The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
Energy Modeling Comparison
This report is concerning a comparative study of energy modeling software platforms for accuracy and accessibility (ease of use) in informed housing design and construction.  The test bed for this study are two prototypical workforce-housing units that are part of a larger 13-unit development designed and built to achieve 50% greater energy efficiency than a code standard house.  The units were instrumented, monitored and measured for performance over a season for passive strategies, high R-enclosure, geothermal, PV and solar hot water systems for their contribution to the holistic energy efficiency. Under the BSA grant, the researchers modeled/simulated the houses to compare the energy performance measured to actual energy performance in order to determine the software accuracy.  In addition to accuracy, the software is being qualitatively evaluated for accessibility or ease of use.  The following energy modeling programs are being assessed and compared:  E-Quest DOE-2, Passive House Planning Package 2010, REM/Rate, and Energy 10.

The results of this comparative analysis illustrate from most impacting of accuracy to least: degree of expertise of the modeler; assumptions of – climate data, occupancy number & schedule, appliance gain & schedule, lighting gain & schedule, ground temperatures, infiltration rates, thermostat set-points and schedule, and HVAC coefficient of performance and schedule, and finally modules that include or exclude specific systems such as PV, SHW, GSHP and SIPs. The accessibility is nearly the inverse of accuracy.  The amount of time to input the data and become proficient in modeling determined the comparative accessibility from most accessible – least excluding REM/RATE:  Energy-10, PHPP 2010, E-Quest, Energy Plus.

Full Report Download HERE.

Links to related studies:
Snow Creek Energy Monitoring

Benchmark Rating Comparison

Sponsors:
Department of Energy BA
Boston Society of Architects Grant