DOE Releases New Version of EnergyPlus Modeling Software
December 07, 2011
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the latest version of its building energy modeling software EnergyPlus, which calculates the energy required to heat, cool, ventilate, and light a building. EnergyPlus is used by architects and engineers to design more efficient buildings, by researchers to investigate new building and system designs, and by policymakers to develop energy codes and standards. The advanced physics calculations within EnergyPlus allows it to model a wide range of residential and commercial buildings and HVAC system types, including passive building designs and low-energy systems. EnergyPlus v7.0 features many enhancements including:
- 25%-40% faster execution speeds on a wide variety of models. Up to 500% improvements are possible on models using airflow networks
- Improved modeling of ventilation rate procedures based on ASHRAE 62.1
- A new thermal comfort report, both based on ASHRAE Standard 55.1
- New equipment performance data sets for packaged rooftop air-conditioners and heat pumps
- New model for variable refrigerant flow heat pump air-conditioners
- Extensions to the Energy Management System (EMS) and Runtime Language
- Updated utilities.
Autodesk contributes speedup code
For the past several years, DOE has emphasized EnergyPlus execution speed in an effort to reduce analysis time for architects and engineers and allow them to perform additional design iterations. EnergyPlus v7.0 is 25%-40% faster than EnergyPlus v6.0 and twice as fast as EnergyPlus v4.0, and it has significantly more capabilities.
This latest speed increase was made possible in part by a code donation from Autodesk Inc. By focusing on the simulation speed of large models that can take hours to run, Autodesk identified ways of speeding up key computations within EnergyPlus related to temperature and humidity calculations, schedule tracking, and output reporting, and shared these improvements with DOE and the EnergyPlus development team.
EnergyPlus: A key part of DOE’s building energy-efficiency strategy
Building Energy Modeling (BEM) is a key technology that helps achieve DOE’s mission of significantly reducing energy consumption in new buildings and retrofits. In addition to helping architects and engineers find low-energy building designs, BEM is used in the development of building energy efficiency codes and standards, in the creation of energy design guides, in certification of building energy performance, and more. In addition to supporting EnergyPlus, DOE supports basic building science research, BEM training and education, and a number of initiatives related to BEM standards, productivity, and fidelity. DOE is committed to making its BEM projects, including EnergyPlus, more market-facing and productive, as well as to addressing other technical, procedural, and educational BEM barriers.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) invests in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about EERE’s support of energy-efficient building technologies.