Efficient Energy Software Tools For Building Professionals

THE AIA 2030 CHALLEGE  Buildings are the major source of global demand for energy (40%of total energy and consume 70% of electricity) and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Slowing the growth rate of GHG emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change and keeping global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Nonprofit research and educational foundation aiming to foster efficient and sustainable use of resources.
Building Science Corporation (Email sign up at base gives good information)
The Obama-Biden Comprehensive New Energy for America Plan
 Sustainable Cities:
The American Planners Association
Atlanta Urban Land Institute

Free Software Sites

eQUEST the QUick Energy Simulation Tool
http://doe2.com/equest/ US Department of Energy
Imagine a building energy simulation tool comprehensive enough to be useful to ALL design team members, yet so intuitive ANY design team member could use it, in ANY or ALL design phases...

University of CA, LA (UCLA) Site with HEED and Climate Consultant
http://www.energy-design-tools.aud.ucla.edu/ All our Energy Design Tools are fast, easy to use, and highly graphic. Each has a built-in demonstration. Each program has an automatic INSTALL routine or a READ.ME file explaining how to use it. HEED and Climate Consultant run on both Macs and PCs. Our other tools run on computers with Windows 98 or higher unless stated otherwise.Our Energy Design Tools are not copy protected and we encourage you to share copies with others, providing that the Regents Copyright and the Terms of Use remain unaltered. Uses EPW- EnergyPlus Weather Data, link below.
Chhaya(means Shade in Hindi)

Chhaya 2.0© is an Excel based design tool that helps designers optimize glazing size and orientation, shading and natural ventilation to extend the period that the building can run passively. It uses TMY2 weather data and a series of interactive matrices to help the user come up with optimal design solutions.

Department of Energy (DOE)
Building Energy Software Tools Directory
This directory provides information on 392 building software tools for evaluating energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability in buildings. The energy tools listed in this directory include databases, spreadsheets, component and systems analyses, and whole-building energy performance simulation programs. A short description is provided for each tool along with other information including expertise required, users, audience, input, output, computer platforms, programming language, strengths, weaknesses, technical contact, and availability.

Department of Energy (DOE)
Visual DOE (DOE-2.1e) or EQUEST ( DOE-2.2)
This site is the place where you can obtain information and products from the developers of DOE-2 and DOE-2 based products including eQUEST.

EPW- EnergyPlus Weather Data
You can download climate data for thousands of locations around the world at the EnergyPlus web site. See READ-EPW for details.

Commercial Lighting Solutions
The Commercial Lighting Solutions provide actionable "how to" guidance on ways to improve your building interior lighting efficiency and reduce your energy consumption, without compromising quality design criteria. Strategies include the use of high performance commercially available products, daylighting, and lighting controls, all within the context of integrated designs supported by performance specifications

Build It Solar-The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers
Solar Position, Sun Charts, Solar Climatic, Collector Orientation... Tools that give sun position, climatic data for solar design, and radiation on a solar collector. Tools to design window overhangs.

SketchupGoGreen Menu Items

Designing Shading Overhangs with Google SketchUp Plugins Building Performance Analysis

  • (Not Free) IES-VE (Integrated Environmental Solutions-Virtual Environment) SketchUp plugin
    Utube Movie
    White Papers
    The IES VE SketchUp plugin allows you to assign important sustainable design information like location, building type, room type, construction types and HVAC systems to a SketchUp model and then import it directly into an IES tool for analysis, without having to re-build any geometry.
  • OpenStudio Sketchup Plugin
    Last updated: November 2008
    The OpenStudio Plugin adds the building energy simulation capabilities of EnergyPlus to the SketchUp environment. It allows you to create, edit and view EnergyPlus input files within SketchUp. Add as much extra detail as you need to zones and surfaces. The plugin also allows users to launch EnergyPlus simulations and view the results from within SketchUp.

($1449.00) Design Builder Software
DesignBuilder is a visual interface for the US Department of Energy’s whole building energy simulation software EnergyPlus (EnergyPlus 2010) Offers products ranging from the whole building energy simulation tools EFEN (for fenestration) and DesignBuilder, which incorporate the EnergyPlus simulation engine, to the family of software tools for modeling building facades and fenestration systems.
A simple tool mainly appropriate for parametric studies in the early design stages. But it is however pretty accurate for many scenarios.
Daylight Simulation Software/Guides
(for demonstrationg compliance under LEED Indoor Environmental Quality credit 8.1 certification )

DaySim 3.0 (Beta Testing)
Scientific study by the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and Harvard Grad School of Design for Sustainable Design: http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/research/gsdsquare/Presentations/Radiance%20WS2009_DaysimInnovations_CReinhart.pdf

DIVA-FOR-RHINO (DaySim, Plugin)
DIVA-for-Rhino is a sustainable design plug-in for the Rhinoceros - NURBS modeling for Windows application. The plug-in has been developed by Christoph Reinhart, Alstan Jakubiec, Kera Lagios and Jeff Niemasz at the the GSD-Squared research initiative at Harvard University and allows users to carry out a series of performance evaluations of individual buildings and urban landscapes.

Advanced Light Studies
http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/academic/mdes/sustainability.htm http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/research/gsdsquare/projects.html

3DSMax 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 (uses EnergyPlus Weather Data)
Here is an article with scientifically compared light studies in Radiance/Daysim and 3DMax expedited by the National Research Council Canada (NRC). Both lighting simulations come fairly close to the benchmarks set in an identical real space, see pages 15-17. The new 3ds Max Design 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 includes new technology for simulating and analyzing sun, sky and artificial lighting to assist with LEED Indoor Environmental Quality credit 8.1 certification (from LEED Reference Guide: Submittals … Provide area calculations that define the daylight zones and provide a summary of daylight factor prediction calculations through manual methods or a summary of computer simulations illustrating that the footcandle levels have been achieved). The new Exposure technology included in 3ds Max 2009 Design provides output not only as rendered images but as numerical data (downloadable as Excel data), representing the distribution of light intensity across space. Update: 3ds Max now supports EnergyPlus weather files which are available from the U.S. Department of Energy. This weather data is available for 1042 locations in the USA, 71 locations in Canada, and more than 1000 locations in 100 other countries throughout the world. You can load those *.epw files that are based on measured information to get actual weather averages to generate the sky conditions.
Tutorial: http://3dsmaxrendering.blogspot.com/2008/08/max-2009-lighting-analysis.html

Whole Building Design Guide for Daylighting
A Program of the National Institute of Building Sciences
Daylighting is the controlled admission of natural light into a space through windows to reduce or eliminate electric lighting. By providing a direct link to the dynamic and perpetually evolving patterns of outdoor illumination, daylighting helps create a visually stimulating and productive environment for building occupants, while reducing as much as one-third of total building energy costs.

Energy Efficient News and Publication Sites

(Buildings under 100,000 ft²)
Ashrae Advanced Energy Design Guides Free Download

http://www.ashrae.org/publications/page/1604 ASHRAE has developed a series of Advanced Energy Design Guides focused on Small Offices, Small Retail Buildings, Warehouses and K-12 Schools. These Guides contain prescriptive compliance paths that can be used to meet EA Prerequisite 2 and provide 1 point under EA Credit 1.

(Buildings under 100,000 ft²)
New Building Institute's Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guidehttp://www.advancedbuildings.net/
The New Building Institute's Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guide provides prescriptive options for larger buildings (up to 100,000 ft², excluding health care facilities, warehouses and laboratories). Meeting Core Performance Guide requirements can provide 1-3 points under EA Credit 1. Thermal modeling must be used for buildings larger than 100,000 square feet, for certain types of buildings, and whenever more than 3 points under EA Credit 1 is needed.

Whole Building Design Guide-A Program of the National Institute of Building Sciences
The Gateway to Up-To-Date Information on Integrated 'Whole Building' Design Techniques and Technologies With over 500,000 users downloading 4 million documents per month The goal of 'Whole Building' Design is to create a successful high-performance building by applying an integrated design and team approach to the project during the planning and programming phases.

Full state of GREEN business coverage specifically for buildings (Green Biz).

Energy Efficient Software Discussion Sites

Discussions to improve building performance with energy simulation programs.

BLDG-SIM is a mailing list for users of building energy simulation programs. Building energy simulation programs allow users to estimate the energy use and operating cost of residential, commercial and other types of buildings. This allows engineers, architects and others in the building design trade to compare alternative designs and select the design that is cost justified. They are frequently used during the design process when choosing between alternatives in the components that make up a building including insulation level, heating and cooling distribution systems, furnaces, boilers and air conditioning equipment.
Since the users of building energy simulation programs are spread across the world, this mailing list is an attempt to foster the development of a community of those users. Experienced and inexperienced users of building energy simulation programs are welcome and are expected to share their questions and insights about these programs.