The audit process comprises a series of questions, each with a specific form control suitable to collect the type of data requested.
Some common form controls include:
- option buttons, which allows a single selection to be defined from a set of choices, for instance, what type of building you have
- checkboxes, which allow multiple selections to be defined from a set of choices, for instance, what sorts of insulation you have installed
- ranges, which allow a number to be defined between two range extents by dragging a handle,
- spinners, which allow a number to be defined arbitrarily, either by clicking in the text field and typing or by clicking the plus or minus buttons either side of the field,
There are also several special form controls that are unique to this software:
- the building control, which allows the building geometry, zoning, and shading to be specified on an aerial photograph (see 'Describing your building')
- the multiset control, which allows large numbers of similar appliances to be defined, for instance, collections of televisions or fridges (see below)
Questions are grouped into sections, with each section representing a particular building feature, fixture or appliance. Sections are turn grouped into steps, which represent collections of similar sections such as those sections on utilities, the building occupants, electronic appliances etc.
Instead of overwhelming you with questions, we've gone with a more layered approach.
Questions are grouped by priority, with critical questions such as the type of heating system shown prominently, and more detailed questions shown in optional slide-out forms.
To add more detail about a property feature simply click 'more detail' in the bottom right of the question pane and the additional questions will slide out from below the top-level question. For instance, if you need to adjust the thermostat setting of your heating system, simply navigate to the heating question and click 'more detail', to view the thermostat questions.
If you don't want to answer a question that's no problem. We fill any unanswered questions with smart defaults.
The defaulting logic varies from question to question and is detailed in the Engineering Reference Documentation however the following provides some simple examples:
- if the building or appliance is old, it is likely to have poorer performance
- if a building is occupied throughout the day, they are more likely to use appliances, lighting and HVAC equipment during the day
- if a building is large, then they are likely to have more appliances and lighting fixtures
Many defaults are location-specific, such as the local electricity tariff structure and rates, or the most common heating or cooling system.
The default is typically shown in the audit interface as a pre-selected question.
If you're unsure how to answer a question or if you'd like to learn a bit more about a particular question, you can access more contextual information, including what the data is used for and a detailed description of how to answer the questions, including a detailed description of each of the question choices where relevant.
To access more information click the small 'i' button next to the question. This will launch a panel on the right of the app.
A range of details are requested about your building to assess how it is likely to perform throughout the year and how much energy your heating and cooling systems are likely to use. This includes:
- the building type
- the building age
- the wall details (wall type, eave depth etc)
- the window details (glazing type, frame type, coverings etc)
- foundation details
- roof details
In addition, the questionnaire includes a widget to describe the specific floor plan and features of the building.
To specify the building floor plan:
- Firstly, you will need to specify the exterior boundary of the building or the boundary of the dwelling or premise if a multi-tenant building. To do this click on one of the corners of the building and then continue in a circuit around each of the corners of the building and then click 'done'.
- If you wish to divide the building into zones (e.g. if the building has heaters and/or coolers serving different parts of the building), click 'add zones', then 'add zone divider' and then click on the wall you wish to divide, then click any internal zone corners and finish the divider by clicking on another existing wall (internal or external).
- Once you have finished creating walls and zones, you can edit walls by clicking on a wall or edit zones by clicking anywhere within the zone. This will show a modal box with the relevant details of that wall or zone.
For many buildings we are able to provide a default floor plan using machine vision of satellite imagery. In those situations, a default floor plan will be provided in advance of your assessment that you can edit as necessary.
Your answers to the building-wide questions will be applied as defaults to the entirety of the building. If you wish to specify an exception for a specific wall (e.g. a different wall construction or window area) you need to edit that wall individually. Simply click on an existing wall to edit, which will show a dialogue box, with a set of questions for that wall (e.g. wall type, window area, external boundary condition, eave depth etc).
Similarly, the heating and cooling systems specified in the earlier questions are applied by default to all floors and zones in the building. If you wish to specify an exception for a specific zone (e.g. a different heating / cooling system or a different thermostat setting for a specific zone) you need to edit that zone individually by clicking and editing that zone.