[bldg-sim] suggestions other than eQuest

Lee Elson lee.elson at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Apr 1 12:54:50 PST 2005

I'm designing a 3500 sq foot residence at a 5000' desert-like elevation (Nevada).
The site has good sun exposure and the climate is generally dry. Typical
temperatures in Feb are 20-40 F. The building is mostly oriented east-west and has
a 2' deep insulated rock floor (for thermal mass) with active air recirculation.
ICF's will be used as well as tile over concrete (above rock floor) in south
facing rooms.

I'm trying to get a realistic estimate of temperature swings and auxiliary heating
requirements. I've used eQuest, which seems pretty impressive and easy to use.
I've entered the floor plan layout, specified the glazing (clear glass on the
south side) and the building materials. The calculations are a bit disappointing:
with 12% of the total floor space in south facing glass, the aux heating required
is not too different (~20%) from a house with standard insulation and no added
south facing glass. Another oddity: when I change the south facing glass area from
5% of the available south wall to 90% of the south wall, I get an *increase* in
aux heating requirements. The eQuest developer thinks this is due to inadequate
thermal mass/heat recirculation modeling.

I suspect that eQuest is not doing accurate modeling since other houses with a
similar design in this area get much better thermal performance. Can anyone
suggest either software or a service provider that might be able to do a more
accurate calculation?


Lee Elson

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