Joe's blog

Energy Modeling Industry Predictions for 2012

Author: Joe
Posted on: December 30, 2011

The energy modeling industry is always changing, with anything from updates to energy modeling software to new regulations and protocols.

If you think about it, the value in energy-modeling is the ability to predict the future (in terms of energy cost). So, we thought, why don't we take it one up, and predict the future of the industry for 2012.

LEED continues to be the golden goose

LEED is an amazing thing. It's become a sort of self perpetuating revenue generator. USGBC has done an amazing job marketing building efficiency to the general population.

Now building owners are aware of this "LEED" thing that makes their buildings more appealing to tenants (appealing = higher lease rates). And all that is great for energy modelers since to get a building LEED certified you virtually require an energy model.

The new version of LEED adopts ASHRAE 90.1-2010

But hey! Didn't they just make us learn 90.1-2007?

eQUEST will continue to dominate

But after 2012, all bets are off... 

ASHRAE will start to challenge USGBC with their own rating system

The market share of "Green Certification" will start to see progression towards ASHRAE programs like BEQ. However, unless ASHRAE learns how to market better, this will not be very substantial in 2012, but noticeable.

Solar, solar, solar!

Solar prices continue to fall. If the US and China can avert a full blown solar trade war they will continue to do so. We predict solar will continue to grow as a part of energy efficient building due to these lower costs. So better learn how to model those panels!

Using eQUEST for Loads?

Author: Joe
Posted on: September 22, 2011

A common viewpoint for HVAC engineers is that eQuest is a great modeling tool but CANNOT be used for loads. Designers will typically use an additional tool more targeted to loads or may do all load calculations in a spreadsheet. However, it may surprise some, but eQUEST calculates loads before it calculates energy. In fact, eQUEST MUST calculate loads in order to calculate energy.

Consider the many pieces of information entered in an eQUEST model: Occupancy loads, equipment, geometry , envelope properties, and so on. These parameters determine building loads as well, and eQUEST does just that - quickly and accurately calculates building loads. The main problem with using eQUEST for loads is that the bulk of the reporting focuses on energy (which is great for energy calculations of course). eQUEST’s summary reports for loads are unfortunately all but convoluted. provides a free tool to quickly grab load design information in the .SIM file and delivers it in both a table and excel format.

While the LOAD EXTRACTOR will return the calculated loads in a .SIM file, it does not check for the quality of your inputs or verify the accuracy of your loads (User proficiency is assumed). Here are some key recommendations for when using eQuest to calculate loads:

eQUEST Space ReNamer In-Depth

Author: Joe
Posted on: September 12, 2011

We're excited to release our new space renaming tool for eQUEST.  The following is an in-depth description on how to use the tool.

  1. Start eQUEST and run through the wizards (or however you set up a file)
  2. Enter Detailed Mode
  3. Go to the "Building Shell Module"

How to model a Munters for LEED points

Author: Joe
Posted on: September 5, 2011

In this video, an idiot calls a support center for help modeling a Munters to get "the LEEDS" points after seeing an ad. This is a great video for newbie's to tell them exactly WHAT NOT to say to avoid sounding stupid to other modelers.

Top 12 Reasons TRACE Users Should Learn eQUEST

Author: Joe
Posted on: July 14, 2011

As an avid TRACE user, I always wanted to learn eQUEST, but trainings were hard to find (and support was near impossible to get!). With a growing online community, the need for centralized support has dwindled and eQUEST has become even more popular. 

Learning eQUEST has paid off faster than I ever imagined. I had no idea how big the community was until I started working with it. 

Apart from the fact that learning eQUEST will help you better understand TRACE 700 (like learning Spanish helps with understanding the nuances English, verb conjugation anyone?) - here are 12 great reasons to learn eQUEST, and if you think they are great too, head over to our eQUEST course!

1) UN - Unmet hours. You can easily eliminate unmet hours!

How great is this? There is actually a field in eQUEST where you can simply change the “throttling range” and instantly eliminate unmet hours. The throttling range is not defined in 90.1-2007, so this is 100% LEED compliant. 

2)  Modern Graphics!
It’s Sleek. It’s sexy. You can see your building! It’s even interactive. Check out the video above!

3) SPEED. It’s fast! 
How fast is eQUEST? It’s fast. A file that takes an hour to calculate in TRACE 700 will take only minutes to calculate in eQUEST. That means no more late nights waiting for the calculation to complete.

But not only that, the intuitive wizards make the modeling process itself faster.

Energy Modeler's Unit Converter In Depth

Author: Joe
Posted on: July 13, 2011
This is the first converter that is tailored to energy-modelers, or at least we think so... It includes prioritized units and conversions used most commonly in an energy modeler’s world. It also includes “non-linear” unit conversions such as EER, COP, EIR, as well as temperature, heat transfer units, lighting, glass parameters other units commonly found in eQUEST and other modeling programs.

Almost every modeler has some sort of spreadsheet, table, or handout with a long list of conversions and conversion units. Here, we have taken our most used conversions and added them to a converter so that typical modeling units are all found in once place (rather than googling various conversions only to find pop-up filled sites).

While it’s easy to find conversions on google, many common units used by energy modelers are not common elsewhere. The energy-modeler’s unit converter includes the most commonly converted units, and lists them first.

Interested in adding a unit? Post a comment!

Energy Modeling Toolbox: Fan Calculator In Depth

Author: Joe
Posted on: July 13, 2011


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Energy Modeling requires very specific calculations and conversions.  We thought that developing a nice set of online tools would be beneficial to the community.  So today we want to introduce the Energy Modeling Fan Calculator.   This is the first in a series of tools we'll be releasing.  Head over to the calculator if you want to try it out.  Continue reading this blog for a more in depth discussion about the Fan Calculators relationship with the major energy modeling programs.


LEED jokes

Author: Joe
Posted on: June 3, 2011

In light of the popularity of our architect joke's blog, we received some user submitted LEED jokes:


Ironic LEED credits


LEED certified Lenscrafters

Credit Earned: SS c1 Site Selection (1 point)


LEED certified Northern Ireland Civil Rights Administration Building

Credit Earned: EA c6 Green Power (2 points)


LEED certified Colorectal Surgery Center

Credit Earned: SS c3 "Brownfield Redevelopment"


LEED Certified Miller Beer factory:

Credit Earned: WE c2 "Innovative Wastewater Technologies"


First LEED certified Strip Club (Gentleman's Club)

Credit Earned: MR  c7 "Certified Wood" (2 points, + 5 points ID for local use of wood)





What does LEED stand for?


Top 5 pro-LEED acronyms

Free BEMP sample Exam

Author: Joe
Posted on: May 24, 2011

As a response to a popular user-request, we have started an example BEMP practice exam - which runs on a timer similar to our other exams.

If you would like to help out - or make suggestions, please do so in our user forum. If you would like to contribute, please submit sample questions on the forum as well. We will expand the exam based on forum discussion.

Please remember that this is just to get the feel for the exam and general energy modeling content. While we are ASHRAE members, we do not have any involvement in the BEMP process, and therefore this example quiz is for self-study purposes only.

As a side note, all of our courses feature similar exercises/exams giving immediate feedback. 


Thermostat Schedules and Thermostat Driftpoints in TRACE 700

Author: Joe
Posted on: March 30, 2011

The thermostat driftpoints are the temperatures that a room is allowed to drift up to or down to during periods of low or no occupancy. If the room temperature starts to go outside the driftpoint temperatures, the cooling or heating equipment will be activated, assuming the equipment is available to operate. TRACE will allow the room to drift up to or down to the driftpoint temperatures during the hours in which the people schedule for the room reads 5% or less; if the people schedule reads greater than 5%, the cooling thermostat will try to control the room to the design setpoints.

The thermostat schedules allow the user to enter heating and cooling setpoints based on time instead of occupancy. Thermostat schedules are created using the Library/Template Editors.

Note: If a cooling thermostat schedule is selected (other than the default “None”), then the program will ignore the entered cooling setpoints and driftpoints for the energy simulation. However, the setpoints will still be used during the design calculations. The heating thermostat schedules and driftpoints work identically.

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