eQuest Wiki & Other Question

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Seems like a lot of the traffic lately (past month or so) could be lightened by the eQuest Wiki that was mentioned. Anything come of that? Of course, keeping respectful of the fact that these are man-hours at stake to create it all.

Also, unrelated, I'm aware of the workflow using GreenBuilding Studio to go from Revit to eQuest and the ability to bring XML into Trace, but is there a workflow to go from eQuest BDL to Trace or back out to an XML, file then into Trace? Seems like GBS could go from eQuest to XML/Trace, primarily for time savings when creating geometries.

Thoughts? Thanks.

Matthew Higgins, ASHRAE-HBDP, LEED-AP

Matthew W. Higgins's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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Sorry, Matthew, but I can't resist this: if they were "woman-hours" at stake
there would be fewer and the outcome better. You left yourself wide open for
that one!

Related to your second paragraph, can you give me an example of why you
would want to go from eQUEST to XML/Trace? I am stumped as to why you want
to do such a thing.


cmg750's picture
Joined: 2010-10-05
Reputation: 0

Carol I think I can fill in a response:

More often than not, big complicated energy modeling projects typically
result in another individual doing the HVAC design. When that other
person regularly uses HAP and/or Trace to run sizing loads, we
ultimately have to butt heads to be sure eQuest is arriving at similar
answers, and it usually is off in one zone or another by a big factor.
Quirks like unexpectedly huge people densities or particular OA
requirements get missed by eQuest's occupancy libraries.

The concept of being able to get to a certain point of the energy model,
avoiding inputting any system sizing parameters (Auto-size CFM's,
capacities, etc), and then import such information from another's work
(rather than doing it by hand from cryptic output reports), is really
appealing as that's a part of the job that's both un-fun and drawn out.
It does encourage using the model to tweak the HVAC design process to a
more intimate degree than we might otherwise, once the two sets of
results are calibrated to each other, which I think is great.

Envisioning this, I think it would manifest as an option in Trace or HAP
(or similar loads program) to create a text file (*.inp) containing the
variables you'd want to import located under the respective
zones/systems. There would have to be some graphic/visual means of
telling Trace/HAP the cryptic zone/system names generated by eQuest to
make this a time-efficient feature.

To Matthew's question, I'm afraid this concept will be remaining in
perpetual la-la-land unless Trane or Carrier decide/realize they might
get a lot more business by assigning this interoperability feature to
their respective software developers. As they both perceive their
software packages as "competitors," to eQuest, I don't see it happening
anytime soon, but I've been wrong before!

I have heard scattered reports (and even seen a few screenshots) of
people in the "real world" managing to get GBS/Revit to interface via
export into eQuest - but my personal attempts (3 times) have all failed
along the way... it seems rooted to model manipulations that Revit MEP
cannot do, which Architectural can (and we don't have the budget for)
that are required for a clean export. To my limited understanding, with
this process you're getting geometries (polygons, surfaces) defined, and
possibly spaces/zones and constructions, but beyond that you're left to
do everything else without the wizards.


PS: If any man wants to contribute woman-hours (or vice versa, I won't
judge!) to making that eQuest-wiki concept happen, then make it known
=). By contributing, I'm explicitly suggesting being willing to write
up one or more articles, mini-guides, or how-to's.


Nick-Caton's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 805

I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth on the Trace HAP issue and
Nick's comment they should add compatibility to eQuest. I fully agree
they should. More and more of my specifying work is required to be
generic. I refuse to pay either Carrier or Trane to use their program
and do all their work for them. Both programs are very good but they
are basically an auto-size program for either Carrier or Trane
products. You have to admire the marketing aspect but with eQuest being
a free generic program both companies have lost the war. The specifying
engineer pays good money to use their proprietary program, does all the
work getting the project model built and working, sends the model to
them, they press the button and the whole job is itemized and costed,
they just have to fill out the bid forms. The company which lost has to
take the paper spec, build the model in their proprietary program, get
it running and then output the job with their units. I'm not sure how a
lot of this works now as I'm mostly in the generic world but in decades
past Trane and Carrier would battle to be the named manufacturer on a
job. There was major assistance from their engineers in doing the
spec. In recognition of the assistance, if you were willing to load
their auto-size program for them you could/would receive a free seat.
Your recognition for them is their name on the project units and the job
input handed to them on a platter. The downside of this system is both
companies know each others units intimately. Some jobs can be
configured/manipulated to put the other company at a disadvantage,
sometimes to the detriment of the owners system. As software, eQuest
does compete with HAP and Trace. But the money for a modelling program
pales compared the the real work of winning a job. This is why both
Trane and Carrier will give their program away free to their favourite
specifying engineers. They just off loaded a major part of the work to
be able to bid a job. Their major competitor is behind the 8 ball
because they are starting from scratch to bid the job (and every other
smaller company). eQuest could actually make everyones job easier,
maybe Carrier and Trane could throw some money or expertise into eQuest
to help make it better and compatible with their programs. The
modelling job would only get done once, each company could take the file
and convert it to their program, press the button and be ready to bid
the job. It would also get the owner a better job. Both Carrier and
Trane can easily check and tweak the job, probably provide some very
good ideas to make the project better. Face it both those companies
have some major engineering horsepower, and can provide valuable input.
They would lose a marketing device but in the end I believe it would
save them a lot of money reworking jobs they didn't get the
specification on. Ultimately they would be able to bid more jobs, sell
more units, make more money. The customer would get a better system as
well because money wasted on the dance could be applied to making the
job better. Equest could be made better faster with their help. I
think everyone would benefit.
Nice shot Carol :-) .
Bruce Easterbrook P.Eng.

Bruce Easterbrook's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0

Energy Programs are not used to design the project or select products. They are used to analyze and compare options, make design decisions, and for code compliance and LEED certification. During design, equipment is selected from performance data catalog and by using equipment selection programs. All product manufacturers provide this.

Varkie Thomas's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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During the design process, products are selected from performance data catalogs and equipment selection programs. All manufacturers provide this. Supporting customers and clients is a normal sales and marketing method.

Varkie Thomas's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0

Well after reading Varkie and Nick's response to this I realize I've been
pretty far away from the actual design of a building for a long time. I used
to get to do that but as a self-employed WOMAN I now just do the energy
modeling. Kind of funny, too, cause when I graduated, I immediately went
into energy conservation, it was new and exciting, and then tried to go
"backwards" to HVAC design with great difficulty. No one wants to train an
HVAC designer and pay them real money. Also, at that time, the late '80s, it
was popular in the A&E firms to encourage us women to do energy
conservation; dare I say it was considered women's work? To my credit I
fought for design experience because I realized I couldn't do a decent
energy model if I didn't understand how to design a system. Boy, I wish
others would realize that is still true.....

cmg750's picture
Joined: 2010-10-05
Reputation: 0

Thank you for your thoughts Bruce, Nick, and Carol.

I would like to be able to find a work flow, even similar to EnergyPlus and SketchUp, that allows for one building geometry model to be built then either export or import across various tools. Our company's situation would dictate these tools to be Trace and eQuest. Because eQuest is visually reassuring and less time intensive to build a model, it would be a huge time saver to take the eQuest energy model and export it to XML, which Trace can then import.

I'm like Nick, the few times that I've tried GreenBuilding Studio I've experienced unusable, or mangled results. And since it appears that GBS can go one way, Revit XML to eQuest INP, why can't it go the other way: INP to XML for Trane to be able to use. The biggest hurdle appears to be naming but should be a minor inconvenience (I think?).

If anyone has any ideas or is working with this same workflow I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thanks

Matthew Higgins, ASHRAE-HBDP, LEED-AP

Matthew W. Higgins's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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