[BLDG-SIM] "User friendly" is in the eye of the beholder (user)

Aulbach, John JAulbach at semprasolutions.com
Mon Jun 11 10:45:47 PDT 2001

I have worked with hourly building simulation since 1977 and DOE-2 in
particular since 1984. I consider myself a decent simulation user, but must
continuously consult with my HVAC colleagues in insure that what the
simulation is doing is:

a) Something that can happen in reality
b) Happens in the expected sequence of operations
c) Is simulated conservatively enough to predict results that can be

My biggest complaint with the current DOE-2 is that I must consult FOUR
manuals (DOE-2.1A Reference, DOE-2.1E BDL Summary and Supplement, the JJ
Hirsch Version 110 and higher Supplement, and the Current Errata Tables),
each in the proper sequence, to insure the model takes all the proper
parameters into account.

"User Friendly" for Building Simulation to ME should be a complex
documentation  (Read: BOOK, not on-line menus) of

1) The sequencing and interrelationship between program modules
2) The HVAC systems that can be simulated, with their related parameters
3) Documentation of error messages and what they can mean
4) Updates to this documentation, not Supplements !!

User friendly should mean that a person who has sufficient understanding of
HVAC systems can find answers to his simulation question. One who does NOT
foster this understand will naturally be lost.

If I don't use DOE-2 for a few months (other tasks become prevalent), I
sometime feel I must relearn part of the program, because the "A" manual
explanation was then changed in the "C" version, and once again in the "E"
version 110 and higher. A single, complex, but annotated documentation of a
building simulation program will give the appropriate users all the "User
Friendliness" they need.

John R. Aulbach, PE, CEM
Project Engineer
Sempra Energy Solutions
555 West Fifth Street
Mail Location 27F3
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Tel :(213) 244-8551 Beeper (888) 520-1051

"Sempra Energy Solutions is not the same company as SDG&E/ SoCalGas, the
Utilities.  Sempra Energy Solutions is not regulated by the California
Public Utilities Commission, and you do not have to buy Sempra Energy
Solutions products or services to continue to receive quality regulated
service from the Utilities."  

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