EnergyPlus Add-Ons

Graphic representation of how various add-ons work with EnergyPlus. In the center is EnergyPlus. Going into EnergyPlus is, from left to right, Web Interface, OpenStudio, and Weather Data. Coming out of EnergyPlus is ResultsViewer. Finally, the image shows OpenStudio interfacing with SketchUp. EnergyPlus Web Interface OpenStudio Plug-in Weather Data SketchUp EnergyPlus OpenStudio Application Suite

The products below all work with EnergyPlus to improve overall functionality.

Additional Release Components

In order to limit the size of the EnergyPlus installer, various utilities and minor updates from the EnergyPlus development team are available as separate downloads from the EnergyPlus helpdesk. These include items such as transition utilities for past releases, California TDV data files, text editor syntax files, and other tools.

EnergyPlus Example File Generator

A Web-based service is available that creates and runs EnergyPlus input files for simple models of commercial buildings. The input files (and annual results summary files) are sent to your e-mail address as attachments. You can access the service and customize the characteristics of the building you want to model using the EnergyPlus Example File Generator. Learn more by viewing the EnergyPlus Building Data Input Forms Help File.

OpenStudio Application Suite

The OpenStudio Application Suite is a cross-platform collection of software tools to support whole building energy modeling using EnergyPlus and advanced daylight analysis using Radiance. OpenStudio is an open source project, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to facilitate community development, extension, and private sector adoption. OpenStudio includes graphical interfaces, including an updated SketchUp Plug-in, along with a Software Development Kit.

Legacy OpenStudio Plug-in for SketchUp

The Legacy OpenStudio Plug-in works with the SketchUp 3D drawing program. This free plug-in makes it easy to create and edit the building geometry in your EnergyPlus input files. The Legacy OpenStudio Plug-in also allows you to launch EnergyPlus simulations and view the results without leaving SketchUp.

OpenStudio ResultsViewer

OpenStudio ResultsViewer displays EnergyPlus output in a graphical format. This program is now included as part of the OpenStudio Application Suite.

Weather Data

Download weather data that works with EnergyPlus. Weather data is critical to the accuracy of your building model. The weather data is available for regions throughout the world.

Modelica Buildings Library

The Modelica Buildings library is a free open-source library with dynamic simulation models for building energy and control systems. The library contains models for air-based HVAC systems, water-based heating systems, controls, heat transfer among rooms and the outside, and multizone airflow, including natural ventilation and contaminant transport. The primary use of the library is for flexible and fast modeling of building energy and control systems to accelerate innovation leading to cost-effective very low energy systems for new and existing buildings. The library is particularly suited for rapid prototyping of new building systems, analysis of the operation of existing building systems, development, specification, verification and deployment of building controls within a model-based design process, and reuse of models during operation for functional testing, for verification of control sequences, for energy-minimizing controls, fault detection and diagnostics.

Building Controls Virtual Test Bed

The Building Controls Virtual Test Bed (BCVTB) is a software environment that allows expert users to couple different simulation programs for co-simulation, and to couple simulation programs with actual hardware. For example, the BCVTB allows to simulate a building in EnergyPlus and the HVAC and control system in Modelica, while exchanging data between the software as they simulate. The BCVTB is based on the Ptolemy II software environment. The BCVTB allows expert users of simulation to expand the capabilities of individual programs by linking them to other programs. Due to the different programs that may be involved in distributed simulation, familiarity with configuring programs is essential. Programs that are linked to the BCVTB include

  • the EnergyPlus whole building energy simulation program,
  • the Modelica modeling and simulation environment Dymola,
  • the MATLAB and Simulink tools for scientific computing,
  • the Radiance ray-tracing software for lighting analysis,
  • the BACnet stack, which allows exchanging data with BACnet compliant Building Automation System (BAS),
  • the analog/digital interface USB-1208LS from Measurement Computing Corporation that can be connected to a USB port.
In addition to using programs that are coupled to Ptolemy II, Ptolemy II's graphical modeling environment can also be used to define models for control systems, for physical devices, for communication systems or for post-processing and real-time visualization. Typical applications of the BCVTB include:
  • performance assessment of integrated building energy and controls systems,
  • development of new controls algorithms, and
  • formal verification of controls algorithms prior to deployment in a building in order to reduce commissioning time.

Other Tools for EnergyPlus

Many third party tools exist that work with EnergyPlus. These include user interfaces and tools for creating EnergyPlus input files.