Prototype Commercial Building?

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Hi - I'm looking for either a doe2 model or a list of modeling parameters
for a prototype commercial building. Ideally, I'm looking for a model
that's for a typical commercial building around 40,000 square feet that's
been used/validated in other research projects.

Anybody have any leads? Thanks.

Morgan Heater, PE, LEED AP

Morgan Heater's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
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DOE has produced several prototypical commercial building models called reference buildings (formerly known as benchmarks) that include 16 different building types. It sounds like you might be looking for a building similar to the "medium office" one. These models are in EnergyPlus and are fully functional as is. If you prefer to use DOE2, though, there are "scorecard" spreadsheets that list all the inputs (in SI units) to the models. You could take those and build your own DOE2 model.

The models are located at:

If you do want to use them in EnergyPlus, note the version number that appears in the .idf, and be sure you're using a matching version.

Kristin M. Field

Field, Kristin's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
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Are you referring to a prototypical commercial office building?
While at LBNL, I developed a suite of 486 prototypical commercial
buildings covering 16 building types of three vintages in 16 cities,
that were later generalized to around 120 regional prototypes.

These were originally developed in the early 1990's as DOE-2 files,
but were converted to EnergyPlus in 2005-2007 and now exist as DOE's
benchmark buildings available on the NREL web site. However, I did
all the development work in DOE-2, and still have all these DOE-2
files, with the intention of putting them on my Web site at some

I can send you the medium office prototype if you're interested.
A distinguishing feature of these prototypes is that the input files
are highly modular and make extensive use of DOE-2 macros to set the
key building parameters (size, number of floors, interior conditions,
etc.). This makes the building models very flexible and extensible.
After all, I've yet to meet a researcher who just wanted to have an
input file and do a run without any modifications.

Joe Huang

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Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 406

Are your prototypes the ones that were converted into the energyplus files
referenced here?

If you had a doe-2 version of the medium office prototype, that would be
really helpful.


Morgan Heater's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

Yes and no. My original prototypes were reviewed in a 18-month interlab
effort between LBNL (where I was at the time), PNNL, and NREL. A team of
three working under me updated the prototypes to ASHRAE 90.1-2003, as
well as incorporating comments, received mostly from PNNL and DOE. At
DOE's request, we also converted the building files from DOE-2 BDL to
EnergyPlus IDF, and delivered both sets to DOE, PNNL, and NREL. After my
departure from LBNL in June 2007, NREL continued working on the
EnergyPlus files, and released them in 2009. I have not looked at these,
but according to my LBNL colleague these are essentially the same
building models, although there have been some improvements to the
system inputs from what I had delivered.

Joe Huang

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Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 406

Seven of the models are essentially the same as developed by Joe and colleagues. The two schools, three retail buildings, small hotel, outpatient, and warehouse models were changed to align with models developed through the Advanced Energy Design Guides published by ASHRAE. In addition, we added a midrise apartment building. For the seven models remaining from LBNL, we did make some changes to the HVAC and constructions based on surveys of CBECS and input from the 90.1 committees.

Michael Deru, Ph.D.

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Joined: 2011-10-02
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Does anyone have default values for the amount of hot water used per
day, either per person or per floor area, preferably the former, in
commercial buildings by building type, i.e., offices, hotels, retail,
supermarket, schools, hospitals, etc. ?

I'm trying to clean up my prototypical commercial building models and
found those inputs to be highly questionable.


Joe Huang

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Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 406

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Craig Gann's picture
Joined: 2011-10-01
Reputation: 1

Thanks for the information. I'll look for a copy of the User's Manual.
However, I'm trying to move away from Btu/h to gallons/day or gallons/hr
profiles that would allow me to account for differing boiler
efficiencies as well as entering water temperatures by location.

Joe Huang

Joe Huang's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 406

The default values of hot water consumption from the US DOE Commercial
Reference Buildings are in [L/hr] and are available for many
different building types. The "scorecard" spreadsheets that summarize the
inputs and results for each location and building type are particularly
useful as they include the sources for the assumptions (under Zone Summary

Clayton Miller

miller.clayton's picture
Joined: 2010-10-05
Reputation: 0

Hi Joe (and Morgan!),

I assume that the original prototypical models were developed for DOE-2.1e and not DOE-2.2, but please confirm. I would be interested in looking at these prototypes too if you are willing to share.


Hwakong Cheng's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 200

Dear Joe,
In the UK we have the ubiquitous National Calculation Methodology (NCM)!
This means that any software accredited to perform EPC's or Part L
analysis under the Building regulations must have Hot water heating
included in pre-built templates. This makes things nice and simple for
the user. The tradeoff for this simplicity is inflexibility - which is
another discussion altogether!
I believe the NCM uses Building Research Establishment (BRE) estimates
for its source. I will email this personally to anybody interested -
it's an M$ Access file of 11mb. Email me direct.
Another authorititive source could be the Institute of Plumbing guides.
I get the impression that the BRE may have referred to this extensively
for its sources.

Chris Yates2's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

It is my understanding that the user's manual btu/day/person is btu's used
at the tap. Depending on supply water temperature, you can figure out the
flowrate, and then apply your equipment efficiency.


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

Hi all,

Do you know if there are any prototypical models for residential buildings
developed too?
Thank you!

Fei Zhao

Fei Zhao's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

Fei Zhao,

I've done work developing residential prototypes for the Gas Research
Institute (GRI) starting in the late 80's. The GRI prototypes contain
around 120 detached configurations and 60 attached configurations (16
locations x 3-7 vintages), all done in DOE-2.1C. You're welcomed to look
at these, but the "new" vintages would need to be updated from the 80's
to now, and you would also need to delve into my preprocessing system
that predates DOE-2 macros.

At this point, I would recommend looking at the generic residential
model I developed in the late 90's for use in RESFEN and now being
used (with adaptations) for ORNL's web-based Roof Savings Calculator.
What's makes the model generic is that the template file is scalable
by building floor area, number of floors (1 or 2), and flexible in
accepting user-defined location, envelope R-values, window area,
etc. through extensive use of DOE-2 macros.

If you want to look at this generic residential model, you can download
and install the RESFEN program from the LBNL Window Group website. Then,
go to DATA subfolder and look for, which is the DOE-2
template file.

Joe Huang

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Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 406