Has anyone else noticed that the last few months have brought some interesting new trends to the industry? This has also been evident given the inquiries here at Energy-models.com. (I should probably follow up on some of the trends that are changing in the building simulation community- yes, I am a data nerd). While our typical support request is usually a request to rectify some error or anomaly, the last few months have seen a slight change. Our number 1 inquiry has been for “taking over” an existing project, and we have simply not been able to accommodate these requests. We have tried to help where we can, which has often meant sending someone a referral. The trouble is that we only know so many people who we feel confident in sending a project to. All in all, I believe we referred over 20 different projects in 2014. Some people have been baffled by this, wondering how we can “give away” clients. Our response is that they were never our clients to give away and the one time I was asked directly about our 'business plan', having referred a prospect to someone I had never met (but had been referred to), I responded that I believe in karmic retribution :D
Per the many phone calls and emails, we think it is clear that most of us are not very visible to the people looking to find us. Moreover, we have found that people are looking for a single point of contact (an individual) but are also looking for reputable companies. Unfortunately, a lot of the people that call with such request are calling because they are in a time crunch, making referrals very difficult.
Let’s say you or your company got really busy and you had to recommend an energy-modeler for a client? What criteria would you pick?
There are four categories that we opted would be best to consider for an existing professional: Technical expertise, probable availability, community involvement, and personal integrity. We think those are 4 characteristics that you want for an energy-modeler because it means that the person will likely produce quality but fair results, and is likely a good communicator making them good to work with. Lastly, we have to consider someone's probable availability. So, no offense to someone like Dru Crawley (the Father of EnergyPlus, in case you didn’t know), but we can make an educated guess that he is pretty busy, as is likely James J. Hirsh, and all of the folks at LBNL.
We apologize for leaving anyone out. There are many others, so please feel free to comment. Also, we made this list without the knowledge of the individuals and are also omitting any close friends or colleagues.
Having talked to several thousand energy-modelers over the past 8 years, there are a few that come to mind either from talking to them or from frequent recommendations by other colleagues. But, in no particular order:
Mike Barker, Partner at Building Physics in South Africa
Mike Barker is a tremendous spokesman for IBPSA and has a strong commitment to building simulation. I have had the privilege of speaking with him and it is clear that he has a strong commitment to excellence and has technological prowess. It is also clear that he has a strong sense of civic duty which I find to be commendable. I would consider him to be very easy to work with. I am not sure if Mike does the entire energy model but imagine that he oversees it. Mike’s presence has been a benefit to every building simulator through his relentless efforts to grow the profession.
Mike’s weapons of Choice: DesignBuilder and EnergyPlus
Bill Bishop, Senior Energy Engineer at Pathfinder Engineers in Rochester, NY area
Bill is a DOE2 guru. He has been actively involved in the building simulation email lists and has provided much educational insight. I have spoken with Bill on the phone a time or two with respect to TRACE 700 as well, and I can tell that he certainly knows what he is talking about and then some. Definitely a top notch modeler who like a good restaurant, may be booked. He is also very friendly, as is everyone I have ever talked to from Pathfinder. I surmise they have a good company culture and even if Bill is not doing the energy model himself, I imagine having him around is an extreme advantage to any of Pathfinder’s building Simulators
Bill’s weapons of choice: eQUEST, TRACE 700
Alan Jackson, Mechanical Engineer at Case Design Inc in New York, NY
If you are looking for talent, I would keep an eye on Alan. I would consider him to be one of the largest advocates of OpenStudio and other open-source energy-modeling resources. Alan has a philanthropic viewpoint of what energy-modeling should and could be that anyone should find to be very respectable. In illustration of his own individual commitment to growing the field of energy-modeling, Alan started a blog called openRevit.com.
Alan’s weapons of choice: OpenStudio, Revit (and Samurai swords, if you check out his linkedin page)
Joe Huang, President at White Box Technologies in Moraga, CA
I have never spoken with Joe outside of linkedin threads, but he has has had some very enlightening posts on linkedin and other lists. I’m sure he is in the top 10 folks on the planet when it comes to understanding weather files and building simulation. Joe is sometimes so smart and straight to the point that I imagine some new users might find him intimidating, but given his fantastically useful posts, it follows that he has a strong will to help others.
Joe’s weapons of Choice: eQUEST, DOE2 and probably more. He is a weather file guru.
Jim Dirkes, Owner, Building Performance Team in Grand Rapids, MI
The first time I talked to Jim, it was clear that he is highly intelligent and well connected in the building simulation community. He is well-spoken but it is clear that he thinks before he speaks. He has a clear commitment to integrity, community and excellence, and I found him to be exceptionally insightful in our few correspondences.
Jim’s weapon of Choice: EnergyPlus
Nick Caton, Owner, Caton Energy Consulting, Greater Seattle Area, WA
I’ve only corresponded with Nick via email, and naturally most of the reader’s of this will recognize him as an avid contributor to the community. I have talked to people who know him well, and everyone speaks highly of him. He has a very mechanical mind, as is evident in his posts, which is a rare quality among building energy simulators.
Nick’s weapon of Choice: eQUEST, he is also on the board for the Illuminating Engineering Society in Kansas City
Darren Meyers, Owner International Energy Conservation Consultants near Chicago, IL
Darren is an extremely knowledgeable and well connected energy simulator. He was also the Technical Director of the International Code Council for over 8 years. Needless to say, he can provide more insight on meeting energy codes than nearly anybody else in the industry.
Darren’s weapons of choice: EnergyPlus, RETscreen
Robby Oylear, Mechanical Engineer at CDi+Mazzetti in Seattle, WA
Robby is the kind of modeler that the industry needs. He provides some of the best feedback on using eQUEST efficiently, often through the use of user expressions. He has a clear technical advantage and I would rank him among the top eQUEST users who actively use eQUEST. (There may be many gurus, but they often move to other positions). If you have a difficult project, you might want to request Robby, assuming that is a possibility.
Robby’s Weapon of Choice: eQUEST
Karen Walkerman, Owner, Second Law Burlington, Vermont Area
Karen has the skillset of building scientist and computer programmer. She has contributed to the EnergyPlus code itself and uses her own toolset (that she programmed) to create advanced Energy-models. She started her existing business straight out of college, which is an unbelievable feat.
Karen's weapon of Choice: EnergyPlus and her own code. She's also good at eQUEST
Want to find other companies? Sometime ago, we started constructing a database of energy-modeling companies per user submission. Some of the companies requested the ability to advertise, which we did not offer at the time, but if anyone is interested in a listing, we finally got around to making this available, which you might notice within the sidebar on this very page: http://energy-models.com/content/advertise-us