Paper Conference

2018 Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild co-organized by ASHRAE and IBPSA-USA


A Simplified Energy Modeling Approach for Buildings

Chris Baker, Supriya Goel, Nora Wang, Michael Rosenberg, Doug Wolf, Paul Henderson
The Weidt Group, Minnetonka, MN
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA

Abstract: This paper introduces simplified energy modeling (SEM) approaches using DOE2 and EnergyPlus and proposes a validation method for simplified energy modeling. Simplified energy modeling can allow more design teams and owners to leverage the power of energy modeling to inform their designs and lead to greater energy savings and a lower first cost because the technologies and design strategies can be thoroughly tested against models before the decisions are made. By starting a discussion on how to develop simplified energy modeling approaches and methods to validate results, we hope to increase innovation in energy modeling software while decreasing variation between modelers. Simplified modeling is not yet widely accepted because it is unclear if the simplifications reduce the accuracy of the results. By starting an industry dialogue on a testing method for these modeling approaches, we hope to aid adoption of more streamlined tools when they can be shown to provide similar accuracy to more detailed tools. This paper discusses the need and advantages of a SEM approach and proposes a method to test simplified energy modeling programs against the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) prototype buildings. It builds on the testing procedure established for simulation engines by ASHRAE Standard 140. By comparing whole building and end use results from the accepted prototype buildings to any simplified modeling approach across multiple building types and climate zones we can determine if the simplifications create unwarranted error. We will present the SEM approach and results for a case study validation for a sample building types in 16 US climate zones from two such simplified energy modeling tools we can determine if simplifications create unacceptable and unwarranted error. This paper does not intend to wholly validate any given SEM tool, but to lay out a path for validating SEM tools generally.
Pages: 53 - 59