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Energy Plus

This week Julio and I started looking into Energy Plus as a tool to analyze the energy demand for the 2009 Solar Decathlon House. Energy Plus is available through a free download on the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website. This software centers around the heat flows inside of a house. Energy Plus offers a free lesson plan for a professor to teach this software to undergraduate students. It is a very elaborate set of powerpoints that go into the details of the different simulations that can be performed using Energy Plus.

Energy Plus’s main strength is that the creators of the software know their limitations. Energy plus is more of a base program, with user interfaces available for easier access. The tutorials state that using the program directly can be somewhat tedious, and the files can become cumbersome. These user interfaces can alleviate some of these issues.

When it comes to the actual simulation work there are some unique features such as a sub-hourly time step analysis. Again, if a technique is widely accepted, such as the Window 5 Methodology, it has been integrated into this program.

The next step is to start going through the tutorials for this program. It may be worthwhile to see if there is a free user interface for Energy Plus. In the meantime taking a look at the base software should give us a good idea of its capabilities and what sort of information is needed to accurately model the house.

Julio Mayen
Charles Murray


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