Green Design

Updated Energy Efficiency Modeling Software Programs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released updated versions of its EnergyPlus simulation software and OpenStudio Plug-in for Google SketchUp, which help engineers and architects design better functioning, more energy-efficient buildings.

EnergyPlus, an energy analysis and thermal load simulation program, models heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, and other building energy flows for commercial and residential buildings. DOE's OpenStudio Plug-in makes it possible to perform EnergyPlus simulations using Google’s 3-D drawing interface, modeling design elements and their impact on energy use. The newest release is updated to work with EnergyPlus 6.0 and Google SketchUp 8.0.

EnergyPlus 6.0 offers numerous enhancements over the previous version of the program:

  • 25% - 40% reduction in execution time for most simulations
  • new low-energy example files
  • modeling of carbon dioxide concentrations in zone air
  • improved HVAC capabilities
  • enhanced modeling for refrigeration condensers
  • new controls functionality
  • new life cycle cost calculations

(DOE)