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Why Assignment #7 is first, and Energy Modeling 101

Posted on | March 31, 2011 | No Comments

Because we won’t see results for Assignment #7 unless we start it now!

Assignment #7 is to sign up on the Web site EarthAid.com, to see how you use energy in your own dwelling, and to see if knowing how much energy you use will help you save it.  We’ll all “friend” each other on EarthAid, get points, and try to earn rewards.  At the end of the quarter, we’ll see how we did.  Sign up for Earth Aid now using the link below:

Join Earth Aid

(If that doesn’t work, click here)

On this, the last day of March, we are talking about energy modeling.  Students in the class are assigned a term project in which they are to select one building and conduct a complete evaluation of it, including at least three different forms of energy modeling or assessment.  They can pick any three, but a good strategy would be to pick at least one that they feel comfortable with, one that challenges them, and one that is entirely unlike the other two.  For instance, if I were doing a very small building, I feel very comfortable using HEED for smaller structures, so I might pick that first; I find eQUEST incredibly challenging, plus it is an industry standard, so I would pick that one to become more familiar with it; and finally, I might use the spreadsheet analysis method to balance things out.  If I were doing a larger building, I might try to use Google SketchUp with the Open Studio plug-in, since it uses DOE’s Energy Plus as its back end; I’d try Ecotect just to see if I could do it; and maybe I would use EnergyPro as my third, since it is more focused on systems and less on geometry.

There is no right or wrong method to achieving the results of the term project… but be strategic about which programs you pick, have a reason for picking them, and then do your best.  If you encounter problems or don’t know what certain inputs mean, start a list of questions, and bring them to class with you.  Students will have several opportunities throughout the quarter to ask questions of energy modeling “experts” and each other.

Here is a “scale” of energy modeling that we talked about today in class.  There are definitely other types of modeling tools out there, and one of the objectives of this class is to let students try several of them and become familiar with the process of determining energy consumption of buildings.

Energy analysis programs range from those that are based in text inputs to those that function with visual inputs. There is no right or wrong way, but they each have their quirks!

Any questions?  Let me know!

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