Best Eplus Interface

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I think it is safe to say that the Eplus engine is the way of the future. However, you have to be a rocket scientist in order to operate the idf editor. Any thoughts on the best Eplus interface. Design Builder is pretty good, but has limitations. It is also really expensive and a foreign company. Since Eplus is funded with US tax dollars, does anybody know of a good US based interface?

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Not to say anyone is doing it all wrong, but maybe someone can show me the their own way of the force, but I work in an A/E firm surrounded by BIM modeling and Cad, why would I want to use Sketchup or Design Builder for energy modeling? I checked into Hevacomp (Bentley Systems) as the interface and it seems like they are bridging the gap to make BIM work with ePlus so that you wouldn't draw it twice (once in Cad, and again in ePlus interface)...not speaking from experience on the ePlus side, since I'm not there...but once I defeat Vader in the cave, will I just see my own face? Seems like ePlus is approved for LEED, but just wondering what their process is like compared to HAP/Trace.

Be Sustainable -- Never let today use up tomorrow!.

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I didn't write the original question, but I think he means right now. I mean, he's probably stuck forking it over for design builder, but I'm guessing that was not his number one choice.
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Right now or 3+ years from now?
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What would you suggest for an Eplus interface?
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I disagree! Open Studio can provide ease of use for the drawing aspects of the model which is the easy ,albeit tedious, portion of the process. The real challenge when working with EPlus lies in the HVAC loops and control setup which Open Studio does not currently adequately address. I find it tough to imagine being done well through it's existing Google Sketchup interface.
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Yeah, I see your point. Design Builder is sharp, but limited. It looks like the future eplus interface is Google Sketchup (with a plugin called openStudio).

 

It is a bit buggy and a hassle to install (3 total installs each requiring signups) but it is Free, and super powerful and not too difficult to start, though very difficult to master.

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I have tried both designbuilder and sketchup and designbuilder is by far easier to handle; easier to zone, assign materials, analyse. My problem right now though is I am having problems exporting the file from designbuilder V3 to EnergyPlus 7 because I want to simulate PCMs which you cant do with designbuilder. It keeps thinking I am using E+ version 6. Any ideas? ( i have uninstalled and installed 3 times)

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OpenStudio is the way to go.  You will still have to do some IDF work though.

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As far as interface for constructing the geometry is concerned there are a number of options including BIM's, my personal preference being DesignBuilder primarily because of its development around E+ simulation engine and also stability.

But still there is no replacement for IDF Editor if one wants to fully utilize the capabilities of E+, and I'm saying this after having experience with DesignBuilder, Open Studio, Simergy, etc. I agree with Brad that IDF Editor isn't easy to master, but it isn't rocket science either. The flexibility provided by the idf editor interface is unmatchable. No other interface provides such control to modify the linkages of nodes, branches, etc.

Just imagine modeling complex systems like co-generation or tri-generation system on any interface other than IDF editor, its just impossible. Not being proficient with the idf editor interface can limit the capability of the E+ user to only 15-20% of the potential on offer.

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I have used both designbuilder and sketchup and designbuilder .Both are by far easier to handle, to zone, assign materials, and analyse.I felt that SketchUp even more intuitive, added tools for power users, and made it easier to find and share models with the world.

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