IDA ICE suggestions

Hi @mostapha ! I’ve just participated in the Pollination to IDA ICE Meet-up and I was very impressed by the work you have done! :star_struck: I haven’t tested Pollination yet, but since I use IDA ICE a lot, there were some features that crossed my mind that would be very useful in my opinion:

  • Merging several spaces/rooms in Revit - in many cases, especially if we are exporting all the rooms in a very often huge building (as I understood was also recommended because of how creating of building body works), rooms are not the same in size, but do have the same e.g. internal loads, heating system etc. Since we tend to simplify IDA ICE models when we can, these would normally be modeled as a single zone in IDA ICE. It would be great if we could pick the relevant spaces/rooms and merge them in Revit, before the export since “Merge zones” function in IDA ICE removes possibility of editing the zone geometry after the merge.

  • Zone templates - It is possible to create zone templates in IDA ICE. I have made a database and would like to be able to assign “Zone templates” to spaces/rooms before export., that would save a lot of work afterwards. Just to point out, the “Zone templates” are custom made, so Revit/Rhino would have to load names from a specific IDA ICE file I guess.

Regarding the distance between walls and also to building body, I mentioned in the meeting that adjacency can be easily changed in IDA ICE (in case you need it, you can find it here: Outline → System parameters → Adjacency-dist-hor and Adjacency-dist-vert). Just to avoid any misunderstanding, this only changes the tolerance in IDA ICE, it doesn’t do any changes to geometry itself. The defaults are 0,5 and 0,8 m, so it’s not that often that they need to be changed, since walls and slabs mostly er thinner than that.

I hope the text wasn’t confusing and the suggestions are useful for many! :slight_smile:

Best regards,

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Hi @janja, Thank you so much for your feedback during the call and for documenting them here. I really appreciate it!

This makes a lot of sense, and we have a similar request from OpenStudio and IES VE users.

I think it is about time to start thinking about introducing the concept in the Pollination ecosystem. @chriswmackey, I’ll try to write a proposal for this soon unless you get to it sooner than I do.

This is also a greate idea. Can you share an example IDM file with me that has these Zone Templates applied? We should be able to map Pollination’s Program Types to IDA ICE’s Zone Templates.

Are you keeping them in a separate file? It might make sense to develop a script that translates these Zone Templates to Pollination Program Types.

I have been looking for those for a very long time! Thank you for sharing. Here is a screenshot for anyone else who is interested in changing these values.

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I second the “thank you” for the feedback, @janja .

And I agree that we should introduce the concept of “Zone” into Pollination, which would be at a level above “Room” but below “Story.” You can see from that conversation that Mostapha linked to there that I have a rough idea of what this should mean for EnergyPlus/OpenStudio workflows but I’ll need some more info to understand what this should mean in an IDA-ICE workflow. And I would want to make sure that we’re talking about something separate from simply combining Room geometries or what is better achieved by using Regions in the Revit plugin or the PO_MergeRooms command in the Rhino plugin.

My understanding is that you would still want the Room geometry to remain exactly as it is currently, with each Room representing a closed solid in IDA-ICE, but you would have some way to tell IDA-ICE that these several rooms are all served by the same thermostat and HVAC infrastructure? Is my understanding correct here, @janja ? If so, do you have a sample IDM file that has this type of Zone specification, which includes several Rooms/Spaces below it? That would be a big help in exposing a capability like this in the IDA-ICE translator.

Hey @chriswmackey,

This is a good question. I should have added more context here. It actually means merging the rooms into a single room but only when exporting them to IDM.

The geometry in the Pollination side stays the same but we will merge those rooms together during the translation from Revit/Rhino → IDA ICE. Basically, we check the rooms that are grouped and try to merge their geometry together.

Using Area regions in Revit won’t work, as the user then have to use Areas for the whole level. We don’t support exporting Rooms & Areas in Revit. It is either Room or Area.

The PO_MergeRooms is not an ideal solution too since the rooms that are prepared for the IDA ICE model have a gap between them.

In theory, we can change those limitations in both of the CAD plugins, but it will be a major effort, and it can be high risk. Using the concept of groups transfers the responsibility to the translators and should work for Rhino, Revit and any other HBJSON file.

Thanks @mostapha ,

We should let @janja confirm but, if we are talking about a workflow that edits the Room geometry, then this is pretty different from what we are discussing on the other post.

It also seems like the easiest and most reliable way to edit the geometry into groups of closed solids would be closer to the source of the geometry. For example, maybe we alter the Area regions capability in the Revit plugin to only merge the Rooms that are inside each region polygon and we let the other Rooms outside of the polygon remain as they are. This his how the dragonfly reset-room-boundaries command is structured. I could be missing some things but, at least initially, it seems like making use of this of this existing command might be do-able without a major effort and with minimal risk.

Or maybe I’m just not understanding how you imagine the IDA-ICE translator is going to take a HBJSON exported at wall finish and join several gap-separated Rooms together into a single closed volume. I can’t really think of a way to do this reliably in 3D. We can maybe make something in 2D that usually works if all of the Rooms to be joined are extrusions to the same height, though it will be very easy to create errors if the room groups aren’t actually close to one another within the wall separation. Or maybe we join them but we just say that the windows are lost in the process. I guess I’m just pointing out that trying to edit the geometry in the translator is doable but it would just be a major effort to make it reliable and/or capable of preserving windows given that we’d trying to be doing all of the merging without any geometric guidance from user about where the joined room boundary should be.

Hey @mostapha ,

I’m sorry for a late response. Regarding Zone templates I am not able to share the file that I’ve made with many Zone templates, but I’ve made a simple one with default Ordinary zone template and 3 additional ones where I quickly changed some of the values, so that we can check if the templates actually are used after the import. I will share it per email as it seems that I cannot upload it here since I am a new user. You can find Zone templates by going to Floor plan and clicking here (that’s where user picks one when creating new zones in IDA ICE):

Otherwise, to see their characteristics and edit them, you can go to Resources and open them from there (sorry for not uploading the image; I’m limited to only one per post by the forum).

They are also connected to 2 different Air Handling Units (one is the default one, with a changed name, and I added the other one).

In general, I believe that each user would have their own separate file. I have no programming knowledge so when it comes to what would be the best way to make this possible, I suggest you contact someone from EQUA. I’m just a consultant, so all of my suggestions come from an IDA ICE user perspective with some Rhino knowledge and very little experience with Revit years ago :slight_smile:


When it comes to merging rooms, I meant geometry basically. There are many different things one can define in Zone template (e.g. internal loads, AHU, controller settpoints etc.) so there is no need to group rooms/spaces based on these for export purposes in Revit/Rhino since they would already be correct if we could assign Zone templates. I meant something similar to IFC import capabilities in IDA ICE, where one can choose between different options when creating Zones from imported spaces in the IFC. At the moment, ideally one would import IFC model, then go to IFC button which I marked bellow, and chose between making a single zone from marked IFC spaces or making a separate zone from each marked IFC space. Then one would chose a Zone template and click on New zone to create them. Windows are kept in this process which makes our work much more efficient.

In this case, I made a single zone from the spaces marked in previous screenshot, and got a zone which covers the entire area (including what was before interior wall separating the 2 marked spaces). Unfortunately, in most projects, the quality of IFC models that we receive is too poor to be able to do this.

I find this feature very practical and therefore would be great if we could do the same when exporting from Revit/Rhino and depend less on quality of IFC models. In case you want to explore IFC import functions yourself, I suggest using the IFC sample files which you can find in Sample folder where you installed IDA ICE :slight_smile: