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DOE Energy Efficiency Program Revamped

Monday, November 4, 2013

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Designers looking to effectively integrate energy-efficient technologies into their projects may benefit from a newly upgraded simulation program from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE Building Technologies Office announced the V8.1 upgrade to the free EnergyPlus program Thursday (Oct. 31).

EnergyPlus, first launched in 2001, is a whole-building energy simulation program that allows engineers, architects, and researchers to model energy and water use in buildings before they are constructed, according to the agency.

Building modeling

The EnergyPlus program is billed as the "most powerful predictor of a building's energy efficiency," by the Department of Energy. The system was recently upgraded to include improved features.

Specifically, the program enables users enter design characteristics into the system in order to model heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, other energy flows and water use.

New Features

New features of the version 8.1 program, listed in full here, include improvements in a number of categories including windows and daylighting, documentation and guides, and controls and user functions.

EnergyPlus 8.1 further includes many innovative simulation capabilities: time-steps less than an hour, modular systems and plant integrated with heat balance-based zone simulation, multizone air flow, thermal comfort, water use, natural ventilation, and photovoltaic systems.

The program runs on the Windows, Macintosh and Linux platforms.

Free add-ons and other third-party software products are also available for use with EnergyPlus.

DOE says that the free program has been downloaded in more than 120 countries and used in the design of such buildings as the San Francisco Federal Building.


Tagged categories: Building design software; Building Envelope; Design; Energy efficiency; Government; Software; Solar energy; U.S. Department of Energy

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