Simulation Platform for Energy-Efficient Design (SPEED)

Critical design decisions that greatly impact a building’s energy and daylighting performance must be made early in the design process. Incorporating building simulation meaningfully at this stage, however, is notoriously difficult due to technical, budget, and process-related constraints. Fortunately, the post-COVID economics facing owners/developers, particularly concerning worker productivity and litigious risk mitigation, will dramatically increase investment and adoption of technology in the AEC industry requiring a new generation of building performance tools and workflows. 

The global design firm Perkins and Will has developed and implemented a novel solution to transition to this new industry paradigm called the Simulation Platform for Energy-Efficient Design (SPEED). SPEED is a customizable web and cloud-based building performance analysis platform for early design that enables architects to easily run rapid and accurate energy, daylighting, and solar analyses in <1 day when consultants are typically not engaged yet without the need for any technical knowledge. 

SPEED employs multiple technological innovations which together enable a seamless integration of design with analysis, including: (1) pre-processed parametric building forms and custom geometry generation with a Block & Stack Tool based on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s; (2) artificial intelligence for advanced auto-defaulting capabilities to ensure reasonable assumptions using NREL Standards and HVAC systems based on building type, location, and energy code; (3) interactive shadow studies and solar analysis using Radiance; (4) parallel processing to quickly run thousands of design options on Amazon Web Services using NREL’s OpenStudio Server; (5) automated data post-processing and statistical analysis; (6) a central results database for knowledge management and re-use; and (6) interactive visualizations to view results in a consistent, effective manner. SPEED provides a new opportunity for early design exploration at Perkins and Will, assisting/validating design intuition and enabling all projects to consistently internally run energy and daylighting models at the most useful point in the design process.

  • ICC CEU:
    .10 CEU
01:00 PM - 01:50 PM
27 September 2021


Benjamin Welle
Director of Energy Lab, Perkins and Will