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A Conversation with Patrick Chopson of Cove.Tool: Optimizing Building Performance, Sustainability & Cost through Building Information Modeling

Rate It Green Team 0 Ratings 105 Discussions 6 Group posts

Posted by: Rate It Green Team

Whether you’re a BIM expert, or an emerging professional, we think this conversation with Matt Hoots and Patrick Chopson of Cove.Tool is worth a listen.  Patrick gives an introduction to Cove.Tool’s impressive web-based building modeling software, and he also share insights into how the tool can be used in decision making, including thinking about how clients might process data differently. Professionals can use modeling results both to explain decisions they've made so clients can understand better and feel more comfortable, and also support clients in better making better decisions.

Cove.Tool is web-based building modeling software which helps optimize and balance between building performance and costs.  in addition to other data, the software provides excellent visualizations of energy, daylight, water, glare, radiation, and more recently even provides a COVID score to measure the maintenance of social distancing.  Other factors and reports include:  walk scores, transit scores, bike scores, weather diagramming, heat gain analysis.  The system even generates project-specific recommendations on what factors can be improved, including what inputs can be further edited, and how water and energy use can be further reduced and even suggesting relevant case studies.  

Cove.Tool can run thousands of energy models using machine based learning to determine the best combinations of building components by factors including energy, payback, embodied carbon, certification requirements and more, all packaged together in one tool. Cove.tool also enables contextual design by considering surrounding buildings and features, because as Patrick says, “Buildings aren’t alone in the Matrix in a white room."

According to Patrick, the goal is to create an end to end process that can determine all of the elements needed for a project without having to hire a consultant.  This seamlessness is possible because the pieces have all been automated.  Apparently one doesn’t need to be an expert to use the tool - the company has digitized the inputs and has reviewed all of the considerations in advance.  The tool is appropriate for small firms, contractors, and interns, in addition to larger organizations.  Many assumptions have been built in, including product and energy pricing, but any factor that is different an be adjusted.  Cove.tool also works with many common plug ins.

Patrick walks through how the tool can be used and reviews a daylight simulation, a shadow analysis and other elements, in addition to some of the reporting the tool provides.  These explanations are particularly helpful for those who haven’t seen modeling in practice before. But even for advanced BIM professionals, the number of elements Cove.tool combines all in one place is impressive.  

Additionally, Patrick’s insight as to how modeling can and should be part of client conversations is compelling.  Some clients prefer numbers and data, while others might appreciate a visual explanation and to understand the why in making decisions.  Why tell someone a daylighting percentage, when you can show the client the impact of a decision they are having trouble understanding or making?  This is all in the context of understanding also that architects have in Patrick’s words, an outsized impact on climate change.”  We agree that modeling can help make more impactful, and simultaneously cost-effective decisions and also that educating clients is a part of better decision making and also better, more relevant, and impactful information exchange. 

Patrick reviews how in Georgia, Cove.tool can help even a single family home achieve a 2-3% cost reduction through optimization, and a 40% energy consumption reduction. A cheaper building that uses less energy is also built faster, after different HVAC systems, energy systems, insulation, windows, skylights, roofing, and other decisions are run against project goals.  For commercial buildings, the options only increase.  Patrick also shares some impressive institutional examples.  

Cove.tool can help building owners, architects and builders make decisions on what products will help the end user be more comfortable, sustainable, and meet overall project cost goals as well.  Clients set the parameters, and the system will report back what components or bundles will meet (or exceed) the set objectives.  in discussing the idea of building optimization, Patrick refers to “savings so enormous people can’t ignore them.”  It really does seem like the future of information modeling has pretty much arrived.  

SawHorse, Inc.
4 Ratings 13 Discussions 7 Group posts

SawHorse, Inc.

It is really difficult to sell upgrades on efficiency without sufficient data. Modeling tools like Cove.tool give contractors like us the means to justify high performance materials is based on energy savings. This applies to retrofits AND new construction for both residential and commercial spaces.


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