The products below all work with EnergyPlus to improve overall functionality.
EnergyPlus comes with several utilities to help create input files and run simulations, including IDF Editor and EP-Launch.
EP-Launch provides a simpler alternative for running EnergyPlus than batch files. EP-Launch allows the user to select the input file directly or from a list of recent or sample files. It also allows easy selection for weather data files. After the EnergyPlus run completes, EP-Launch reports if any errors or warnings occurred. In addition, EP-Launch acts as a file manager for each run and can help open a text editor for any of the input and output files, opens spreadsheet for several results files, and starts up a viewer for the building drawing file.
For users who want a simple way of creating or editing EnergyPlus input data files (IDF), IDF Editor provides this service. Any EnergyPlus object may be viewed and edited using a spreadsheet-like grid. For inputs with several options, a list is provided. When a numeric input has a range of valid values, those values are displayed. It also automatically provides a list of object names when an object needs to be linked to another. By displaying all objects of the same kind next to each other in a grid, it is easy to see how inputs are different across the building. The IDF Editor outputs an EnergyPlus input file with proper syntax and comments to help the user understand the input values. In addition, the IDF Editor converts standard inch-pound units into SI units compatible with EnergyPlus.
EP-Compare allows direct comparison of the tabular results from multiple EnergyPlus simulations. Two or more files can be directly compared using bar graphs, stacked bar graphs, side-by-side graphs, and monthly lines graphs. The graphs are based on the tables shown using the tabular report option in EnergyPlus. The long list of graphs available represents values from every tabular report generated by EnergyPlus. Since monthly tabular results can be user-defined for any variable in EnergyPlus, EP-Compare provides one method to compare any result values generated by the simulation. In addition, the graphs shown can be copied to be placed in other documents. It may be used on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh systems.
Additional Release Components
In order to limit the size of the EnergyPlus installer, various utilities and minor updates from the EnergyPlus development team are available as separate downloads from the EnergyPlus helpdesk. These include items such as transition utilities for past releases, California TDV data files, text editor syntax files, and other tools.
OpenStudio Application Suite
The OpenStudio Application Suite is a cross-platform collection of software tools to support whole building energy modeling using EnergyPlus and advanced daylight analysis using Radiance. OpenStudio is an open source project, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), to facilitate community development, extension, and private sector adoption. OpenStudio includes graphical interfaces, including an updated SketchUp Plug-in, along with a Software Development Kit.
The Legacy OpenStudio Plug-in works with the SketchUp 3D drawing program. This free plug-in makes it easy to create and edit the building geometry in your EnergyPlus input files. The Legacy OpenStudio Plug-in also allows you to launch EnergyPlus simulations and view the results without leaving SketchUp.
Download weather data that works with EnergyPlus. Weather data is critical to the accuracy of your building model. The weather data is available for regions throughout the world.
Building Controls Virtual Test Bed and Modelica
The Modelica Buildings library is a free open-source library with dynamic simulation models for building energy and control systems. The library contains models for air-based HVAC systems, water-based heating systems, controls, heat transfer among rooms and the outside, and multizone airflow, including natural ventilation and contaminant transport.
The primary use of the library is for flexible and fast modeling of building energy and control systems to accelerate innovation leading to cost-effective very low energy systems for new and existing buildings. The library is particularly suited for rapid prototyping of new building systems, analysis of the operation of existing building systems, development, specification, verification and deployment of building controls within a model-based design process, and reuse of models during operation for functional testing, for verification of control sequences, for energy-minimizing controls, fault detection and diagnostics.
The Building Controls Virtual Test Bed (BCVTB) is a software environment that allows expert users to couple different simulation programs for co-simulation, and to couple simulation programs with actual hardware. For example, the BCVTB allows to simulate a building in EnergyPlus and the HVAC and control system in Modelica, while exchanging data between the software as they simulate. The BCVTB is based on the Ptolemy II software environment. The BCVTB allows expert users of simulation to expand the capabilities of individual programs by linking them to other programs. Due to the different programs that may be involved in distributed simulation, familiarity with configuring programs is essential.
Programs that are linked to the BCVTB include
- the EnergyPlus whole building energy simulation program,
- the Modelica modeling and simulation environment Dymola,
- the MATLAB and Simulink tools for scientific computing,
- the Radiance ray-tracing software for lighting analysis,
- the BACnet stack, which allows exchanging data with BACnet compliant Building Automation System (BAS),
- the analog/digital interface USB-1208LS from Measurement Computing Corporation that can be connected to a USB port.
In addition to using programs that are coupled to Ptolemy II, Ptolemy II's graphical modeling environment can also be used to define models for control systems, for physical devices, for communication systems or for post-processing and real-time visualization.
Typical applications of the BCVTB include:
- performance assessment of integrated building energy and controls systems,
- development of new controls algorithms, and
- formal verification of controls algorithms prior to deployment in a building in order to reduce commissioning time.