This article describes research conducted to gather empirical evidence on size, character and content of the option space in building design projects. This option space is the key starting point for the work of any climate engineer using building performance simulation who is supporting the design process. The underlying goal is to strengthen the role of advanced computing in building design, especially in the early conceptual stage, through a better integration of building performance simulation tools augmented with uncertainty analysis and sensitivity analysis. Better integration will need to assist design rather than automate design, allowing a spontaneous, creative and flexible process that acknowledges the expertise of the design team members. This research investigates and contrasts emergent option spaces and their inherent uncertainties in an artificial setting (student design studios) and in real-life scenarios (commercial design project case studies). The findings provide empirical evidence of the high variability of the option space that can be subjected to uncertainty analysis and sensitivity analysis.