Paper Conference

Proceedings of BSO Conference 2022: 6th Conference of IBPSA-England


Developing an Open Access Plugin for Urban Building Energy Modelling in QGIS

Shyam Amrith 1, Arygios Oraiopoulos 1, Ivan Korolija 2, Pamela Jane Fennell 1
1 Energy Institute, University College London, London, UK
2 Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, University College London, London, UK

Abstract: Urban Building Energy Modelling has gained in- creased recognition over the past years, with many research teams developing custom modelling suites that can be used for numerous applications. How- ever, in many cases the licensing costs, lack of trans- parency, the reduced capabilities of selected compu- tational methods as well as the necessity for advanced computing skills, have restricted the wider uptake and utilisation of various developed programmes, es- pecially in regions of the Global South and more specifically in low- and middle-income countries in South America and Southern Asia. This work presents the first stages in the development of a freely available, open-source tool, able to per- form dynamic thermal simulations of a large number of buildings, using a state of the art modelling engine within a user-friendly interface. The novel SimStock plugin for QGIS is able to run multiple EnergyPlus simulations through a customised Python script, for large numbers of buildings, by supporting the view- ing, editing and analysis of input and output data in a geospatial format. A key feature of the tool is its ability to work with differing levels of detail in the re- quired input data and therefore overcome a significant barrier to access for UBEMs in the Global South. This paper outlines the approach and the key com- ponents of the tool and further presents its applica- tion on two case studies, a densely populated building block in Lima, Peru, and a residential area in the city of Ahmedabad in India. By bringing the latest devel- opments in UBEM to the context of the Global South, this work contributes to the continuous efforts for im- proving the aspects of inclusiveness, transparency and reproducibility in this field.
Keywords: Open-Source Modelling, UBEM, EnergyPlus