Paper Conference

Proceedings of SimBuild Conference 2012: 5th conference of IBPSA USA


Scripted Building Energy Modeling and Analysis

Elaine Hale, Daniel Macumber, Kyle Benne, David Goldwasser
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Abstract: Building energy modeling and analysis is currently a time-intensive, error-prone, and nonreproducible process. From mundane file management tasks, to repeated entry of model parameters, to the application of often-used design transformations, to the execution of large-scale analyses, workflow automation via userdefined scripts has the potential to reduce costs and improve the quality of energy modeling. Many sophisticated building energy modelers already know this and regularly create various scripts to automate portions of their workflows; however, each practitioner must create custom solutions from scratch, which lead to new inefficiencies and potential errors. This paper describes the scripting platform of the OpenStudio tool suite ( and demonstrates its use in several contexts. Two classes of scripts are described and demonstrated: measures and free-form scripts. Measures are small, single-purpose scripts that conform to a predefined interface. Because measures are fairly simple, they can be written or modified by inexperienced programmers. Because measures have a known interface, they can be shared among users and selected for use at several places in the OpenStudio tool chain. We demonstrate the use of measures in an interactive mode from the OpenStudio SketchUp plug-in and in a noninteractive mode from the OpenStudio application. More experienced users can design and write free-form scripts to automate their work. We demonstrate the advantages of conducting large-scale analysis using free-form scripts through a case study. Finally, a vision for future work in which measures are shared through online libraries is described.
Pages: 369 - 376