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Software Tools for Architects Get Upgrade

Monday, April 24, 2017

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The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Labs announced they have released updated versions of the EnergyPlus engine and the OpenStudio software development kit and application.

Photos: U.S. Department of Energy, Public Domain via Flickr

The Department of Energy and the National Labs say the tools allow architects to rapidly and automatically explore and compare variations in lighting, shading, envelope and window constructions.

The releases are open-source, whole-building energy modeling tools. The Department of Energy and the National Labs say the tools allow architects to rapidly and automatically explore and compare variations in lighting, shading, envelope and window constructions.

They also note that the new versions of these programs detect other performance-critical variables around a central design concept and optimize for energy efficiency, comfort and cost.

The EnergyPlus on Windows 7 & 8: 32- and 64-bit versions; Linux (Ubuntu 14.04 and compatible) 64-bit versions; and Mac OSX 10.9 64-bit versions. The revamp also includes resolutions and fixes to 50 bugs and issues, such as:

  • new features to support residential modeling, including an attic duct model and the Kiva ground heat exchange model;
  • support for non-rectangular windows;
  • a new generalized fan model;
  • enhanced plant auto-sizing;
  • full support for variable speed DX coils;
  • regular expression support in output variables for easier report generation; and
  • a refactored output module for improved performance.

Program Face-Lift

According to the Department of Energy and the National Labs, OpenStudio 2.1.0 has a completely revamped Parametric Analysis Tool (PAT) application. The interface was rewritten in JavaScript to leverage the browser-based Electron framework.

The new versions of these programs detect other performance-critical variables around a central design concept and optimize for energy efficiency, comfort and cost.

The two designers note that the back end also uses the new OpenStudio 2.0 Server architecture, including OpenStudio Command Line Interface (CLI), OpenStudio Meta-CLI, and the OpenStudio Workflow (OSW) and OpenStudio Analysis (OSA) file formats. The new PAT supports both local and cloud-based execution and adds support for “algorithmic” workflows, such as:

  • uncertainty quantification,
  • design optimization,
  • large-scale parametric analysis and
  • model input calibration.

Each of the supports can automatically generate large numbers of runs, but use of the new file formats means that the new PAT is not compatible with PAT 1.X projects.

More information DOE’s energy modeling software and research projects, visit energy.gov.

   

Tagged categories: Architecture; Building design software; Commercial / Architectural; Energy efficiency; PPG; Software

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