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RMI to Host Summit for Energy Modeling Stakeholders

By Molly Miller

Kendra Tupper Speaking About Energy ModelingReliable and consistent building energy modeling services are key to maximizing energy efficiency and achieving aggressive performance goals in new and existing building construction. Currently, however, various barriers inhibit the cost-effective and high-quality analysis that can result in deep energy savings.

With the goal of improving the quality and ease of building energy modeling, RMI will convene a Building Energy Modeling (BEM) Innovation Summit on March 10-11 in Boulder, Colo. Developed in partnership with ASHRAE, IBPSA-USA, USGBC, and IMT*, the event will bring together invited representatives from the building energy modeling industry to collaborate on a long-term plan for improving tools, modeling processes, and capacity. (This event is full.)To help practitioners more effectively use modeling to make a compelling financial case for low-energy buildings, participants will also work to identify best practices and address short-term challenges. Improving these energy modeling practices and training energy modelers will result in greater energy savings in future buildings and retrofits.

While energy modeling has been practiced within research and academia for decades, the industry has grown rapidly in the past few years in response to market drivers such as LEED and other performance targets. While many private companies, professional organizations, and government entities are working to improve best practices, software and training, the efforts thus far have been somewhat fragmented.

 Images of energy modeling tools found on RetrofitDepot.org

"There is a lack of confidence in the quality, consistency, and reproducibility of energy modeling results,” says RMI Senior Consultant Kendra Tupper, who is spearheading the summit. “Coupled with the fact that it’s time-consuming and expensive to conduct quality analyses, it’s difficult for practitioners to effectively use energy modeling to inform design and make compelling business cases for investing in energy efficiency.”

There is an opportunity to increase the number of skilled practitioners, boost the credibility of modeling performance comparisons for design alternatives, and ultimately increase the deep energy savings spurred through modeling, according to Tupper. “This will be the first time key stakeholders from all aspects of the energy modeling field come together to jointly address barriers and opportunities,” she explains. “We are excited by the positive response we’ve gotten thus far and look forward to making this an increasingly more collaborative and coordinated industry.”

Anticipated attendees include:

  • Software developers from eQUEST, EnergyPlus, Trane Trace, TRNSYS, IES, Google, AutoDesk, and Bentley
  • Government entities such as NREL, LBNL, FEMP, and DOE
  • Practitioners and educators from well-respected consulting groups and higher-education institutions
  • Representatives from architecture and engineering service providers such as WSP Flack+Kurtz, ARUP, Taylor Engineering, Integral Group, and ESCO
  • Industry organizations such as ASHRAE, IMT, USGBC, NIBS, and IBPSA-USA

BEM Summit Partner logos

For more information on the summit or to help sponsor the event, see RMI's website.

The summit will address energy modeling for new construction and retrofits. For more information on energy modeling and RMI’s RetroFit Initiative, see RMI’s RetroFit Depot.

*American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, International Building Performance Simulation Association-USA, U.S. Green Building Council, Institute for Market Transformation

Molly Miller is a writer/editor at RMI.

--Published February 2011