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This chapter aims to provide an overview of building simulation in a theoretical and practical context. The following sections demonstrate the importance of simulation programs at a time when society is shifting towards a low carbon future and the practice of sustainable design becomes mandatory. The initial sections acquaint the reader with basic terminology and comment on the capabilities and categories of simulation tools before discussing the historical development of programs. The main body of the chapter considers the primary benefits and users of simulation programs, looks at the role of simulation in the construction process and examines the validity and interpretation of simulation results. The latter half of the chapter looks at program selection and discusses software capability, product characteristics, input data and output formats. The inclusion of a case study demonstrates the simulation procedure and key concepts. Finally, the chapter closes with a sight into the future, commenting on the development of simulation capability, user interfaces and how simulation will continue to empower building professionals as society faces new challenges in a rapidly changing landscape.
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