InterfaceFinding your way around the Hero interface, performing actions and creating models
FabricDetails on the thermal fabric model aspects including projects, dwellings, walls, floors, openings and thermal bridging
Web PortalInformation on using the Hero web portal for certification, payment, user profile and training
The Optimise View of Hero allows you to setup powerful and diverse batch simulations of your Hero project.
You can watch the Hero v3.1 Webinar section on Optimisation at the 45:48 timestamp below:
It allows you to setup multiple different variations of your project across a wide variety of "Instructions" such as modifying the Wall Insulation across 4 variables and/or running 8x Project Orientation simulations and/or modifying Eave Projection by 50mm across 6 simulations, and run these in large, repeatable parallel simulations.
The Optimise View also comes with run settings such as whether to run in "Full Factorial" setup that will run every possible combination of each instruction value entered, such that the full solution space of a design question be simulated.
The Optimise View is a great tool to assist in analysing the impacts of a wide variety of measures on your projects, and should become a standard part of your building environment modelling practice.
The Optimise View is accessible from the Top Toolbar of Hero.
When the Optimise View is accessed, the setup window will appear from where you can click the Add Run button to add your first Optimisation Instruction to the view.
Within that Instruction row, you can then select a Type of variable you'd like to change (such as Project or Zone or Wall or Eave etc.) and then the related Change Action (such as Orientation or Projection etc) available for that type. You can then either add and then configure a Value or load some Preset Values into the instruction row.
Once you have your optimisation study setup, you can click the Begin Optimisation button and wait for the simulations to complete, at which point a results file will be produced for you.
The highlights below explain the use of the Optimise feature in Hero using a sample Optimisation setup that has queued up 4x climate zone values followed by 4x site exposure values for a total of 8 parametric simulations.
- Add Run - Create a new empty "Instruction" row to run a variation of the current project upon. Note you can add and queue multiple Instructions by clicking the Add Run button multiple times.
- Clear All - Remove all current Instruction rows from the Optimise setup view.
- Run Type - This setting allows you to configure your optimisation to run in sequential Parametric sequence or in Full Factorial combinations, see below for further details.
- Multiple (2) Instruction rows have been created in the example image above
- Type - The Type of Project variable that you would you to like to Change in the variation. These include Project, Level, Zone, Wall etc categories.
- Change - The Change type or Action that you would like to apply on the "Type", such as a Orientation Change of a Project, or an Insulation Change of a Wall, or a Project Change of an Eave. Each different model type has different actions that can be changed in an Optimisation instruction.
- Add Value - Create a new Optimisation value that will be simulated, based on the Type & Change entered. e.g. for Climate Zone you can click Add Value to add a further Climate Zone number to run upon. Some Values will have preset lists that are selectable while some will allow text to be entered.
- Clear All (values) - Will remove all created values of a Instruction row, e.g. clicking Clear All at position 9 would remove all Climate Zones entered (1, 3, 5 & 7)
- Value - A Optimisation "Value" that represents one design variant of a Project. In some cases will be entered as text by user or selecting an item in the dropdown. Values can be removed by clicking the delete button next to the value. Subsequent values can be created by clicking the Add Value button.
- Total # Simulations - Total number of simulations that will be evaluated in the Optimisation, click the calculate button to the right of the label to update this value.
- # CPUs - The number of parallel simulations that will be performed to simulate the Optimisation study. Note that selecting higher number of parallel simulations may cause your computer to become less responsive but will allow significantly faster evaluation time.
- Begin Optimisation / Stop Optimisation - Begin or stop the current optimisation setup which will queue up all the required Chenath simulations for parallel simulation. Upon successful completion a results file will be created in the Hero results folder
- Results Folder - Open the Results Folder containing optimisation results files. The results of an optimisation are currently output to a CSV file located on the user's Hero Results folder which will typically be: C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Hero Software\Simulation\Results
Parametric & Full-Factorial modes
The Optimise feature can be setup to run your scenarios in two flexible modes - Parametric or Full-Factorial.
A Parametric optimisation will sequentially simulate each entered scenario and is great for sensitivity analysis and evaluating a small number of variations compared to a base-rating, whereas a full-factorial will evaluate every combination of value and be great for exploring the solution set.
The image shown above is of a Parametric type scenario that evaluates twelve different window specifications for the project, as well as 5 different external wall and roof colours, a total of 22 simulations queued up.
The image above demonstrates the power of a Full-Factorial run where we are now configured to run a simulation in every combination of value. E.g. setting up a batch run for a volume-build design configured in 8x orientations, 9x climate zones, in vertically & horizontally mirrored design styles - all up 8 x 9 x 3 = 216 simulations of combinations. With the Optimise feature in Hero we can set that up and can run all the simulations in under 20 minutes.
Alternatively, optimise your window shade projection and offset across 20x variables; or Evaluate 5x wall insulations, 4 underslab insulations, 6 ceiling insulations and 8 glazing specifications in every combination etc, it's a great way to optimise your projects and target the most effective solutions.
For more information on the Optimisation feature please see the User Manual's Optimisation page
The Results Viewer allows you to view and analyse the hourly temperature and heating & cooling energy results of your Chenath simulations within Hero.
You can watch the Hero v3.1 Webinar section on the Results Viewer at the 34:28 timestamp below:
Hourly Results Settings
To enable the Results Viewer you must ensure your project has enabled the Calculate Hourly Results option on your Project. This is located on the Project Data-grid tab:
You must enable "Calc. Hourly Results" to ensure the hourly simulation results for each zone, dwelling and project are retained from the Chenath simulation.
Use the "Save Hourly Results" to save those to your Hero files so they're available for future reference.
Note for performance reasons, you may wish to turn this feature off if you are not using the Results Viewer for older computers or very large projects.
The Results Viewer becomes populated once your project has run a simulation with the "Calculate Hourly Results" setting on (available either from the Project data-grid tab or the Viewer itself). Use the "Save Hourly Results" setting and then save your Hero file to ensure next time you load your project you'll still have the hourly results without requiring a re-simulation.
The image below shows the Results Viewer with highlighted areas explained in the section below:
1 Hourly Results Settings
Explained in the section above
2 Selected Results Profile
The Results Combobox allows you to select which Simulation Profile you want to see in the Results Viewer. If you have enabled a Thermal Comfort Model (such as a free-running profile) or have run a Whole of House calculation you'll be running multiple simulations and can see each of their results. The "Thermal Rating" profile is the default NatHERS thermal-fabric simulation results.
3 Graph Settings
The Show Temperature checkbox will enable or disable the Temperature Chart in the Viewer
The Show Energy checkbox will enable to disable the Energy Chart in the Viewer which shows the Heating & Cooling Thermal Loads for each Zone, Dwelling or Project.
The Show Unconditioned Zones checkbox will hide any Unconditioned Zones from the graphs (similar to unchecking a Zone from the Dwellings & Zones section), and will exclude any Unconditioned Zones from Dwelling or Project average temperatures or loads.
4 Zone Selection Shortcuts
You can use the Clear and Select buttons to quickly select all Dwellings or Zones to show, or unselect all Zones such that you can focus on a specific zone or dwelling.
5 Dwelling & Zone Selection
In this area you can select or unselect the checkbox of a Zone or Dwelling to show or hide in the Graph views. This can be useful when you are wanting to focus on a particular area.
You can also select the Row in the list to highlight the Zone or Dwelling (if using Dwelling Group By mode) in the graphs and make it more easier to see.
You can then hit Escape to unselect any highlighted Zones.
If you have Show Unconditioned Zones setting off, then those zones will be unselectable.
Note special zones (such as subfloors or roofspace zones) are not currently shown in the Viewer (coming soon).
6 Date Range & Zoom Button
The currently visible "Date From" and "Date To", which can be selected to limit the range of hourly results shown in the graph (or use the Fit Width buttons).
The Zoom button allows you to select the start and finish point the range and zoom in the charts.
Note you can alternatively mouse-drag select a section of the Chart to zoom into that section.
7 Fit Width
You can use the Viewer's Fit Width buttons (Day/Week/Month/Year) to quick set the width of the Viewer's graphs from 24/168/720/8760 hour ranges.
8 Skip buttons
The Skip Button has three steps of forward/back that will shift the current date-range in the graphs by a varied amount depending on the current width.
This can be a great way to skip through the results at closer visual scale to try to get greater understanding of the simulation results and what they can show us.
You can achieve the same skip effect by using the Left and Right Keyboard keys, or by Double Left-Clicking the left or right side of the graphs to move forward or back.
9 Go To Key Peak Date Shortcuts
In the Go To section of the Viewer, you can select a range of dates of interest that may be useful for your analysis, including the Hottest or Coldest day, a Peak Heating/Cooling day (for thermal fabric conditioned profiles only), a Windy Summer day (which can be useful for natural ventilation analysis) and Max Solar irradiation day.
10 Group By Options
With the Viewer's Group By options (Zone, Dwelling or Project) you can choose what level of analysis you'd like to see the Hourly Results in.
The default Group By Zone setting will show you the Zone's actual hourly results, whereas the Group By Dwelling option will show you the average temperature of all zones of the Dwellings, and the Group by Project option will likewise show you your project average temperature across all zones and dwellings (excluding any Common Area Dwelling zones).
Note if the Show Unconditioned Zones setting is off then these zones won't contribute to the dwelling or project average results.
The above image shows the Group by Zone or Group by Project results.
11 Export Hourly Results Options
The export menu allows you to export either the charts as an image, or entirely export the hourly results of the current selected profile to the clipboard (ready to paste) or to a CSV file for post-processing and analysis.
12 Temperature Chart
The Temperature chart can show the Outside/External temperature as well as the hourly temperature results for each selected Zone or Dwelling or the Project (depending on Group by setting).
The chart above shows the flat 20 degree heated rooms that are being turned on/off as per the NatHERS zoning profiles, the unconditioned zones having no flat sections, along with the lower temperature chart showing the outside air temperature.
13 Energy Chart
The Energy Chart shows the Thermal Heating & Cooling loads derived from the Chenath simulations in kW energy levels.
The below image shows the Temperature and Energy charts of a project on a winter day, showing most of the heating required in the kitchen, a very large morning spike when heating was turned on and a steady 5kW approximate heating load to the end of the night.
For a Thermal Comfort free-running profile this will be empty and the chart can be unselected using the Show Energy setting.
Note these are the uncorrected results (i.e. no area-correction factors etc applied).
14 Chart Legend
The Legend not only serves as a visual colour reference to the charts, but can also be hovered or clicked to highlight a specific Zone (or Dwelling in Dwelling Group by Mode) in the charts to allow better clarity and focus.
The image above shows a highlighted zone (mouse-hover or mouse-click to retain the highlight, escape to clear/cancel).
Thermal Comfort Results
The Results Viewer can be particularly useful in combination with the Thermal Comfort model, such as a free-running (no heating or cooling) profile. The results can help designers get a better feel for how well their projects will passively perform.
The below image shows a Free-Running (no heating/cooling) example where despite a 6.3 star rating, on a cold day (max of 11 deg), the rooms in this home never exceeded 18 degrees and was dropping down to internal temperatures of around 13 degree. As we can see from the Thermal Comfort results to the Right of the screen, the project has 37.9% Cold Rating (below 18 degrees) meaning for 37.9% of the year, the dwelling will be less than 18 degrees on average.
The second image below shows a hot day, with most of the zones having a reasonable temperature, however Bed 3 & Bed 2 showed significantly higher temperatures. This might be the focus of our design attention upon these zones specifically, as it does appear by the 2.4% Hot Rating in the Thermal Comfort section that generally the dwelling is performing OK in summer (noting that the NatHERS Weather files typically average out extreme weather events and heatwaves).
You can watch the Hero v3.1 Webinar section on Thermal Comfort at the 27:46 timestamp below:
The Thermal Comfort feature comprises the ability to select, run and analyse the results of a specific "Thermal Comfort" simulation profile - typically a "Free-Running" or no heating/cooling profile, that differs from the predominant conditioned Thermal Rating profile used for NatHERS asessments.
When enabled, this Thermal Comfort profile gets simulated in Chenath in parallel with the Thermal Rating profile simulation when you run a Simulation, and it's results stored and treated separately.
The hourly simulation results from that Thermal Comfort simulation are used in the Thermal Comfort Rating that is calculated at the end of the simulation, based on a selected Hot & Cold Comfort threshold set in the Thermal Comfort section of the Results View (see below).
The aim of the Thermal Comfort feature is to allow users to get a measure of the Passive Performance of the project, by the use of a free-running, unconditioned profile. This is a key design metric that cannot be calculated in the conditioned NatHERS profiles, yet is a design attribute that occupants are typically very interested in and that can assist in making better design decisions.
Enabling Thermal Comfort
You can enable the Thermal Comfort model by turning on "Enabled" in the Project Data-Grid tab.
When this setting is on, when you Run a Simulation, you will now run an additional Chenath simulation in parallel based on the selected Thermal Comfort "Profile" (Free-running in the example above), that will then be used to calculate the Thermal Comfort Rating.
Due to the nature of the Comfort Rating being based on the hourly zone temperature results, you must have the "Calculate Hourly Results" setting on in addition to the Thermal Comfort enabled setting (however you can have Thermal Comfort off and still have Calculate Hourly Results for Thermal Rating only simulations).
The current available Profiles that can be used are the Thermal Rating profile (i.e. the one used for star-rating calculations, noting that conditioned profiles like this aren't particularly useful to use for comfort metrics as they will generally always be within the conditioned profile temperature bands); the Whole of House all-day and workday profiles (again, these are conditioned profiles), and two types of Free-Running profiles, one without natural ventilation. Note that after a Profile change, you must re-simulate for the changes to have an effect.
The currently available Thermal Comfort profiles that can be used, with the two Free-running (no heating/cooling) profiles being the most useful.
Thermal Comfort Thresholds
When a Thermal Comfort model has been simulated, you'll be able to set the Hot & Cold Comfort settings in the Thermal Comfort section of the Results Viewer.
1 Model Thermal Comfort setting
Select to enable the Thermal Comfort model in your Project (duplicated in the Project Data-grid tab's Thermal Comfort Enabled setting).
2 Comfort Profile
Select the simulation type to use for your Comfort Profile such as a free-running profile with no heating or cooling.
3 Show Results & Include Unconditioned Zones Settings
The Show Results setting allows the comfort results to be added to the chart's title for inclusion in reports etc.
The Include Unconditioned Zone setting will include or exclude Unconditioned Zones in the Thermal Comfort calculations.
4 Hot Threshold & Hot Results
The Hot threshold is the temperature setting above which an hourly result will be considered "Hot".
The Results section below the threshold shows the total number of hours per year that the project's zones are "Hot", along with the percentage of the year, and the "DDhrs" or degree-discomfort hours for the project (see below).
5 Comfort Rating & Results
The Comfort Rating is based on the number of hours the project is not hot or cold, and is therefore "comfortable" based on those thresholds. This can be a useful metric to analyse comfort changes from design changes and see their overall impacts on comfort. This result is also shown in the summary results section of the main Hero screen.
Note the Dwelling or Project level average comfort levels are calculated based on the average comfort rating per zone using the zone's actual temperatures, rather than being calculated based on the average temperature of the zones at a dwelling or project level.
6 Cold Threshold & Cold Results
The Cold threshold is the temperature setting below which an hourly result will be considered "Cold".
The Results section below the threshold shows the total number of hours per year that the project's zones are "Cold", along with the percentage of the year, and the "DDhrs" or degree-discomfort hours for the project (see below).
7 Export Options
The export options allow you to take a snapshot image to clipboard of the entire Thermal Comfort section; or alternatively export the data to the clipboard for pasting directly into other applications, or exporting to a CSV file for further post-processing and analysis.
Degree-discomfort hours is a measure of the temperature differential between the actual temperature and the hot or cold threshold temperatures.
For example if a room had an actual temperature of 32.5 degrees C, and the Hot Threshold was set to 27 degrees C, then the Degree-Discomfort hour is 5.5, which provides a more detailed metric of discomfort rather than just showing "1 hour of discomfort" like when using total hours.
Thermal Comfort Results
The hourly results of the Thermal Comfort model can be visualised and analysed in the Results Viewer by selecting the Thermal Comfort results profile on the left side of the Results Viewer. The results in the Temperature chart will then show the results that the Thermal Comfort rating are base on, which are typically an unconditioned free-running profile, and you can analyse how well the design performs without heating or cooling.
The Hot & Cold thresholds will be visually shown in the charts.
Likewise in the status bar's summary results section of Hero, you will also additionally see a thermostat icon indicating the Comfort Rating of the Project, in Percentage of the year that the project is within the comfortable temperature band.
Status Bar Results
The image above shows the Thermal Rating results of Star-Rating, Heating, Cooling & Total load, as well as the thermostat icon showing a 59.7% Comfort Rating indicating that for 5236 hours in the year, the project's average temperature was within the comfort temperature band. The project was cold a large portion of year with 3317 hrs or 37.9% of the year under the 18 degree threshold, and being 6328 Degree-discomfort hours.
Chenath simulations when run in NatHERS Regulatory Mode run on a standard simulation profile for various properties such as:
- the heating and cooling setpoint temperatures for each zone-type based on climate-zone;
- the time of day of that heating and cooling which also differs on zone-type;
- the different internal heat gain amounts per zone-type, based on time of day;
- as well as several other settings such as those governing how windows are opened for natural ventilation, and when internal or external shading is drawn or opened etc.
For more information on these profiles see NatHERS Internal heat loads
With the introduction of the NCC 2022, there have been significant changes to the NatHERS Protocol that effect how simulations are performed in regulatory mode.
You can watch the Hero v3.1 Webinar section on Thermal Comfort at the 3:32 timestamp below
These changes include:
- New climate weather files for each of the 69 NatHERS Climate Zones, that include data from 1990 to the end of 2015 instead of 1970 to 2005 like the previous weather file set. For further information see NatHERS 2022 Climate Files
- New star-bands for each climate zone (i.e. the total energy per m2 per year to what star-rating that achieves). For further information see NatHERS 2022 Starbands
- Slight minor changes to the cooling thermostat setpoints (+0.5 degree) for a small number of climate zones to presumably align with the new weather files (given cooling thermostat setpoints in NatHERS profiles are based on weather conditions).
- New heating & cooling load limits for each climate-zone and for both standard NatHERS & BASIX (NSW) projects. For further reference see the ABCB's NatHERS heating and cooling load limits
Setting the NatHERS Profile in Hero
The changes to the NatHERS simulations required for the NCC2022, along with the state by state specific implementation of the NCC2022 mean that assessments based on both NatHERS 2019 and NatHERS 2022 profiles will continue to be required by industry across Australia. You should confirm your requirements for your project based on your state or local building authorities, as well as your project's building certifier.
In Hero, we've integrated this requirement by allowing users to set the NatHERS Profile of a Project in the Project Data-Grid tab, in the "Regulatory" section.
To perform a NatHERS 2022 simulation in Hero, change the NatHERS Profile switch in the Project Data-grid Tab from 2019 to 2022 and you'll now be assessing in 2022.
When in NatHERS 2022 Profile your project will use the new weather-files, star-bands, heating & cooling load limits and if certified, will produce NatHERS 2022 Certificates on the Hero Web-Portal.
In 2019 Profile mode you'll continue to run using the 2019 versions of all the above.
Note due to these changes, simulation results are different in 2022 compared to 2019, so don't rely on your old results.
Note you must re-simulate your project upon change of profile setting for the results to be updated.
Since Hero v3.1, to facilitate the introduction of steel-frame thermal-bridging modelling in NatHERS 2022 assessments, you can model the Structure Option of a Wall, Floor or Ceiling.
You can watch the Hero v3.1 Webinar section on Thermal-Bridging & Structure Options at the 10:54 timestamp below:
The selected Structure Option applied to a Wall, Floor or Ceiling can thermally-bridge a material layer (such as an insulation material) and reduce their effective R-value & thickness in the simulation.
The article below breaks down how these are introduced into Hero via the Structure Options, then explains some of the settings available, the calculation methodology, and viewing and editing structure options in the Wall Assembly Library.
Structure Options are similar in concept to each Assembly having various Insulation Options that can represent different variants of the assembly based on a selected insulation choice. Likewise each Assembly can have several Structural Options that represent different ways that the Assembly might be built with different structural materials, such as different timber-stud sizes or spacing, or steel-framing of varying thicknesses and types. It is these structure materials that are the secondary materials that "thermally bridge" other primary materials such as insulation layers.
Again, similar to Insulation Options, you can create as many Structural Options as desired for each Wall Assembly in the Wall Library, and then apply them into your project on selected walls, floors or ceilings in the Data-Grid or Summary View as detailed below. For Ceilings and Floors, you currently can only model the default structure options that have been provided for you.
The image above shows the new Structure column of the Wall, Floor and Ceiling Data-Grid tabs, showing a range of Structure Options that can be applied to these walls, including timber and various steel-frame options.
Likewise the Wall, Floor and Ceiling Summary View tables contains a similar Structure column that can be selected to show and group Summary data by their Structural Options as per the image below.
Note that Ceilings have both Ceiling Structure & Roof Structure - the Ceiling Structure bridges any Ceiling Insulation entered, and the Roof Structure bridges any Roof Insulation such as roofing blanket.
Note that air-gap materials aren't effected by any thermal-bridging effects in NatHERS.
In Hero v3.1 the Default Wall, Floor & Ceiling Assemblies come with a pre-populated list of Structure Options available, but any previously created Custom Assemblies will require their own Structure Options list created for them, so if your Structure Options list in the Data-Grid or Summary-View is empty, please remember you must create your Structure Options first in the Construction Library prior to applying them in the Data-Grid or Summary-View.
Thermal Bridging Settings
The Structural Options set on any Walls, Floors or Ceilings in Hero will effect the simulation by reducing the effective R-Value/Thickness of any bridged materials, depending on the Thermal Bridging Settings which are detailed below.
There are three settings that determine how Structure Options and Thermal Bridging are considered in your Project. These settings get applied in the Project Data-grid tab and are:
1 - None
This Thermal Bridging setting means that regardless of any applied Structure Options in your model, no thermal-bridging R-value reduction will be applied to any floor, ceiling or wall materials.
This setting can be an easy way to turn off thermal-bridging without removing it from every wall/floor/ceiling, or to model and use Structure Options for other purposes than thermal-bridging (such as embodied energy calculations).
Projects targeting NatHERS 2019 compliance can leave the Thermal Bridging setting in this default None setting regardless of whether the project has steel-framing (unless otherwise advised).
You cannot use this setting for a NatHERS 2022 project containing steel-frame walls, floors or ceilings (unless otherwise advised).
2 - NatHERS
This is the default setting for NatHERS 2022 projects that use steel-frames in any Walls, Floors or Ceilings.
In NatHERS setting, Thermal-Bridging effects will be only be applied to Walls, Floors or Ceilings with Steel-frame Structure Options in areas that meet NatHERS Tech Note conditions, and compensated against an equivalent Timber-framed wall.
Table 5 of the NatHERS Tech Note shows where thermal-bridging must be applied.
In the NatHERS Thermal Bridging mode, you can enter your Structure Options in as per the project plans, and then Hero will automatically work out whether the thermal-bridging effects should be applied as per the Tech Notes based on their type and locations. E.g. Steel-frame Structure Options get ignored if they are an External Wall of a Garage in NatHERS setting, and Timber-frame structure options in walls, floors or ceilings will be ignored automatically.
For example if a project had a 90x40 steel-frame structure option applied to external walls of a garage or to internal walls between two conditioned zones, because this does not require thermal-bridging in NatHERS Tech Notes, and so no thermal-bridging effect will be applied to any insulation in this area.
If it was to a normal zone's external wall, or any other appropriate situation as per the Tech Notes (such as a roofspace or subfloor adjacent wall etc), then thermal-bridging effects from the selected Structure Option would be applied.
In addition, when in NatHERS Thermal Bridging setting, the calculation of the steel-frame wall's overall R-value & thickness get referenced against an equivalent timber-frame. This is because timber-framed walls don't have any thermal-bridging effects calculated upon them in the NCC2022, and so steel-frames are only "punished" to the degree they are worse than an equivalent timber-frame. So in effect, a steel-frame wall is only rated in terms of it's reduction impacts based on it's reduction against a timber-frame wall.
3 - Full
The Full Thermal Bridging setting in Hero is an optional beyond-compliance setting where all Structure Options including Timber frames and regardless of location, are modelled for thermal-bridging effects in all situations, and no reference compensation against a Timber frame effect is applied (as discussed above).
In this mode, regardless of where the Structure Option is (such as on an internal wall) it will apply a thermal-bridging effect, so it goes beyond NatHERS Tech Note requirements.
This setting is more accurate and aligned with NZ4214 and can be used for better design and research purposes.
Thermal Bridging effects and calculation method
Thermal bridging effects in Hero follow the NatHERS thermal bridging methodology that mostly aligns with standard NZ4214:2006, with a few differences. Please see the NatHERS Thermal Bridging page for further information and where the full NatHERS thermal-bridging calculation methodology is detailed.
In brief, for each material layer in an assembly (e.g. a 110mm brick or a 90mm insulation batt or 10mm plasterboard layer), there can be an additional secondary material in that layer (such as a steel or timber frame stud that disrupts the main wall insulation batt material layer). This secondary material will effect that layer's R-value and thickness in the assembly. The total R-value of this bridged assembly is then the sum of the individual bridged layers.
Structure Options can be viewed, created, edit and removed in the Wall Assembly library.
A Material Layer can now have a Structural Material that is that secondary material, and which disrupts the continuity of the primary material. You can add multiple Structural Materials to all materials (i.e. all rows) of the Wall Assembly - for these assemblies with multiple structural materials, Hero just creates a Structure Option that is based on having those two Structural Materials applied into the assembly.
For example in the image above we see a 90mm R2 insulation batt bridged with a 92mm x 36mm x 0.75mm steel frame at 600mm centres will reduce that insulation's effective R-value from R2 to R1.6. In Chenath this will thereby be modelled at a 70.4mm thickness instead of 88mm and thereby dropping the overall R-value of the wall assembly from 2.93 to 2.52.
Viewing, Creating & Editing Structure Options
In the Wall Assembly library you can see how wall assemblies get effected by the various structure options that can be applied to them. The below image outlines how Structure Options are utilised throughout the Wall Assembly Builder.
1 - Thermal Bridging Visual Setting
This is a way to visualise the effect thermal-bridging settings have on Assemblies within the Construction Library. Note this is a visual only setting for the Construction Library that allows you to quickly see the impacts of various settings on an Assembly but it does not relate to the Project's Thermal-bridging setting set in the Project Data-grid tab.
2 - Currently shown Structure Option
An Assembly can have many Structure Options available to be easily applied to it in the Data-Grid or Summary View. The "Current Structure Option" is the one selected in the Combo-box at (2), or via selecting the Structure Option in the list shown in the Library section at (6).
The dropdown selection will show the other available Structure Options created and ready for use in the Assembly (similar to what is shown in the list at (6)), so you can easily switch between different structure options and see what effects they'd have if applied to a Wall.
3 - Structure Column - New Structure Material column of the Wall Assembly table, showing where structural materials are in the assembly. In the example image there is only one Structural Material bridging the Insulation at row index 3.
4 - Structural Material - A Structure Material bridging the insulation layer at row index / position 3. You can change the type of Structural Material applying to that row by using the dropdown selector at (4).
5 - Create Structure Material - You can either Drag and drop a new Structural Material onto your Assembly by dragging and dropping the "Structure" button and dropping over the material-row that you'd like to apply the Structural Material to. Or alternatively, you can select the row and click the "+" button to the right of the Structure button.
6 - Structure Options list in Assembly Library - The Structure Options list of a Wall Assembly are shown both here (similar to what is shown in the dropdown of (2)). You can select the current Structure Option by clicking this row, or select a Structure Option and hit Clone/Copy to create a new Structure Option based off the previously selected one, or alternatively you can hit Delete on a selected Structure Option to remove it.
7 - Create/Clone new Structure Option - Create/clone a new Structure Option based off the existing, or delete an existing Structure Option from an Assembly's Structure Options list.
Check the Construction Code, your local state regulatory authority, your NatHERS AAO to find out whether there are thermal-bridging variations in your state.