Software Recommendations

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I am helping out with the planning of the student design competition for the
upcoming NESEA conference this up coming March.
( I think it would be great if the
contestants in addition to designing sexy building to have the design
heating and cooling loads as part of their entry. Can anybody recommend any
friendly software that would be forgiving for first time users and the
technically impaired? I know that HAP puts out a basic block load
calculator but my major issue with it is that it does not take into account
the potential of shading its self as a result of complex building forms and
asking contestants to use EQuest would just be crewel. I am looking for a
happy medium that would have the building geometry front end that Equest
that doesn't require a PE to operate. Any help or recommendations would be
greatly appreciated. Thanks!

E20-II block load report - hvac software

Ryan Lacey

Ryan Lacey's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0

How about using an input tool like the DesignBuilder or SketchUp plugin for
EnergyPlus, and then running loads with a simple HVAC system like
EnergyPlus' "purchased air"? That would make the input (especially HVAC)
simple and also recognize shading.

I'm suggesting EnergyPlus tools, since those are what I'm familiar with, but
there may be similar options for other software....

James V. Dirkes II, P.E., LEED AP

James V. Dirkes II  P.E.'s picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0


IES is probably the easiest graphically driven front end simulation package
to pick up and run with straight off, but I reckon DesignBuilder would be my
choice. It runs EnergyPlus and should be relatively easy to put something
together in a program that has an easy to use front end and has a nice
report generating tool and it's considerably cheaper than most tools of
similar standing.

Dr Paul Carey

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


You may find DesignBuilder a good choice for this purpose. DesignBuilder
combines state-of-the-art thermal simulation software (EnergyPlus) with an
easy-to-use yet powerful 3D modeler.

You can download a fully functional, 30 days evaluation, copy from our


Mahabir Bhandari, Ph.D., LEED AP

bhandari's picture
Joined: 2010-12-02
Reputation: 0


IES has a plugin to sketchup now, so the students could build their
models in free sketchup, then use the IES sustainability toolkit to run
the likes of the 2030 challenge with annual energy consumption and
carbon emissions (taking into account building shading), loads analysis,
solar shading studies and LEED daylighting compliance for NC 2.2 credit
8.1. These are all done with one button click so very little input is
required by the user to get extremely powerful and informative outputs.

It's something you can download from the website if you wish to trial


Pete Murray's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0