The importance of energy analysis in building design is increasing rapidly. Lynn Bellenger, the president of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), is also putting a big emphasis on energy analysis. The central theme for the very first ASHRAE energy modeling conference is “modeling a sustainable world.”
ASHRAE hosted its first building energy modeling conference in early
April in Atlanta, GA. Glumac sent one member of their energy analysis team, Ross Farris, to represent the firm. As there were representatives from some of the top energy analysis groups in the industry, it was important for Glumac to have its presence known. Ross spent the three days with an intense mission of learning as much as possible about the advancements in the energy modeling industry with the intent of relaying all of the new findings to the rest of the energy analysis team. Ross also spent time strengthening relationships with software developers and the national laboratories to make sure that Glumac is in a position to aid with new advancements in the energy modeling industry. Glumac is passionate about its stance to help advance the energy modeling industry, with the ultimate goal of providing its clients with the highest caliber of energy analysis.
The conference program focused on comprehending, managing and maximizing the efficiency in building design choices through the use of building energy modeling and computer-aided building simulation. The keynote speakers were Bellenger of ASHRAE and William J. Worthen , the AIA National Director and Resource Architect for Sustainability, accompanied by energy modeling specialists from various engineering firms, software developers and national research laboratories.
Mixed-use residential energy simulation using eQuest v3.64
The sessions touched on a wide array of topics including the impact of a model’s input data, how to model within the constraints of industry-wide standards, and the US Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System. One of the most interesting features of the conference was the panel discussion between representatives from five major energy analysis software companies: Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) Virtual Environment, EnergyPlus, TRNSYS, Trane TRACE and eQuest. The discussion topics were based on different aspects of the built environment, such as dedicated outdoor air systems, daylighting, and solar thermal applications. It was apparent that each of the software companies had benefits and limitations depending on what was being modeled; no one program was superior for every part of modeling the built environment.
Civic building daylighting analysis using Ecotect
In addition to the panel discussion, there were software demonstrations from Graphisoft, Trane, Bentley, IES and Autodesk. Each presentation highlighted the newest and most energy efficient products that each company had to offer. The modeling tools available today and those in development are reaching astounding levels of sophistication. The adaptability for one program to read another’s data is enhancing the ability to use multiple programs to model different aspects of a project is gaining efficiency.
The conference ended with a town hall discussion hosted by the Department of Energy (DOE). The meeting was intended to launch the basic instructions for EnergyPlus, OpenStudio (a plug-in to use with Google SketchUp), EPGUI (EnergyPlus’s new Graphic User Interface) and other tools, as well as to introduce formal channels for public input and collaboration on these matters. These new developments from the DOE will likely become deeply rooted in the future energy modeling world.