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Built Environment: Training and Education

Training on BEMBuilding energy modeling can be used to inform building owners and design teams about the performance trade-offs between different efficiency options.  Developing a building energy model from commercially-available building simulation software tools requires a depth and breadth of knowledge related to building science and energy-using systems.

Because of the importance of energy modeling, the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA-USA) contracted with RMI to a training course on best practices and engineering fundamentals core to successful energy modeling. 

The powerpoints for this training course are available for free download at the IBPSA BEM Book wiki

RMI gave the first workshop at the IBPSA-USA Simbuild conference in August 2010 which was reported as a “sold-out success.” Since then, additional workshops have been given by RMI and other expert practitioners in: San Francisco, Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas (ASHRAE 2010 Winter Conference), and Washington, DC.

If funding is available, we hope to add new content and turn these materials into iBooks and webinars to further disseminate the information.

RMI Publications

Beyond the BEMBook training workshop, RMI has written a number of papers and articles around energy and financial analyses.

Building Energy Modeling for Owners: A Guide to Specify and Secure Services was developed to help owners define and procure modeling services in commercial new construction, renovation, or operation improvement projects. The topics and examples focus on issues relevant to the owner, including the value of modeling, types of services, and solicitation. The BEM concepts developed within this guide yield tips and resources to support successful application.

Life Cycle Cost Analysis: Is it Worth the Effort? - Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is often considered important for both new and retrofit building construction projects but is rarely implemented, often because it is perceived to be “not worth the effort.” This paper addresses the question of whether an LCCA is worth the effort. This paper also provides an overview of how to do an LCCA including establishing the baseline and bundling measures. A case study is also provided.

Pulling the Levers on Existing Buildings: A Simple Method for Calibrating Hourly Energy Models - Comprehensive building retrofits require an investment grade audit in conjunction with a calibrated hourly energy model. Even with the most thorough audit processes, uncertainty still remains when identifying and modeling building parameters. This uncertainty propagates throughout the final calibrated model and affects the quality of the energy saving estimates. This paper, geared towards the typical energy analyst, provides a step-by-step process for achieving more reliable results by calibrating an energy model based on actual utility data.

Energy Modeling at Each Design Phase: Strategies to Minimize Design Energy Use - Design teams often use energy modeling as an accounting or code compliance tool to establish that minimum requirements are met. Used in this way, significant opportunities to inform and improve building design are overlooked. Properly used, energy modeling can provide outputs that optimize a building’s energy consumption, reduce life cycle costs, and even reduce first cost. This paper will review how and when design teams typically use energy modeling in each design phase (concept phase, schematic design, design development, and construction documentation) and describe strategies for each phase that can lead to lower energy use buildings.