EPact 2005 tax savings

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http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/qualified_software.html

Epact 2005 tax credits were extended to 2013 in the recent "Stimulus
Package."

I'm looking at a page on the DOE web site that lists approved software
used obtain Epact 2005 tax credits, and I notice eQuest is not
specifically listed. DOE-2.1 is listed however. Does anyone know if
eQuest will be acceptable for EPact 2005 simulations?

The link to the list is given above.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris Mullinax, P.E. LEED AP

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It is currently not submitted for approval.

David Eldridge, PE

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As I remember, Green Building Studio (GBS) is on the list. Since GBS runs eQUEST (and other software?) behind the screen, can the tax credits be granted if the building performance simulation is conducted by eQUEST through GBS. I'm a bit confused here. Can anyone shed light on this issue?

Xiaobing

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Through Green Building Studio yes, except the current version of GBS 3.4 is not on the list either, although it is submitted for approval. Same boat for EnergyPlus...version 3 is not listed.

Hopefully these will be reviewed soon!

David Eldridge, PE, LEED(r) AP

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For good, bad or indifferent.

If the software (exact version) is not listed it is not accepted for Epact
so far as we know.

Chris, beware anyone who says something not listed is accepted, we have
heard of others who have done all the work only to have to do it again.

Thanks,

Andy Hoover

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I frankly don't understand the criteria of acceptance for software
approval. It seems to accept any program that's self-described as
capable of dynamic simulations with time-varying inputs and outputs, and
has gone through the ASHRAE/ANSI Standard 140 comparisons. But Standard
140 is just a cross-program comparison for very simplified cases, sort
of digital hot-box experiments, if you will. Does this mean that all
simulations done with these programs are valid and credible ? Any DOE-2
simulation ? Any EnergyPlus simulation ? Of course not. It's all in the
inputs, and if the inputs or modeling are faulty, the results could be
all over the map. If we compare this criteria of acceptance to
California's Title-24 Certification of compliance programs, the
approaches are almost completely opposite. Here, the criteria are
whether the programs have the right fundamentals or "intentions" ;
there, the criteria are whether the programs give the right results.
I'm afraid we're leaving the barn door open for a lot of questionable
claims backed up by the use (or abuse) of supposedly approved software.

Joe Huang

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Joe, thanks for shedding some light on the acceptance criteria and how
it compares to other approaches.

It is truly a shame that eQUEST has not been approved yet. I do not
know what the hold up is but I believe the program was submitted years
ago to DOE for acceptance. VisualDOE was accepted a couple of months
after its application was submitted. It makes you wonder what DOE 2.2 is
missing that DOE 2.1E has. Better submittal documentation?

eQUEST is probably the most widely used program for performing
simulation analysis in the U.S. With our current administration's
initiative to promote an energy-efficient economy and have Federal
Buildings achieve 30% better performance than 90.1-2004, it is
inconsistent that this program is not fast-tracked for acceptance. With
construction costs climbing dramatically, these tax incentives could go
a long way to help achieve what they were designed for - promoting
energy efficient buildings in the U.S.

If anyone on BLDG-SIM can provide insights into why eQUEST has not been
accepted, please share this with the rest of us. And if no explanation
can be provided, perhaps we can use our BLDG-SIM critical mass to
encourage DOE and/or the software developers to push this through the
acceptance process.

Ellen Franconi, Ph.D., LEED AP

I frankly don't understand the criteria of acceptance for software
approval. It seems to accept any program that's self-described as
capable of dynamic simulations with time-varying inputs and outputs,
and
has gone through the ASHRAE/ANSI Standard 140 comparisons. But Standard

140 is just a cross-program comparison for very simplified cases, sort

of digital hot-box experiments, if you will. Does this mean that all
simulations done with these programs are valid and credible ? Any
DOE-2
simulation ? Any EnergyPlus simulation ? Of course not. It's all in
the
inputs, and if the inputs or modeling are faulty, the results could be

all over the map. If we compare this criteria of acceptance to
California's Title-24 Certification of compliance programs, the
approaches are almost completely opposite. Here, the criteria are
whether the programs have the right fundamentals or "intentions" ;
there, the criteria are whether the programs give the right results.
I'm afraid we're leaving the barn door open for a lot of questionable
claims backed up by the use (or abuse) of supposedly approved
software.

Joe Huang

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I second that motion.

I am probably going to switch simulation tools just because of eQuest?s unapproved status.

These incentives are important to our clients.

Gaia New 4-29-08

Duke Graham, PE, LEED? AP

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The question is who can reach out and touch Dr. Chu, our new energy czar,
who arrived in DC from Berkeley? A call or visit to the right office from
him will result in fast track review.

While I absolutely disagree with the one stop solution of LBL and some
others (basically, white is it) for many reasons and see the damage that
actually results in some locales to property and the environment and the
increased energy costs resulting from it I sure would support Hashem or
someone from his institution making the call about this approval :-).

Thanks,

Andy Hoover

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Keep in mind:
1) those others are profitable software, eQuest is free.
2) EPACT05 was originally a 2 year program...and they didn't even
figure out how to regulate the modeling until it was half over. Only
recently did it start to make sense to have it approved.

I asked the eQuest big cheese back in October...here was his reply:

We are looking into re-doing (updating) the last submission package
(which was done
with the previous version of ASHRAE 140 but not submitted before the std
was updated
this not able to be actually submitted)

---
Jeff Hirsch

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Any tool that has the required documentation is reviewed promptly by DOE and the results posted if the tool meets the qualification requirements. No documentation for eQuest has been submitted to DOE to date.

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This is a good discussion.

Just a question, if eQuest is DOE 2.1E (which has been accepted) but
with bug fixes and enhancements, why wouldn't it already be accepted,
or acceptable? What documentation needs to be submitted? I'm not
understanding this discussion I guess. Are we not splitting hairs?

Another area I don't understand is why anybody is still using DOE2.1E,
if DOE2.2 corrected many known errors present in DOE2.1E???

Maybe part of the reason eQuest is not being submitted/approved/
upgraded is lack of funding. I have never understood why the eQuest
program is strictly tied to receiving funding only from the California
energy commission.

Like Ellen said, eQuest is one of the most widely used energy analysis
programs in the US. We use it because it works for the production
environment we work in (which does not allow for runtimes of hours).
It's fast, very capable, accurate, & enables us to generate acceptable
results for 99% of our projects while staying within our cost budgets.
Whatever we can't do in eQuest, we can generally do with Excel
supplementing.

That said, the program could use some upgrades. I'm guessing that
there are users out here like myself that would gladly pay a general
users fee if it meant getting upgrades to the program. Upgrades that
are relevant to the user base and delivered in a more timely fashion.
I'm saying I don't understand why the funding has to come only from
California Energy Cx. Not saying that the CEC funding isn't
appreciated, but that alternative funding by the general users at
large could allow more features to be integrated into the program.
Currently, the features that get upgraded into the program are
determined by the CEC and their limited funding. This is why important
features such as exhaust air energy recovery for dedicated outdoor air
systems are missing.

Appreciate any follow up thoughts by anybody.

Regards,

James Hess

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Thanks everyone for the interesting discussion. I wanted to get to the bottom of the actual software requirements, so I dug around on the IRS website and found the following info (http://www.irs.gov/irb/2008-14_IRB/ar12.html#d0e4028). From what I can tell, equest meets all of the requirements below. It would seem as Drury said no one has submitted the documentation to the DOE for approval. This has huge implications for anybody involved in this business.

.01 In General. The Department of Energy creates and maintains a public list of software that may be used to calculate energy and power consumption and costs for purposes of providing a certification under section 4 of Notice 2006-52. This public list appears at http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/info/tax_incentives.html. Soft- ware will be included on the list if the software developer submits the following information to the Department of Energy:

(1) The name, address, and (if applicable) web site of the software developer;

(2) The name, email address, and telephone number of the person to contact for further information regarding the software;

(3) The name, version, or other identifier of the software as it will appear on the list;

(4) All test results, input files, output files, weather data, modeler reports, and the executable version of the software with which the tests were conducted; and

(5) A declaration by the developer of the software made under penalties of perjury and containing all of the following information:

(a) A statement that the software has been tested according to the American National Standards Institute/American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ANSI/ASHRAE) Standard 140-2007 Standard Method of Test for the Evaluation of Building Energy Analysis Computer Programs.

(b) A statement that the software can model explicitly?

(i) 8,760 hours per year;

(ii) Calculation methodologies for the building components being modeled;

(iii) Hourly variations in occupancy, lighting power, miscellaneous equipment power, thermostat setpoints, and HVAC system operation, defined separately for each day of the week and holidays;

(iv) Thermal mass effects;

(v) Ten or more thermal zones;

(vi) Part-load performance curves for mechanical equipment;

(vii) Capacity and efficiency correction curves for mechanical heating and cooling equipment; and

(viii) Air-side and water-side economizers with integrated control.

(c) A statement that the software can explicitly model each of the following HVAC systems listed in Appendix G of Standard 90.1-2004:

(i) Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC) (air source), single-zone package (through the wall), multi-zone hydronic loop, air-to-air DX coil cooling, central boiler, hot water coil.

(ii) Packaged Terminal Heat Pump (PTHP) (air source), single-zone package (through the wall), air-to-air DX coil heat/cool.

(iii) Packaged Single Zone Air Conditioner (PSZ-AC), single-zone air, air-to-air DX coil cool, gas coil, constant-speed fan.

(iv) Packaged Single Zone Heat Pump (PSZ-HP), single-zone air, air-to-air DX coil cool/heat, constant-speed fan.

(v) Packaged Variable-Air-Volume (PVAV) with reheat, multi-zone air; multi-zone hydronic loop, air-to-air DX coil, VAV fan, boiler, hot water VAV terminal boxes.

(vi) Packaged Variable-Air-Volume with parallel fan powered boxes (PVAV with PFP boxes), multi-zone air, DX coil, VAV fan, fan-powered induction boxes, electric reheat.

(vii) Variable-Air-Volume (VAV) with reheat, multi-zone air, multi-zone hydronic loop, air-handling unit, chilled water coil, hot water coil, VAV fan, chiller, boiler, hot water VAV boxes.

(viii) Variable-Air-Volume with parallel fan powered boxes (VAV with PFP boxes), multi-zone air, air-handling unit, chilled water coil, hot water coil, VAV fan, chiller, fan-powered induction boxes, electric reheat.

(d) A statement that the software can?

(i) Either directly determine energy and power costs or produce hourly reports of energy use by energy source suitable for determining energy and power costs separately; and

(ii) Design load calculations to determine required HVAC equipment capacities and air and water flow rates.

(e) A statement describing which, if any, of the following the software can explicitly model:

(i) Natural ventilation.

(ii) Mixed mode (natural and mechanical) ventilation.

(iii) Earth tempering of outdoor air.

(iv) Displacement ventilation.

(v) Evaporative cooling.

(vi) Water use by occupants for cooking, cleaning or other domestic uses.

(vii) Water use by heating, cooling, or other equipment, or for on-site landscaping.

(viii) Automatic interior or exterior lighting controls (such as occupancy, photocells, or time clocks).

(viii) Daylighting (sidelighting, skylights, or tubular daylight devices).

(ix) Improved fan system efficiency through static pressure reset.

(x) Radiant heating or cooling (low or high temperature).

(xi) Multiple or variable speed control for fans, cooling equipment, or cooling towers.

(xii) On-site energy systems (such as combined heat and power systems, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, or wind).

--
Sam Mason

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Probably a silly question, but can one of US submit eQuest for approval?

Does it have to come from the developers?

Just thinking.

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Hi Duke,

It has to come from the developer. I am actually trying to get this
started by getting the effort funded and by working with the developers.
I have their cooperation so far so I hope it's just a matter of time.

Cheers,
Carol Gardner

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Would eQuest and DOE2.2 need to be submitted separately? We use DOE2.2
but not eQuest.

Doug Maddox, PE

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James and Ellen suggest that eQuest is one of the most widely used energy
analysis programs in the US. I'm interested in getting hold of the user
numbers. Could Ellen or James (or another Bldg-Sim-ist) provide a
reference? Thanks!

David Yuill, P.E.

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(I'm responding to this only because you had mentioned me by name,
Ellen (:-))

My main concern was not whether a specific program or tool has been
approved (although I can sympathize
with some of the sentiments expressed), but with the lack of rigor in
the acceptance criteria, which may in the
end bring down the credibility of simulations. I see the use of
simulations for ePack as a double-edged sword.
It's a powerful incentive for people to do simulations, but also a ripe
situation for abusing simulations for
material benefit.

Joe

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