Contrasting the capabilities of building energy performance simulation programs

Drury B. Crawleya, Jon W. Handb, Michaël Kummertc, Brent T. Griffithd


For the past 50 years, a wide variety of building energy simulation programs have been developed, enhanced and are in use throughout the building energy community. This paper is an overview of a report, which provides up-to-date comparison of the features and capabilities of twenty major building energy simulation programs. The comparison is based on information provided by the program developers in the following categories: general modeling features; zone loads; building envelope and daylighting and solar; infiltration, ventilation and multizone airflow; renewable energy systems; electrical systems and equipment; HVAC systems; HVAC equipment; environmental emissions; economic evaluation; climate data availability, results reporting; validation; and user interface, links to other programs, and availability.

Tobias Maile, Martin Fischer & Vladimir Bazjanac


Energy simulation tools are increasingly used for analysis of energy performance of buildings and the thermal comfort of their occupants. This paper describes a selection of energy simulation engines and user interfaces that are capable of these analyses today. Specifically, it discusses the usage of these tools over different life-cycle stages. Besides a brief overview about energy simulation concepts, the paper illustrates each tool’s strengths and weaknesses as well as its data exchange capabilities. Given the significant variety of such energy simulation tools, it is crucial to understand limitations of the tools and the complexity of such simulations. The reliability of data exchange and straightforward, user-friendly interfaces are major aspects of the practical usage of these tools. Due to the huge amount of input data and the availability of rich 3D geometry models effective data exchange and software interfaces are crucial to enable faster and more reliable energy performance simulation analysis.

Comparison of Steady-State and Dynamic Building Energy Simulation Programs

Jeroen Van der Veken, Dirk Saelens, Ph.D., Griet Verbeeck, Hugo Hens, Ph.D.


This paper presents the results of a comparison between EPW (Energie Prestatie Wetgeving, i.e., the new calculation method of the Flemish Energy Performance Regulation) and two transient building energy simulation programs: TRNSYS and ESP-r. The Energy Performance Regulation and the three calculation programs are described and their calculated net energy demands are compared to each other and to experimental data from a co-heating test. Considering the steady-state nature of the EPW model, the results of this research are very promising.

Michael Pollock, Ya Roderick, David McEwan, Craig Wheatley

Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited, West ofScotland Science Park, Glasgow, G20 0SP, U.K.


Decisions made in the very first stages of a building’s design often have a ignificant impact on energy efficiency and internal environment of the building. Although many buildings have energy efficiency strategies embedded in their conceptual design, it is seldom that these concepts would be fully analysed at the initial design stages. In this paper, a case study based on current IES office building is presented as an example to explore an approach, which uses building simulation technology to evaluate a variety of envelope thermal characteristics and low carbon technologies in an integrated manner at the early design stage in order to assist the delivery of a sustainable green office building with a high rating of energy performance. To be able to achieve these aims, a building energysimulation software IES Virtual Environment (VE) is used to conduct a series of sensitivity analysison a set of design parameters which have good prospects of influencing the building performance. The parameters include the building orientation, construction, natural ventilation scheme integratedwith window type and opening area, shading devices and how they are positioned, daylighting, heating strategy. The daylighting calculation is conducted by using the Radiance module implemented in the IES VE. Additionally, an overheating analysis is performed to examine the thermal comfort within the whole office building. Finally, the paper discusses how each parameter interacts with one another and influences they have on the building’s performance to determine the effectiveness for the optimum design solutions of comfortable and energy efficient buildings


Real-Time Optimization Strategies for Building Systems

Victor M. Zavala

We analyze different optimization strategies for real-time energy management in building systems. We have found that exploiting building-wide multivariable interactions between CO2, humidity, pressure, occupancy, and temperature leads to significant reductions of energy intensity. Our analysis indicates that it is possible to obtain energy savings of more than 50% compared with traditional control strategies. The exploitation of the thermal comfort zone has been found to be the most relevant factor driving energy savings. We discuss strategies to handle multiple competing objectives as well as economic functions and we analyze financial incentives provided by real-time prices and existing market designs. Numerical experiments are provided to support the claims.


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