Modeling Requirements for using Umi

Model Units

When creating a new Rhinoceros model for Umi, always use Meters as the unit system.

Choose Meters as the default unit in Umi.

Layer System

After pressing the 'Location' button, a series of layers is created by Umi which all thermal geometry must be modeled upon.

The available Umi-Thermal layers.

  • Buildings, all building polysurface representations that will be simulated are located on this layer.
  • Windows, window planes coincident with building surfaces are modeled on this layer.
  • Floor-Levels contains automatically-generated polylines to indicate floor height levels of each building.
  • Labels / Results is a layer for displaying results that is safe to ignore.
  • Shading (non-thermal)
    • Ubiquitous Shading (Tall Buildings) is for modeling objects that will shade every building in your simulation file, such as very tall buildings.
    • Contextual Shading (Buildings) is for modeling smaller buildings whose energy will not be simulated but can cast shadows onto simulated buildings. Each building on the Buildings layer will test within the user-set shading radius for whether these buildings should be included in the shading calculation.
    • Local Shading (Louvers) is used for modeling planar shading surfaces which are attached to a specific building. These surfaces are often automatically generated when creating windows and fixed shading devices, but can be modeled manually and must be coincident with a building polysurface object.
    • Trees is for modeling deciduous trees as polysurfaces. During the sinter, objects on this layer transmit 30% of light, and otherwise they transmit 60% of light. Any month during which the average outside dry bulb temperature is below 8.0 C is considered a winter month.
  • Photovoltaic Systems is used to model photovoltaic panels as planes. Like the Local Shading (Louvers) layer, the planes must be coincident with a building polysurface object. 

Building Geometry

Building polysurfaces in Umi must be modeled as orthogonal extrusions.

An example of a correctly and incorrectly modeled polysurface pair in Umi.

Buildings must have a continuous outside edge; therefore a courtyard building must be modeled in two halves. The adjoining walls will be adiabatic.

A courtyard building in Umi must be modeled as two halves.

All shared walls, ceilings or floors in Umi will be considered adiabatic.

Example stacked courtyard buildings with adiabatic surfaces identified.

Photovoltaic and Local Shading Geometry

Photovoltaic panels and local shading geometry must be modeled as planes with an edge coincident to the building polysurface.

An example of correctly modeled photovoltaic panels and louvers.

Next: Assigning Building Information

In Short

Umi is a Rhino-based design environment for architects and urban planners interested in modeling the environmental performance of neighborhoods and cities with respect to operational and embodied energy use, walkability and daylighting potential. Since 2012, Umi has been  developed by the Sustainable Design Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with support from a National Science Foundation EFRI_SEED project, the MIT Energy Initiative, the Kuwait-MIT Center, the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) at KACST and MIT, Transsolar Climate Engineering and United Technologies Corporation. Further tool developed is now also being conducted at the Environmental Systems Lab at Cornell University.

A first public version of Umi was released during a public symposium on Sustainable Urban Design on May 6th 2013 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Version 2.0, which also includes an embodied energy module, was released on November 7th 2014.

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