Working Together on Next-Gen Building Energy Modeling (Video)

Reliable and consistent whole-building energy analysis is necessary to achieve increasingly aggressive performance targets in the buildings sector, and to motivate building owners to invest in energy efficiency.

RMI is addressing this need with a three-pronged approach:

  • Developing tools and templates that improve the quality of energy modeling results
  • Providing training and education for the community
  • Leading the charge with key stakeholders towards a roadmap for the future

“RMI’s long-term vision is that design teams would function as an integrated team,” said Kendra Tupper, an analyst with RMI’s buildings practice. “And the engineers, architects and energy modelers together would be part of the process from the early concept design phase. We think that if we ever get to that ideal design and retrofit process, the savings in buildings would be dramatically different.”

Developed in partnership with ASHRAE, IBPSA-USA, the USGBC and IMT, the BEM Innovation Summit in March offered a jumpstart on capitalizing the biggest opportunities for building energy modeling.

Attendees worked together in different breakout groups creating implementation plans that would develop greater credibility for energy modeling, improve available toolsets and data, increase the proportion of time and fees spent by practitioners on critical thinking and informing design, and expand the market potential for these services. RMI’s post-summit report, slated for release in early June, will offer a detailed summary of each breakout group and present implementation plans for key action items.

During the rapid growth of this industry, professional organizations, national labs, and even private consulting firms have all greatly contributed to the field of energy modeling. Despite these intentional (and often self-funded) efforts, many opportunities still exist to increase the effectiveness of modeling to support low energy building design and operations.

“There are two worlds that building energy modelers deal with every day; the “fake” world and the “real” world,” said Allan Daly of Taylor Engineering in his BEM Summit vision statement. “The fake world is one where we compare one fictitious building model to another… the real world is the one we live in every day where buildings consume resources. My vision for the building energy modeling industry is that we continually move away from the fake world and toward the real world in order to make our work as correct and relevant and transparent as possible.”

Learn more about RMI’s work with building energy modeling.