[bldg-sim] Green Building Studio

Norm Weaver norm_weaver at interwvr.com
Thu Dec 22 07:57:57 PST 2005

One more voice to chime in.  I think John's comments hit at the heart of the
matter - the more efficient the energy analysis community can be in
delivering decision-making support, especially at the critical time early in
schematic design, the greater the positive impact of our work.  I see tools
for early design stages like GBS ( and Energy-10 that John did not mention)
leveraging (not supplanting) the knowledge and skill of the energy analyst.
These tools put energy and resource issues on the table early and feed into
more detailed studies as the design progresses.  There is always be the need
for quality control in the "art of energy modeling" as provided by the
review and guidance of a knowledgeable analyst.  It's also worth noting the
"flattening world" phenomenon that will require all of us to think about how
our work flows into the design process and how it may be done differently in
the future.

Norm Weaver, P.E.
InterWeaver Consulting
P.O. Box 775444
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
email: norm_weaver at interwvr.com
phone: 970-870-1710

-----Original Message-----
From: bldg-sim at gard.com [mailto:bldg-sim at gard.com]On Behalf Of John F.
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:23 AM
To: bldg-sim at gard.com
Subject: [bldg-sim] Green Building Studio


I am happy to see such thoughtful discussions about the possible
ramifications of the Green Building Studio web service. I want to state some
things that I am sure we all know, but I feel they are relevant to the

1. Electricity consumption on this planet nearly doubled in the last twenty
years (8->15 Billion kWh) and is forecasted to nearly double in the next
twenty (15->29 Billion kWh). That means electricity consumption will
increase twice as fast the next twenty years as it did the previous twenty
years. This is an enormous amount of growth and will require significant
energy efficient design on the vast majority of new and existing buildings
to curb. Negawatts needed here big time!

2. Over 1,100,000 new buildings are built each year in the US and roughly
three times that amount globally. Conservatively assuming it takes a week to
do a whole building hourly energy analysis (WBEA), it would require over
65,000 simulators to simulate this annual global figure. We number much much

3. Less then 1% of ALL these new buildings use WBEA to inform the most
critical architectural energy-related design decisions (# floors, floor
plate configuration, envelope constructions, natural ventilation,
daylighting, HVAC System class, etc.). Sure, about 15% of non-residential
new construction projects receive WBEA, but it occurs after these critical
decisions have been made.

4. The vast majority of lead architects makes these critical decisions at
early schematic when they select their design scheme. Today, nearly every
architect makes their most important architectural energy-related design
decision (scheme selection) with NO energy use information of their schemes!

The Green Building Studio web service (GBS) is specifically designed to be
used by the lead architect's design team to properly analyze each scheme the
architect is considering and allow all team members (engineer, lighting
designer, simulator, code consultant, etc.) to gain detailed knowledge of
these schemes in their preferred analysis application (GBS, Trace 700,
eQuest, DOE-2, EnergyPlus, Carmel Software, IES VE, etc.) in a fraction of
the time and cost it would normally take. This allows for true integrated
design by the entire design team at a time when it is most critical and cost
effective. It also allows the simulator to provide a much greater value to
the team at the same cost by analyzing more options that can be considered
at such an early stage of the design.

As an open question, how many people have gotten to a project just in time
to find out that there is an enormous amount of glass facing west, the
entitlements have been completed (little chance to modify overhangs/shading
etc) and now the energy expert is trying to mitigate a problem rather than
solve the problem as they could have if there had been a schematic
consideration of energy use/comfort early in the process?

If the number of buildings receiving WBEA at schematic as well as the number
of engineers/simulators providing assistance in these analyses does not
dramatically increase, then GBS has failed in its purpose. GBS is designed
to dramatically increase the number of buildings receiving WBEA AND increase
the demand for a simulators/engineers services.

BTW, we will be releasing version 2 of the Green Building Studio web service
early next year. It will include single-family residential capabilities,
design alternatives (orientation, envelope constructions, glazing type and
amount by orientation, lighting efficacy and controls, and HVAC system
class), user selected building schedules, user entered unit energy costs,
and various other improvements. We will also enable users to download an
EnergyPlus file of their building design as well. The EnergyPlus file is
simulation-ready and includes all surfaces, openings, constructions,
schedules, internal loads, and HVAC compact values.  Several of these
enhancements were from user feedback as well as recommendations from the
Carnegie Mellon study Khee Pho Lam did about a year ago.

Looking forward to seeing this group having a big impact on this planet's
energy future.



John F. Kennedy
President & CTO

Green Building Studio, Inc.
707.766.7010 v
707.766.7014 f
707.235.1335 c

-----Original Message-----
From: bldg-sim at gard.com [mailto:bldg-sim at gard.com] On Behalf Of Carol
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 2:51 PM
To: bldg-sim at gard.com
Cc: bldg-sim at gard.com
Subject: [bldg-sim] Green Building Studio


Thank you for this explanation.  This sounds like a potentially great tool
and I will have to try it out.

I, like others on BLDG SIM, want to see energy analysis incorporated into
the design process so that better buildings will be built.  In fact, this
has been my life's work since 1982 when I was still in engineering school.

The only problem I have with it is that the "drudgery" you speak of is a
large part of how I earn my living, and it does sound like the goal of this
tool is to replace me at some point.  As anyone who has been doing building
simulation for any amount of time knows (my first model was on
DOE2.1c) the up front setting up of the geometry, schedules and
constructions is what takes the most time, therefore paying the energy
engineer the most money (sorry to be so crass).

As far as bringing more experts to the table I have doubts about that too.
I would guess that it will actually bring more people to the table who don't
have experience in energy engineering, which requires a unique set of skills
that cut across many disciplines, but who think since they have the results
from this nifty new tool that they have the answers.

My goal is not to be a wet blanket but to encourage everyone involved to
think this through.  We, the energy professionals, are finally getting the
respect we deserve due to the acceptance of the "green" building movement
but if bad answers get provided which cause bad systems to be installed it
will be like the solar fiasco Brian spoke of and all good experiences could
quickly forgotten.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Carol Gardner

Pat Bailey wrote:
> All,
> We're excited about the interest in the Green Building Studio web
> service that has popped up on BLDG SIM in the last few days.  As the
> head of the engineering portion of our firm, I would like to agree
> with much of what has been said and clear up a few items.
> Green Building Studio, Inc. is a firm that develops software and
> provides services related to green building design.  Our Green
> Building Studio web service (GBS) is a free web based schematic energy
> analysis service, funded by a number of public and utility entities.
> The service is designed to encourage building designers, especially
> architects, to look at the very important energy decisions that they
> are making, whether they know it or not, at the very earliest stages
> of schematic and even programmatic design.
> Green Building Studio (the web service) works with the leading CAD BIM
> and HVAC design software providers (AutoDesk Revit, ADT and Building
> Systems and ArchiCAD 9.0, Trane Trace 700) to provide a high level
> energy analysis of schematic designs (using appropriate 90.1 or
> localized defaults if the envelope or other building characteristics
> are unknown).  We do this by converting a Green Building XML (gbXML)
> file, created by a CAD/BIM application, to a simulation model (DOE2
> and
> EnergyPlus) after assigning the defaults mentioned above where
> necessary, and running the simulation on our server and serving up the
> highest level results to the user (typically an architect).  In
> addition, we make the native DOE2.2 file available to the architect,
> simulators,  and design team so that they can modify, update and
> migrate the file (in text or eQUEST) with the design(s) as they move
> forward.  The intent is that MORE experts will be involved in
> simulating MORE buildings, not to replace the experts.  We do however
> want to replace the 3-sided rulers, reduce the amount of time that it
> takes to get a simulation model built so that more time is spent
> exercising the model, running parametrics, investigating possibilities
> and providing valuable information to owners and design teams early in
> the process so that schematic decisions (glazing amount per
> orientation, rotation of the building/campus, window shading, system
> type) can be informed by a schematic energy analysis.
> We changed our name (as of September 1 of this year) to Green Building
> Studio, Inc. in order to clarify what we do (Our former name was
> GeoPraxis, Inc.) Members of our firm have been working with energy
> simulation software for approximately 15 years, we have engineering
> and analysis staff who do exactly the type of work as other members of
> BLDG-SIM.  We want to eliminate the drudgery associated with building
> energy simulation, increase its use, and educate everyone in the
> process.  If we can do these things (with the help of many), we will
> all spend more time on the work we enjoy and that truly adds value to
> the design process.
> I hope this helps.  I will ask John Kennedy (the president of our firm
> and lead developer of Green Building Studio) to weigh in with more
> information when he is available.
> Pat
> ___________________________________
> Pat Bailey, PE
> Vice President
> Green Building Studio, Inc.
> 205 Keller Street, #202
> Petaluma, CA 94952
> 707-766-7010 - phone
> 707-766-7014 - fax
> pbailey at greenbuildingstudio.com
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --
> *From:* bldg-sim at gard.com [mailto:bldg-sim at gard.com] *On Behalf Of
> *Sheila Sagerer
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 21, 2005 6:25 AM
> *To:* bldg-sim at gard.com
> *Subject:* [bldg-sim] Green Building Studio
> Good Morning All-
> I have not had the opportunity to try the GBS set yet, but I was at a
> seminar for it back in September.  As I understand the process and
> stated below, there is very little control from the GBS site on
> detailed inputs.  But, the GBS site is supposed to automatically
> generate an eQuest input file (*.inp) that can be downloaded for the
> energy modeler's use.  This would save us modelers A LOT of input time
> just in creating the building while still allowing us to have the
> ability to tweak occupancy, schedules and other pertinent details to
> our satisfaction and do troubleshooting.  At least we would have a
> time-saving starting point??
> Happy Holidays.
> Sheila Sagerer
> Energy Engineer, LEED AP
> Energy Opportunities, Inc / a 7group company
> Ph: 717-880-9069
> Fax:  717-291-9497
>     -----Original Message-----
>     *From:* bldg-sim at gard.com [mailto:bldg-sim at gard.com]*On Behalf Of
>     *Mohit Mehta
>     *Sent:* Tuesday, December 20, 2005 8:47 PM
>     *To:* bldg-sim at gard.com
>     *Subject:* [bldg-sim] Green Building Studio
>     Good dialogue!
>     Out of curiosity - we actually tried this GBS website - all we did
>     was open the Revit file (of one of our projects), exported to GBXML
>     and load it into the geopraxis site. Took all of 10-15 min. The site
>     asks some basic information about location, project statistics, and
>     energy statistics (you can enter your own or go with their database
>     of energy costs based on your zip code) and ran their report. All
>     pretty straightforward.  The project architect (from the design
>     team) input this himself and forwarded the output to me for feedback.
>     The output that we got was not up to par (aware that it depends on
>     what/how it was input in the first place). Some quick basic
>     observations on the output summary -
>         * The annual electric/fuel breakdown was missing quite a few
>           categories.
>         * I am not sure what or how the schedules are input for this
>           building. It never asked for that input.
>         * The envelope/glazing interpretations were suspect
>         * The cooling load was way off (on the high side)
>     The information on the report is a starting point but I am not sure
>     who this report is exactly meant for. Is it for the architect to
>     interpret and make changes or is it for the engineer/modeler who
>     interprets the report and gives his feedback to the architect to
>     make the necessary changes? There is a lot missing from the process
>     of defining, inputting and getting a legitimate output that can be
>     troubleshot if something looks amiss, to feel very confident about
>     it. I mean, even in the most accurate of models there is a +-5-15%
>     error margin, if not more. In this a lot was unclear to me. It saved
>     us some time but are we willing to make design/mechanical changes
>     based on it? Personally, I am more comfortable if the process is
>     under my control where I can tweak the various inputs and directly
>     see the impacts that they might have. And I am sure most of us in
>     this 'group' feel the same.
>     We will be looking at it more in depth soon.
>     My two cents - Happy Holidays
>     ~m
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --
>     *From:* bldg-sim at gard.com [mailto:bldg-sim at gard.com] *On Behalf Of
>     *Zoeteman, Mark R.
>     *Sent:* Monday, December 19, 2005 6:41 AM
>     *To:* bldg-sim at gard.com
>     *Subject:* [bldg-sim] Green Building Studio
>     Have bldg-sim users seen this yet (sounds too good to be true):
>     Teams use their existing computer-aided design systems to
>     communicate a project's building geometry to the GBS website, which
>     conducts an energy analysis of the building design. The program
>     enables the design team to look at the energy impact of early design
>     decisions, compare alternatives, and share information more broadly
>     with other team members.
>     http://www.bdcnetwork.com/article/CA6281244.html?text=computer
>     It provides whole building energy analysis using the widely accepted
>     building analysis program, DOE-2, at no charge to the design team.
>     GBS is accessed from within the design team's 3D-CAD software.
>     http://www.greenbuildingstudio.com/About.aspx
>     Mark Zoeteman
>     FTC&H, Inc.
>     _mrzoeteman at ftch.com_
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