Joe's blog

Winners of the Bundle & Thanks to All Survey Participants!

Author: Joe
Posted on: October 3, 2013

We've just wrapped up the survey and want to give a big thank you to everyone who participated. We got a bunch of awesome feedback we'll be able to put to use in developing future courses and the website.

Now on to the winners, Anna and Kari!

Kari Mueller


Rushing is a Seattle-based MEP and Sustainability Consulting firm providing energy modeling for a variety of project types. At Rushing, our engineers recognize that every design decision has an impact on the energy use of a building. Our engineers select and utilize appropriate building simulation tools to provide feedback on energy implications of design decisions from conception to completion.

We have extensive experience providing energy modeling for third party protocols including LEED credit documentation, utility incentive procurement, Built Green, and 2030 Challenge benchmarking. Rushing offers in-house design, LEED documentation, and sustainability services. Please visit our website at

Anna Osborne EIT

Energy Analyst/Mechanical Designer I

Interface Engineering is a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm. Established in 1969, we currently have approximately 200 staff located in Portland, San Francisco, DC, Seattle and Hawaii office. Our services include MEP design, specialty design (building technologies, lighting and fire/life safety systems), commissioning, building performance simulations, energy retrofits and post-occupancy evaluations.

Daylight Savings Time in TRACE 700 and eQUEST

Author: Joe
Posted on: March 11, 2013

Good old Daylight savings time is officially in play. For many of you reading this, you may never have heard of it, but it's something we do in much of the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as other parts of the world. Basically, we move our clocks an hour forward for about half of the year.

The history of daylight savings time is actually pretty interesting, and recently, it was moved into March because it was deemed to save significant amounts of energy. (Culturally, more people stay up later than get up early, therefore - less lights are used!).

In any case, this reminded me of a common question: How do I model Daylight savings time in TRACE 700 or eQUEST

It's really easy!

To make the change in TRACE 700

  1. Go to the Actions Menu
  2. Select "Change Load Parameters"
  3. In the lower right, select the Daylight savings time period (this would be March-November for many regions).
  4. NOTE - the "Summer Period" is unrelated to daylight savings time, but it is easy to mistake. However, if you made the mistake of selecting March-November for the summer period, the impact would be minor!

To make the Change in eQUEST:

Daylight Savings time is automatically implemented in eQUEST. It is not sufficiently easy to change the exact months.

It is "On" by default, which works for much of eQUEST's market, but the large international audience may want to know how to turn it off:

  1. Go to the "Project and Site Module"

32 TRACE tips - now standalone course

Author: Joe
Posted on: February 7, 2013

By popular demand, we have released the 32 Tricks in TRACE 700 webinar as a standalone purchase. Order today, and you will get access to the video course for life (or until Earth freezes over).

To learn more and sign up for the course - Check it out here. 

Watch the preview video there or check it out below: 


Insulation Innovation with Aerogels, Courtesy of NASA

Author: Joe
Posted on: November 8, 2012

Aerogels are an amazing material for a variety of reasons. But one of the big ones in relation to energy modeling and buildings is their amazing properties of insulation. Hell, they are the reference image on the R-value wikipedia page.

So what are aerogels? They are the lightest solid in the world, due to their extremely porous nature, being over 90% air.  They were first discovered in the 1931's when two chemists bet who could replace the liquid in a gel material with a gas without causing the original form of the gel to be altered. The resulting material where the liquid component of the gel has been extracted though supercritical drying is 'Aerogel'.

The low thermal conductivity of aerogels have made them a very attractive possibility as a building insulation material. One big factor holding them back, as referenced in the video, is their fragile nature. Fortunately, a new type of polymer aerogel was recently developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio. They've basically solved the fragile nature of aerogels by creating a polymer variety that is 100 times strong than typical silica based gels and can be manufactured in thin flexible film form.

New Public Profiles, Show Off Your Certifications

Author: Joe
Posted on: November 2, 2012

Now you can make your profiles public if you want people to see the certificates you have earned on The default state of your profile is private. But, if you edit your profile, go to privacy, and check the 'Make Profile Public' checkbox, your profile will be publicly displayed.

Then you can share your profile on LinkedIn, Twitter or wherever else you want, or you can just leave it as is and it will remain private. Up to you!  

Brad's Public Profile Example

Our test user Brad has enabled his public profile, so now if you go to his profile URL at:, you can see his certifications.

Here are just a few of the certification badges you can earn for your profile:

Munters Saves Chickens, That's Even Better than LEED Points

Author: Joe
Posted on: August 6, 2012
Because, well, you can't eat LEED points.

Buildings Need Better Batteries

Author: Joe
Posted on: May 25, 2012

The problem with renewables is not the power generation, it's the energy storage.  Solar and wind generate power intermittently, sometimes when demand for the power is high and sometimes when it's not.  

Professor Donald Sadoway, an MIT professor of materials chemistry, thinks his liquid metal battery technology is the energy storage breakthrough we need.  It basically takes all the individual cells necessary for a large battery and replaces them with liquid metal, reducing cost and complexity. Lowering the cost of energy storage is necessary if a distributed network of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is going to be successfully adopted on a massive scale.

The net zero buildings of the future will be like the energizer bunny with a large battery tucked into their backside to store excess energy the building is generating at peak generation hours.  

All the batteries on Earth only store 10 minutes of the world's energy needs.

eQUEST is Alive, Well and Under Development

Author: Joe
Posted on: April 30, 2012

eQUEST in the MatrixLike the Oracle from the Matrix, Jeff Hirsch recently offered the energy modeling community a glimpse into the future, and what a bright future it is for eQUEST. Development of the eQUEST program is ongoing and there will be a new release with DOE-2.3 as the underlying engine sometime in the coming year.

eQUEST and DOE-2 are alive and well and our combined development efforts are at an equal or higher funding and effort level than ever before.  -- Jeff Hirsch

There are so many reasons that putting to rest rumors of eQUEST's demise helps the community. First, the decision to make eQUEST the software of choice for energy modeling is easier for people. Whenever there is uncertainty surrounding a software product it makes it harder for people to dedicate their time and money to learning it.

A version of eQUEST that fully supports DOE-2.3 that will be released at the same time. (in the coming year) -- Jeff Hirsch

That's damn exciting.

We also ask that you continue to support one another in this and other forums, as the freeware nature of our products requires the user community to hang together and exchange information and ideas.

Google SketchUp Gets Aquired by Trimble

Author: Joe
Posted on: April 26, 2012

Sketchup is a pretty amazing product, especially since you can download the non-pro version for free.  It's utilized by millions of people to do 3D modeling with especially loyal followings in the engineering, architecture and construction industries for obvious reasons.  

SketchUp was originally created by @Last Software.  Their team got to know Google while developing the Google Earth Plugin for SketchUp, which allows crowd sourced construction and mapping of 3D buildings and non-flat earthly features.  They had been selling their product for $500 a pop, but Google decided to release a free version along with the now $495 pro version.

They ended up liking each other and Google acquired the @Last team in 2006.  But today, Google announced they were selling the SketchUp product and software team to Trimble, a silicon valley based technology company best known for their GPS hardware and software.  

SketchUp might fit nicely into Trimble's Building Information Modeling(BIM) products.  The general feeling is that SketchUp users are a little worried since they're the ones who have been contributing most to the project over the last few years as Google has put it on the back burner.  The hope is that Trimble treads lightly and allows the organic growth of the product to continue.  

The Top 10 Energy-Models Forum Entries of 2011

Author: Joe
Posted on: December 30, 2011

As 2011 comes to an end we thought we could do at least one cliche looking back list.  Our forum continues to be a great learning resource for energy modelers.  There are a lot of great discussions and knowledge dumps going on.  I'd encourage all Energy-Models users to check it out.  Here are the top 10 most popular forum entries of 2011. 

  1. Dedicated OA and Split System in TRACE 700

  2. ASHRAE - Building Energy Modeling Professional (BEMP) Certification Program

  3. Equest and Excel

  4. VRF Systems in HAP

  5. ASHRAE 90.1-2010

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