IES-VE Energy

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Varkie Thomas's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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There are two versions of VE-ware one for revit and one for sketchup.
Go to the IES website and at the top find the revit pull down menu to
find the correct download.

Leonard Sciarra, AIA, LEED(r) ap

Leonard Sciarra's picture
Joined: 2011-10-01
Reputation: 0

REVIT MEP comes with the IES VE load analysis built in. But I think you need to have the full version to analyze the energy consumption based on systems and lighting etc.

I have found that as long as the spaces have been set up correctly by the architect in Revit generating the geometry for the energy model is done by Revit and takes a couple of minutes to determine interior vs exterior walls/windows etc. (depending on the size of the building and the capacity of the computer doing the calculations). The calculations will generate a room by room load calculation which can be imported back to the model and allocated to the individual spaces.

Vs doing an import of the Autocad drawing and tracing the shape, locating windows etc. Time savings can be significant.

However, I have only yet used it for loads for equipment sizing and not for an energy simulation.


V. Stirling Walkes, P.Eng., LEED AP

I have been asked by an ME/AE firm to check out IES-VE Energy. This firm makes extensive use of the Revit programs for design.
I downloaded the trial version of 'IES-VE-Ware/Toolkits 5.9 Setup' and tried to run/install it and I got the following message: "You require an installation of Google Stetchup 6, etc., to install VE-Ware"
I downloaded 'IES5.9 SketchUp Plug-in Setup' and tried to install this and got the following message: "You must have a copy of IES5.9 installed before attempting to install this plug-in"
I am interested in trying out IES-VE Energy component only. Is there a trial version for this? Is there a tutorial that I can refer to when trying to learn how to use this program?
The IES-VE website shows 2 engineering clients - Syska Hennessy and Vanderweil Engineering. How many building projects have been analyzed with IES-VE for energy performance by US AE firms?
Why use IES-VE-Energy when DOE2.1E and eQUEST are free and TRACE and HAP are inexpensive with excellent customer support?
Is there statistical data by type & size of project, on the energy programs used in the US for code compliance and LEED certification?
Varkie Thomas

Stirling Walkes's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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I strongly advise you not to use this option. If Revit, looses a room, it's likely that you'll not even notice it. I created a full model of a 50million project within Revit from the Architectural model. Loaded it into IES and lost 75% of all rooms, that's over 200 rooms, all lost.
My solution is, purchase the software, draw all model from sratch within IES of Sketchup, Stay away from IES with Revit, it always falls over or is incorrect or requires 3 or 4 times of repetitive data entry e.g. construction properties.

Kind Regards
Ronan Carney

CARNEY Ronan's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
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Thanks for the tip Ronan. Did you create a room schedule within Revit to monitor rooms and loads within rooms to ensure that they have been carried over properly? Or have you found that it isn't worth the time?



Stirling Walkes's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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Thanks for the responses and telephone calls. Most of them were sent to me directly. The general picture I got was that TRACE700 does a better job of importing Revit data than IESVE. Importing and other problems can be fixed. Is the IESVE program in metric only?.

Varkie Thomas's picture
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Benjamin Jordan's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
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I also back Ban full heartily on all his points. We here are using
IES-VE in Australia to meet Australia's Green Star Credits. In addition
the IES support team in Melbourne is fantastic and always always do
their very best to solve/fix and review our models & problems.

Ronan Carney

CARNEY Ronan's picture
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hamnmegs at's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
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The comment below stands out which might also be the reason for not using EnergyPlus on large projects.
- DOE-2.2 runs much quicker. For comparable 30,000 m2 buildings I would say DOE-2 runs in 1 minute and IES VE with an APhvac network probably 1-2 hours. If you through in Macroflo it probably adds another hour of simulation time. As a result iterative trial and error debugging has to be done on a 1-2 week period.
Large building projects (1 to 10 million sqft) with up to 1,000 zones and 70 systems ranging in size from 10,000 to 200,000 cfm (pardon the English units - the USA & the Bahamas are not going to switch to metric) require several iterative runs to get the input errors fixed. Breaking up the project into small pieces is not a solution since it affects demand costs, central plants and other components. I have worked on such projects using DOE2.1E and TRACE600/700.
eQUEST is not suitable for such projects either. One of its limitations is that you cannot enter the space names shown on architectural drawings. Others include assuming all the input data and making all the decisions for you when you enter the type of building. 1000 zones means 1000 infiltration schedules and multiples of other building components. It is unrealistic to check all the input created by eQUEST for errors. Fixing everything to match the exact project data has to be done in detailed edit. Detailed edit means you lose access to the graphical method of creating the building model from AutoCAD drawings which is the main benefit of this program.

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


I disagree with your statement that eQuest is not appropriate for large
buildings because you can't change space names to match architectural names
in wizard mode, and the inputs created from the wizard aren't appropriate
for all spaces. The wizards are called "Schematic Design Wizard" and
"Design Development Wizard" for a reason. They aren't desinged for detail,
they're designed to help you make big design decisions quickly. If you want
the building to be modeled as closely as possible to the final design, this
takes some extra work. Yeah, re-naming spaces is a pain, but at 5 seconds
per space, re-naming 1,000 spaces takes about 1.5 hours, well worth the
effort. If you re-name zones too, maybe it's 3 hours total.

Yeah, some things about eQuest are clumsy, like why does it create one
underground wall (and floor) consturction for each surface, when only 4-5
are needed for the whole model? Why does it re-create occupancy, lighting
and micellaneous equipment schedules for each shell, even if the use is the
same? And why does it create tons of duplicate infiltration schedules?
BUT... this takes an hour or two to clean up, and then you have a decently
flexible model that gives you reasonable results in a matter of minutes.
Versus a program that takes 1-2 hours to run. I've done a few LEED projects
in Trace700 and it's painful modeling a design case and four (rotated) base
cases at 1-2 hours each, especially if you then find you've left anything

I definitely agree that there are some major things missing in all modeling
programs, which is why I'm putting together a "Master Wish List" of
modeler's desires. If you have things that you would like to be able to
model, things you'd like to be able to model more easily, or things that you
can do that you feel are very important, please send me your list. I
currently have contact info for about 10 people representing various
simulation programs who want to know what we want! Now's our chance to have
some input!


No Username provide's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 200

Karen and all,

I'm confused can a program that takes up to 3 hours to rename
the zones but then takes minutes to get results, be better than something
that takes a few minutes to rename, but then takes a couple of hours to run?
They are about the same surely? The only advantage I can see is that
further iteration might be quicker in the former assuming your geometry
doesn't change.

I have been using various modelling tools such as IES VE, TAS and
DesignBuilder as well as a few other tools when necessary (Fluent & CHAM CFD
etc) since the late 90s. IES is good, it's quick to produce models and
excellent for dynamic natural ventilation design. TAS is better at the HVAC
and natural ventilation design aspects than IES and I think it's more
accurate, but it's front end still lacks some of the functionality of other
tools. Hopefully that is being addressed by their links with Bentley. My
colleague, Chris Yates (also on this list) has become a bit of a wiz with
the sketchup plug in for IES and this appears to be much better than relying
on the gbxml output of revit.

DesignBuilder is the tool that I use most now in both SBEM (UK regulations
format) and EnergyPlus for dynamic modelling. It takes a lot of the best
features of both IES and TAS and then adds some other nice touches in terms
of data application to speed up the process of setting up your models. The
only sticking point with it is that EnergyPlus is painfully slow. The main
thing I'd like is for that to be changed and improved. Carrying out
simulations with all the lighting controls and calculated natural
ventilation turned on for buildings with over 100 zones is nigh on
impossible as I don't fancy leaving it running for a week or two. I have to
carry out major sub-division of models or calculate individual zones then
schedule up the vent based on those results or just go with scheduled vent.
Thankfully the reporting methodology from DesignBuilder is pretty good,
though I have to admit I quite like some of the report wizard output by

The main advantage of the commercial tools as opposed to the free tools such
as DOE and equest, is that they use an interactive 3d model to input the
building and that you can interrogate much more easily for post-processing.
This means you gain an understanding of the building form much more easily
and many link with other tools for further analysis. I like some of what
equest has to offer, but I much prefer the interactive model building tools
that IES, TAS and DeisgnBuilder offer. They just make it...easier...and
generally quicker and more efficient when you consider the other studies
that you can do (e.g daylighting, CFD, etc).

In terms of asking for changes - having worked for IES (and with many other
developers), the stock answer even to their own team was...yes it's on the
list. My guess is that will still be the same.



Dr Paul Carey


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Zero Energy Design Ltd

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Paul Carey's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

It can be better because you only have to do the renaming process once
and then your done whereas you are going to have to do the rerunning way
more than once: at least 4 orientation runs, a run for each energy
efficiency measure, a run each time you realize you forgot to do the
____(fill it in). You are way further ahead using eQUEST. I'm not sure
what you mean by an interactive 3D viewer, I find eQUEST's 3D views
really helpful but I get the impression you are talking about something
else. At any rate, I have used IESVE and E+ and I think they both excel
in ways that eQUEST doesn't but IESVE is just too expensive for a single
shop person like me and E+ is just too slow so far. I don't rule them
out for use when I'm rich and they're faster, though.


Carol Gardner's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0

Carol said most of it, and I definitely second the prohibitive cost for a
program like IES-VE for a small shop, but I've used Trace700, which I assume
uses an iterative algorithm (it took about 1-2 hours run-time). So maybe
using an iterative algorithm gives a little more accuracy, I'd guess on the
order of 2-5%, BUT many of these programs don't allow you the flexibility in
your inputs to take advantage of the iterative nature of the program. For
many systems, you don't need to use an iterative program, you just need to
know the hourly space loads, hourly ventilation loads, and equipment
operation efficiencies at the given conditions. You need just a few layers:
component load (walls, windows, internal loads, etc), zone loads, hvac
system loads, loop loads and plant loads, in order to get pretty good
results. You need a few additional levels when your systems get more
compliated, but it doesn't require a super-complicated algorithm.

Bottom line is, many programs have their drawbacks. eQuest is not good at
modeling natural ventilation, precisely because it is not a CFD program. If
it were good at modeling natural ventilation, it wouldn't be able to run in
1-2 minutes.

I'd love to see a program that could integrate into two simulation engines,
one quick engine for trouble-shooting, doing DD models and running lots of
alternatives, and then an interative simulation engine for more complex
stuff, natural ventilation, complicated HVAC system configurations, etc.
Add that one to the wish-list! Maybe we'll see it in 20 years.


No Username provide's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 200

Just following the last sentence of Karen's massage: "Maybe we'll see it in 20 years..."

The waiting period may be shorten if more bright, innovative, and hard working people take the gun from the veterans and work around the clock to create the virtual reality of the buildings, mechanical systems, and even the behavior of occupants... It is definitely hard work! I guess, unless this hard work can be rewarded in some way, we still have to endure with the slow pace, or even slower pace due to the aging factor, of the development of energy analysis software.


Xiaobing Liu2's picture
Joined: 2011-10-01
Reputation: 0

Thanks Xiaobing. How do we get involved in development?

No Username provide's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 200

On the modeling of natural ventilation, I've not heard of anyone who's
coupled thermal with CFD for annual simulations, and if they did I'd
guess they're still waiting for the results! There are, however,
several programs (EnergyPlus, ESPr) that do link up with a multi-zone
air-flow network program (EnergyPlus uses AirNET/CONTAM) to "ping
pong" with the thermal
program. My experience doing an earlier linking of COMIS into
EnergyPlus showed increases in runtimes of 2-3 times (that's on top of
the standard run times most people have seen). I also saw instabilities
in the "ping pong" approach that made me think of more iterations
(horrors!), but the funding got cut so I didn't pursue that.

As for eQuest handling of natural ventilation, its capabilities are
probably the same as DOE-2.1E, which does have a very simple one-zone
natural ventilation model that would calculate outside air flow rates
based on that zone's leakage are, outside temperature, and wind speed.
This capability was available first only in the RESYS system, but later
extended to the other systems. I wouldn't use it to design a commercial
building with hybrid ventilation, but for rough estimates of natural
ventilation potentials for operable windows in perimeter offices, how
bad is it ? Another nice thing about this natural ventilation feature
in DOE-2 is that DOE-2 Systems first checks to see if NV can hold the
setpoint temperature, and if not, it shuts off NV and turns on the
mechanical system. Voila! The ideal natural ventilation control. I've
yet to see such a control available in other programs.

So, I get a little impatient when people talk about the capabilities of
different programs in a yes-no context.

Joe Huang

Joe Huang3's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

We are working on a natural ventilation program, CoolVent, that does
zonal analysis for multiple zones such as multistory open plan zones
connected to a central atrium. It simultaneously solves the energy and
momentum equations for each zone and includes thermal mass effects for
transient simulations. It is still under development.
Leon Glicksman

Leon Glicksman's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0


That's very interesting. I know Jim Axley also worked with George
Walton a decade or so ago to add heat conduction routines to CONTAM in
order to simultaneously solve for heat and mass transport. I don't know
whatever became of that work, though.
Univ. of Colorado is now working on an ASHRAE project 1456-RP to
evaluate methods to model natural ventilation, although so far they've
only looked into coupled techniques, not simultaneous solutions. Have
you considered using an existing thermal program for the thermal side of
the equations ? I know that would be major surgery, but then you will
have access to all the
effort that's already done in modeling heat transfer and radiation.

Joe Huang

Joe Huang3's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

Dear Dr. Huang and Dr. Glicksman:

Yes, the work ended with up a program called CONTAM97R, which can do both onion
and ping-pong type of thermal-air couplings. The program has been used
internally for several projects related to natural/hybrid ventilation. We are
looking for the potential of extending its capability. Besides
Energyplus+Airnet, TRANSYS has a new type to couple with CONTAM too, which is
also under further development. By the way, we have a new version of CONTAM 3.0
with CFD capability, which is under beta testing. Hopefully, the new version
will be released publicly soon.


Liangzhu (Leon) Wang, PhD
lwang at
Building Environment Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
(301) 975-6447
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8633
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8633

Quoting Joe Huang :

wang95 at's picture
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