Whole building energy simulation, also referred to as energy modeling, can and should be incorporated early during project planning to provide energy impact feedback for which design considerations may be pursued. Whole building energy simulation software adequately assesses the interactions between complex building systems and equally complex schedules and utility rates structures for projects in specific locations throughout the world.
Energy models incorporate actual building construction, internal load sources, and associated schedules using annual hourly weather data specific to the project location. These models can be used early in the design process when little information is known and updated, continually reflecting and evaluating strategies throughout the design process. When selecting members of the design team to preform these simulations, it is important that they have not only demonstrated familiarity with the software but are also capable of addressing, incorporating, and simulating systems, such as renewable energy, that are not well represented in any given simulation program.
Depending on the complexity of the project, various simulation programs may be used throughout the design process. While a primary whole building simulation program, such as Energy Plus or DOE-2, may be used, other programs specially developed to simulate strategies like daylighting and various solar technologies may also be used. Output from such programs may need to be used to overcome limitations of any one program.
Demonstrated experience with integrating various simulation tools is an important consideration when developing the request for qualifications and evaluating design team members qualifications.