Single-Family Residence

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Is equest effective for single-family homes energy modelling?

Francisco Rodriguez-Ema's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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I tried once to model a home and wasn't overly successful replicating my
energy bills. That's not to say it can't be done, but I don't think
that's what eQuest was designed for. HEED was specifically designed for
homes , and has a fairly
user friendly interface. Again, I don't have much experience modeling
homes, but I think you might be better off starting there. I'm also
copying the Building Simulation list to see if anyone there has anything
better to say on the subject.


Eric O'Neill's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0


There are many 'calculators' and simplified energy tools on the market
that can be applied for residential energy modeling and predictions of
savings. Most of them use 'simplified' algorithms or bin types of
analysis. A few use whole building energy modeling like E-Quest. IMHO,
although it can be used, E-Quest is serious overkill for what you are
probably looking to accomplish.

If you are looking for a 8760 (hourly) whole building energy simulation
tool that was designed specifically for modeling the energy usage in
single and multifamily residences, I suggest you take a look at TREAT
software. TREAT (Targeted Retrofit Energy Analysis Tool) wraps an easy
to use interface around SUNREL, an hourly calculation engine developed
by NREL.

The TREAT software integrates a billing analysis module, which allows
users to import both actual electric and fuel bills along with matching
real weather data, create a baseline model, and then interactively
adjust the 'baseline' model's predicted energy use to closely match
amounts of energy and fuel consumed by the structure using weather
normalized actual bills. In addition, once the user has created a
'trued-up' baseline model, TREAT provides a easy to use scenario
management tool which allows for easy generation of improvements and
packages (collections of improvements) with a focus of identifying
packages with the cost effective results (in other words , best
cost-benefit ratios). Finally, TREAT has an easy interface to allow for
post construction utility bills and post construction actual weather to
be imported, where output from the model used to predict energy savings
can be compared to actual energy savings, fuel by fuel, to verify the
predicted savings are being delivered (or more importantly quickly
identify if they are not). This can be done after month one of post
construction, giving 'fast feedback' to the homeowner as to whether the
improvements they invested in are having the desired energy savings impact.

A 30 day fully functional version of TREAT can be downloaded from I would encourage you to check it out,
especially if you are working with existing single family homes. We
train contractors to model single family homes in TREAT in 2 hours or
less (from the time they sit down for data input to the time they
produce a comprehensive work scope and proposal for a homeowner). It
can be a powerful energy prediction and monitoring tool in the hands of
a competent user.


Chris Balbach

Chris Balbach's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 1

JRR wrote;

I have a very advanced solar house. I have 2x6 walls with foam
sheathing, 100% brick vernier,
2 inch thick XPS Styro down to 4 ft below basement floor with a 4 ft
deep 57s gravel catch,
asymetric soffits ( widest on South side ), two speed heat pump, active
closed loop solar thermal
for DHW and on poor solar days the closed loop solar goes into the
basement slab in winter.
I could go on about the features...........

The Problem is that my Virginia Electric Utility Company is rotten!!!
The July bill for 2007 has
a different number of billing days than the 2008 bill !!! other little
gotch yaz reduce the usefulness
of utility bill based energy data to **** ( insert your favorite terms
) They now include relative
use statistics from month to month with the bills but there is no way to
take their data to compare the same month ( same Sun angles and relative
climate ) from one year to another. This means they've got the HDDs
and CDDs for each billing cycle but they won't tell me directly. I have
to go to the VA state climate
office to find out. SO bottom line, if you want to sort out a building
and really tune it up you have to
take your own electric / gas / whatever else meter readings everyday.

It's all worth it in the end though. After an 18% rate hike this July I
blew off all the houses on my block.
They're all smaller and two story with basement. I'm bigger with one
story and finished walkout basement.
The best one had a bill $93 higher than mine, the worst got nailed $195
more.... nobody is laughing at me
anymore. I use Energy-10 for small buildings, Energy Plus and custom
FORTRAN programs I wrote
for more involved projects.

John R Ross III PE.

JRR's picture
Joined: 2011-10-01
Reputation: 0