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Built Environment: Building Energy Modeling Solutions

Building Energy ModelingCompetent energy and financial analysis is necessary to achieve the widespread adoption of whole systems retrofits.

While the industry has grown rapidly in the past five years, we have been hampered by a number of issues that make it challenging to provide cost effective and high quality analysis.
 

RMI's Building Energy Modeling Solutions workstream addresses these barriers with a three-pronged approach:

Tools and Resources RMI has developed a set of tools and templates that will save time and increase the quality of energy modeling. Longer term, we hope to integrate the functionalities of these tools within whole building energy modeling programs.
 
Training and Education In partnership with ASHRAE and IBPSA-USA, RMI has developed training and education materials that have been presented in a number of workshops across the country.
 
Building Energy Modeling (BEM) Innovation Summit In March of 2011, RMI convened currently fragmented industry stakeholders and is developing a coordinated workplan for addressing the barriers outlined below. An extensive pre-read document was developed which documents the current state of the industry. Please visit the Summit page to learn more about how to get involved in future efforts.

 

Issues Facing the Energy Modeling Industry

1. Lack of Credibility: Customers (of energy modeling services) and other stakeholders do not have confidence in energy modeling results, for the following reasons:

  • Lack of Quality: Energy modeling results may not reflect realistic building energy consumption and costs.
  • Lack of Reproducibility: Different practitioners do not produce the same energy modeling results, even when using the same tools and building characterization data.
  • Misguided Expectations: Customers do not have a clear understanding of what modeling can and should provide.  
  • Difficulty in Assessing Skills: It is difficult for customers to assess the skill level of a practitioner.

2. Limited Time for Critical Thinking: Currently, practitioners do not spend the majority of their time on critical thinking and informing design.

3. Need for More Experienced and Skilled Practitioners: A limited number of energy modelers possess sufficient skills and experience.

4. Low Market Demand: The demand for and value of energy modeling services could be much higher.