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Amisha Panchal shares her experience as Building Simulation Intern at IES

By Erin O'Brien on Wednesday 21 November 2018

In June 2018, we were delighted to welcome Amisha Panchal, an Architectural Engineering Student at Heriot-Watt University, to the IES Team on a three month Building Simulation Internship. Now that her internship has come to an end, Amisha shared an insight into her time at IES HQ in the RIAS Quarterly. Here is what she had to say about the experience..

I spent the last three months learning, growing, observing, and applying theories to practice at Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd (IES) in Glasgow. My job title was Building Simulation Intern, but I felt more like an explorer in the real industry, discovering for the first time the contribution that knowledge combined with experience can bring. 

At an early stage as an Architectural Engineering (AE) student, I had always wondered how my design ideas could be realised and how their performance in buildings could be assessed. By now, all AE professionals have realised that this is something we all wonder, and what we desire to give to a client. More importantly, this is something the environment needs from us, for a more sustainable future. 

I was then introduced to the world of Thermal Simulation and Modelling. IES is a leader in 3D thermal analysis of buildings and I was keen to intern at the firm to learn from the experts themselves. The software used for simulation - IES VE, is basically art. I applied to work in a group of artisans called ‘consultants’. 

Several projects I worked on involved daylight analysis of developments. These projects considered the building’s location/ orientation/ shading from adjacent buildings and material properties of the building itself, such as surface reflectance and glass transmittance. This allowed me to study the amount of sunlight/daylight that fell in different spaces (external and internal) and if it complied with industry recommendations for the respective activities. I was then also able to make suggestions to improve the building’s performance or advise if a design option offered limited benefits. Reporting these results was also an interesting task that I continuously improved at and learned from.

 A majority of my internship was also spent on thermal analysis of offices. I evaluated several options aimed at reducing energy consumption in these spaces. I found it difficult to balance this with occupant comfort, which I believe is a common challenge amongst AE professionals. Understanding simulation so closely, however, I concluded we are now closer to an informed decision than what one could have imagined a few decades ago- with just a few 2D drawings in hand. 

I also participated in several research tasks, team meetings and learnt to critically analyse my work. This created a sense of responsibility and pushed me to give my best. During my interview, I had expressed interest in saving the world and playing a role in improving the built environment. I am well aware that the former is more of a joint effort, but I am glad to have had the opportunity to take a small step forward in the latter. IES proved to be the ideal company for my internship, where it is in the centre of all driving forces in improving the built environment, besides being a very supportive and friendly environment to work at! In the industry where a digital understanding of the building is essential to reflect real building performance, I feel confident and equipped with more applicatory knowledge.

Amisha Panchal 
Architectural Engineering Student, Heriot-Watt University