ’green’ building rating system. These systems offer guidelines and means for comparing and benchmarking the performance of buildings with respect to ‘green-ness’ (Fowler 2007). However, the nature of rating systems for sustainable buildings is such that the standards themselves are a moving target (Williams 2007). In addition to such rating systems, there are other tools available to the modern designer; these include the software design environment augmented by a suite of simulation packages to analyze and verify aspects of performance. These tools are mainly neither integrated as a whole nor provide the guidance required to achieve sustainable design outcomes. In this respect the research described here specifies a shift in paradigm for computer-aided sustainable design, through the deployment of an information framework in combination with computational tools to provide a range of options for achieving desired qualities of sustainability in design.