[Bldg-sim] DOE Commercial Building Benchmark Models for eQuest or EnergyPlus to eQuest Converter

Joe Huang yjhuang at whiteboxtechnologies.com
Wed Apr 27 00:09:40 PDT 2011

Sorry, the last -email got sent inadvertently when I was searching for 
the Web link!  Please go to the end of this e-mail to get "the rest of 
the story"!


(BTW: in the spirit of full disclosure I'm probably  the "good 
authority" to which Jeff referred....

(finishing up on my previous e-mail....)
Since this topic has been brought to my attention from four separate 
sources in the last two months, I've decided to
post a little history about my role in the development of what's now 
called the DOE Commercial Building Benchmarks
(CBB) which may answer some of your questions

When I was still working at LBNL, I had worked for over ten years, 
mostly for the Gas Research Institute but later for
DOE, in developing prototypical buildings first for 60 multi-family 
(1988), 128 single-family (1990), and then 481` commercial buildings 
(1992), all implemented in DOE-2.1E.

In 2004, I was asked by DOE to update the commercial building 
prototypes  (16 building types x 2 vintages x 5 climate zones) to then 
current ASHRAE 90.1 requirements, refine the building geometry or 
architectural layout to "real" buildings (something I wanted to do), 
convert the files from DOE-2 to EnergyPlus (something that DOE wanted me 
to do), and then share them with NREL and PNNL. That project lasted for 
two years (2005-2007), and resulted in the first version of what's now 
called the DOE Commercial Building Benchmarks, which were turned over to 
DOE, NREL, and PNNL in June 2007, just at which time I retired from LBNL 
(no cause and effect implied here, by any means!).

I've heard from others that NREL has continued to work on them, which is 
good because my modeling of the HVAC system and plant in EnergyPlus was 
shaky (more about why this was so later). However, since I've had 
virtually no  communications with NREL about this since my retirement,  
I have no idea of what NREL has done with the (EnergyPlus) files since 
then. I suppose my retirement was a  convenient excuse  for keeping me 
out of the loop,
although any of my friends or acquaintances know well that I'm still 
quite active in the field.

Most of the enquires I get about the CBB, like this current post, ask 
whether there are DOE-2 or eQUEST  versions.
This strikes me as very ironic, since my original work was all done in 
DOE-2.1E, and even when I converted them to EnergyPlus, all the 
development work was still done in DOE-2 and then converted to 
EnergyPlus using doe2ep, a
DOE-2.1E to EnergyPlus conversion program for which I'm also responsible 
on a Californiia Energy Commission project. In fact, my deliverables to 
DOE, NREL, and PNNL always contained two subdirectories - DOE-2 and 
EnergyPlus, although  unsurprisingly the DOE-2 files were always ignored.

To tell the truth, I was never comfortable with the CBB released only as 
EnergyPlus files, because I felt that the real value of the CBB lie in 
the building characterizations, which should be independent of the 
simulation program used.  I'm also
not thrilled that the CBB exist as a hundred-some separate EnergyPlus 
IDF files (please correct me if that has changed. That's fine if one 
wants to simply rerun the files, but what would be the point of doing 
that?  In most cases, people want the files as templates  to explore 
various alternatives.

So, what is the current status of  the DOE-2 files that I created for 
the CBB Version 1?  They are publicly available on my  Web site at


You'll notice that the file structure is the opposite of individual 
monolithic input files.There is a subdirectory for each building type, 
under which there are modules (actually *.inc include files) for 
construction, schedules, loads, systems, etc.,
that use extensively DOE-2 macros. When you want to do a run, you 
specify the general specifics of the building of interest (building 
type, location, vintage, etc.) in a batch script (example provided) that 
then composes the individual
DOE-2 input file, does a run, and then processes the output using an awk 
script. I've had a Research Associate at the Lab who once ported this 
system to Excel using VB, but I don't want to release that for fear of 
having to debug and
maintain something with which I'm unfamiliar!

A couple of caveats:
1. these files are in DOE-2.1E and date from May 2007, i.e., Version 1 
of the CBB.
2. I've had discussions with several people interested to update them to 
the current version of the CBB, as well as to migrate the files to 
eQUEST/DOE-2.2 . However, given that these have been volunteer efforts, 
there's no telling how much will be achieved (I've not had any 
motivation to seek funding to do this, but I'd be interested to explore 
this if others are interested).

A last note: the reason that the EnergyPlus IDF that I gave 
DOE/NREL/PNNL was weak in the system modeling was that I used doe2ep to 
translate the DOE-2 files to EnergyPlus. However, doe2ep could translate 
only 5 or 6 DOE-2
System Types,  so I made all system types either VAVS, PVAVS, or PSZ.  
Status of doe2ep?  It's also 4 years out of date, which is why I'm 
refraining from releasing it.

So that's the whole story. See, Jeff, now you've got me to finally write 
this down!


Joe Huang
White Box Technologies, Inc.
346 Rheem Blvd., Suite 108D
Moraga CA 94556
yjhuang at whiteboxtechnologies.com
(o) (925)388-0265
(c) (510)928-2683
"building energy simulations at your fingertips"

Jeff Haberl wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm told by a good authority that these files were created originally as DOE-2.1e files and then converted to Energyplus. However, the only versions available are EnergyPlus. There might be a possibility that these could be made available if enough people could use them.
> Jeff
> 8=!  8=)  :=)  8=)  ;=)  8=)  8=(  8=)  8=()  8=)  8=|  8=)  :=')  8=)8=?
> Jeff S. Haberl, Ph.D.,P.E., FASHRAE..............jhaberl at tamu.edu
> Professor............................................................Office Ph: 979-845-6507
> Department of Architecture.............................Lab Ph:979-845-6065
> Energy Systems Laboratory.............................FAX: 979-862-2457
> Texas A&M University.....................................77843-3581
> College Station, Texas, USA, 77843..................URL:www.esl.tamu.edu
> 8=/  8=)  :=)  8=)  ;=)  8=)  8=()  8=)  :=)  8=)  8=!  8=)  8=? 8=)8=0
> ________________________________________
> From: bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org [bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] on behalf of David Hostetter [dhostetter at centerpointeng.net]
> Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 7:01 AM
> To: bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org
> Subject: [Bldg-sim] DOE Commercial Building Benchmark Models for eQuest or      EnergyPlus to eQuest Converter
> All,
> Does anyone know if the DOE Commercial Building Benchmark Models are available as eQuest files, or if there is a way to convert EnergyPlus files to eQuest?
> Thanks in advance!!
> Sincerely,
> David P. Hostetter, E.I.T.
> Mechanical Designer
> CenterPoint Engineering Inc.
> 2 Market Plaza Way
> Mechanicsburg, PA  17055
> Phone:  717-795-8575
> Fax:  717-795-9110
> dhostetter at centerpointeng.net<mailto:dhostetter at centerpointeng.net>
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