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Type: Journal article
Title: Predicting building performance: The ethics of computer simulation
Author: Williamson, T.
Citation: Building Research and Information: the international journal of research, development and demonstration, 2010; 38(4):401-410
Publisher: E & FN Spon
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0961-3218
Statement of
T. J. Williamson
Abstract: A responsible architect or engineer taking sustainable design seriously will aim to create a built environment that exhibits cohesion in the contexts of environmental, social/cultural, and technological realms. In addition, the very notion of sustainability extends an actual (or implied) duty of care to peoples and environments now and into the future. Advanced computer simulation of environmental and technological performance offers one way of tackling this obligation. However, claims about simulation can lead to a spurious impression of accuracy and therefore legitimacy. Likewise, inappropriate applications of simulation may result in wrong decisions and an erroneous allocation of resources. Almost all discussions of the validity of computer simulation for decision-making focus on its quantitative accuracy; however, the problems addressed are often far from well defined. Two concepts from the social sciences, 'trustworthiness' and a taxonomy of 'ignorance', are introduced as ways of assessing the appropriate use of simulation. Simulation applications should not be seen as surrogates of reality and interpreted as logical answers to substantive problems. Although simulations have potency as perspectives to support wise human judgements, a more mature approach is needed when applying these tools and outputs to decision-making.
Keywords: building performance
sustainable design
Rights: © 2010 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2010.481204
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Appears in Collections:Architecture publications
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