Early-RENo Graphical User Interface

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Early-RENo is an early design tool under development thanks to our project 4RinEU. It consists of a set of methodologies developed by Eurac Research and Aiguasol which aims to support the designers in the first phases of the renovation projects. It covers four important topics: photovoltaic, solar collectors, natural ventilation and daylighting. Since one of our goals is to guarantee a user-friendly approach, we are working on a graphical user interface (GUI).

The goal
The goal of the GUI is to simplify the use of the tool and connect the four modules implemented. In our concept, each module will have an independent tab sharing information with the others, giving the possibility of running the complete algorithm or to select a methodology-specific calculation optimizing time resources. In this way, the modularity of Early-RENo allows the user to focus on the interesting resources which can be case-specific and becomes an important aspect of the design process. For example, it will be possible to refine a single optimization without re-running all the other modules. Finally, the intent is to extend the user range also to designers with limited computer expertise.

Let’s see how the user interface is organized
As explained before, the GUI reflects the modularity of Early-RENo. It is divided in six tabs, one for each module, one for interfacing our tool with Radiance and one for general inputs:

  1. Settings: the user can select which module(s) will be used in the next calculation, select the inputs file (e.g. weather file) and insert the inputs which are common for all the modules. Moreover, here it is possible to launch the algorithm and export the automatic report
  2. Irradiance: this tab shows the results of the hourly irradiance calculated with Radiance. It is possible to choose which sensor the results refer
  3. Photovoltaic: here it is possible to insert the inputs required for the photovoltaic optimization. At the end of the calculation it will be displayed a plot of the economic analysis and the most important results
  4. Solar thermal: the same as in the tab related to photovoltaic. In this case the plot shows the monthly energy consumption and production
  5. Natural ventilation: here it would be possible to choose the final use of the building (residential, office, etc.) and all the other inputs needed for exploiting natural ventilation
  6. Daylighting: this tab is the interface for our daylighting module. Here the user will insert the required inputs and at the end of the calculations the most relevant plots and results will be shown

User experience
At the opening, Early-RENo displays the settings tab where it will be asked which modules the user wants to launch. Once all the inputs required will be filled, the optimization can be launched with the Start button. At the end of each calculation, Early-RENo tells the user if the run was successfully completed. Finally, an automatic report which summarizes the inputs and the results can be exported with the dedicated button. This functionality was added to give the possibility of tracking in a better way the workflow of the design process.

The user interface is actually in test phase but has already been used in different studies, so we are confident that we will soon be able to share positive news with you!

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