TRACE 700 is unique Building simulation software - Especially since it does both load calculations and energy modeling. There's a lot of people that use TRACE 700 to do a lot of different things: Load Design, LEED models, Life Cycle payback, just to name a few.
Did you know that TRACE 700 is over 2 million lines of Code? TRACE 700 is incredibly complex and has computational power that far exceeds anything you can do on a spreadsheet!
So, depending on your job title - you may or may not use certain features of the program. For example, maybe you need to interface with GLHE pro for sizing Geothermal wells (TRACE 700 can do this, and more!), but maybe you don't
In my travels, training at various places, I've found there are 7 basic things that all TRACE 700 users should know (but often don't). If you run into someone who claims to know TRACE, but doesn't know these 7 things - chances are they don't have as much experience with the program as they may claim!
If you've never heard of the 15 character limit, it's likely that you have never heard of archiving files (#5). You can't archive a file with a name over 15 characters. There's a long explanation to how important this is. But let's just say that long names (over 15 characters) lead to buggy files!
Did you know you can sort lists alphabetically in TRACE 700? So, when you click on your room dropdown menu - rooms are easy to find. You can do this by going to the options menu at the top of the screen and selecting "sort lists".
All TRACE users should know what an Archive file is. They should know what it does and that you need to send an archive file in order to properly share the file. Archiving does a number of other items that happen to help out. It's a way of preserving a file "exactly" as it is! Some people say that the concept of archiving may be outdated - I disagree. Archiving is one of the best things about TRACE, and incredibly useful - oh, and it "debugs" your file too.
An awesome feature of TRACE is that it allows you to reuse components from model to model. For example, let's say you built a custom air conditioner - based on very specific parameters. That is stored in a library file. There are a lot of libraries in TRACE, and if you don't fully understand the concept, you are losing time and money
Speaking of libraries - the most common of library members to customize is probably the schedule. When making schedules, you'll likely encounter the phrase "cooling design to weekday". It's tantamount that you know what this means (and when to use it and when not to). Understanding this allows you to create a file that accurately determines Load design AND Energy analysis. If you don't understand this concept, you're likely to run into - Undersized equipment, and Unmet hours
Currently, all Default weather in TRACE is reduced year weather. This means that the weather contains only 1440 hours of data, versus the total hours of data in a year - which you should know is 8760. For LEED models, this means that you must acquire and import a full year weather file! However, Reduced year weather is extremely useful and Trane TRACE 700 can calculate up to 6 times faster when using reduced year versus full year.
The most underused (or perhaps unknown) feature of TRACE 700 is Templates. In fact, this is probably the most misunderstood part of TRACE (as even seasoned users often don't utilize templates efficiently). While I can't adequately address how to use templates in this blog, I can mention this: TRACE 700 users need to know that under "Create Rooms", values in RED correspond to template values, and values in BLACK correspond to non-template values (or room specific values). It's important to know how to "lock in" the template value as well. That way, when you change the value in the template, all RED values will change too! This is a HUGE Timesaver
You will need to learn from someone! Sure, you can teach yourself general use of the program, but there's so many quirks that only experience teaches!
We just released the 32 tricks in TRACE 700 as a standalone course with lifetime access. Check out the new course.
Energy-Models.com is a site for energy modelers, building simulators, architects, and engineers who want learn the basics, to advanced concepts of energy modeling. We've got online training courses and tutorials for eQUEST, Trane TRACE 700, OpenStudio, and LEED for energy modeling. All our energy modeling courses are video based. What better way to learn energy modeling software than screen-casts of exactly how things are done?
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