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Ultra wide band (UWB) impulse radio systems are appealing for location-aware applications. There is a growing interest in the design of UWB transceivers with reduced complexity and power consumption. Non-coherent approaches for the design of the receiver based on energy detection schemes seem suitable to this aim and have been adopted in the project the preliminary results of which are reported in this paper. The objective is the design of a UWB receiver with a top-down methodology, starting from Matlab-like models and refining the description down to the final transistor level. This goal will be achieved with an integrated use of VHDL for the digital blocks and VHDL-AMS for the mixed-signal and analog circuits. Coherent results are obtained using VHDL-AMS and Matlab. However, the CPU time cost strongly depends on the description used in the VHDL-AMS models. In order to show the functionality of the UWB architecture, the receiver most critical functions are simulated showing results in good agreement with the expectations.