Colorado: Energy Modeling Products Support Energy Efficiency Projects

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Automation technology reduces utility program management costs, enabling utilities to take on more projects—and obtain more energy savings—with the same budget.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Partners: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Xcel Energy, and Concept3D
EERE Investment:Technical Assistance
Clean Energy Sector: Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturingPDF

Xcel Energy, a Minnesota-based utility that supplies electricity and natural gas to eight states, employed two EERE-developed products in developing a program management tool for its Energy Design Assistance (EDA) program. Through EDA, Xcel provides energy consulting services to construction projects to encourage efficient energy use.

Xcel’s new tool, the Energy Design Assistance Program Tracker (EDAPT), tracks and manages projects, performs automated quality checks of energy model designs, and generates project documentation and reports. EDAPT employs the EnergyPlus™ energy simulation engine, which provides state-of-the-art calculations of building energy consumption, and OpenStudio™, a software development kit that simplifies the creation of end-user applications using EnergyPlus.

Both EnergyPlus and OpenStudio are open-source products developed by EERE. In fiscal year 2013, EERE invested $500,000 in enhancements, which included measures or model transformation scripts and the OpenStudio Parametric Analysis Tool. This leveraged investment helped form the basis of EDAPT. Xcel estimates that EDAPT will reduce its program administration costs by 20%, freeing up about $500,000 each year for additional energy efficiency projects. Thanks in part to the savings achieved by EDAPT, Xcel expects to provide assistance to 90 projects in 2014, up from 70 in 2013. EERE is working with Xcel to share EDAPT with other utilities so they can realize similar savings.

The Building Technologies Office leads a vast network of research and industry partners to continually develop innovative, cost-effective energy saving solutions—better products, better new homes, better ways to improve older homes, and better buildings in which we work, shop, and lead our everyday lives.

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