Adam Ozinsky, Environmental Designer at Atelier Ten, replies: "Dear Not Always Right-Angled, A medium-famous architect once commented: if it's not a right angle it’s a wrong angle. As square as that approach may seem, it did make modelling slightly more straightforward than with some of the geometrically complex creations we see in vogue now. For better or for worse, complexity has made our days as building performance modellers more challenging. And our nights longer."
Conor Rielly, Building Energy Analyst at CannonDesign, replies: "Dear Consistency, We have been down this path before, especially if you have an involved mechanical or electrical engineer. It is way into a construction document or permit set development cycle, and everyone is anxious to get the documents out the door and know what the energy model is predicting for design EUI or LEED points..."
Zoltan Nagy, PhD, Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, replies: "Dear Big Apple, First off, let me start by saying that I think that LL97 is a step in the right direction, as buildings are responsible for 30-40% of the greenhouse gas emissions mainly due to the energy needed for heating and cooling. Starting 2024, LL97 places carbon emission limits on most buildings across NYC..."
Bill Sommer, Project Manager at Sain Engineering Associates, replies: "Dear Teacher, In the Northwest, I’d probably use a craft beer. California? Wine, of course. Here in the Southeast, bourbon does the trick. You are part of a team, so you need to be a team player. Teamwork is a mental discipline. Understand the roles, responsibilities, and most importantly, the influences driving your teammates decision making..."
Demian Vonder Kuhlen, Senior Associate, Building Performance Team Leader at Guttmann & Blaevoet, replies: "Dear Recycled, The road to energy model reuse is fraught with potholes. The zen of model recycling nirvana is close at hand, but your mileage may vary depending on your software, your experience, the scope of work, and the level of model detail needed to produce the requested results..."
Mostapha Sadeghipour Roudsari, Co-founder of Ladybug Tools LLC, replies: "Dear Head in the Clouds, Simulation on the cloud introduces two major opportunities: The first is scalability, which means that simulations can be run much faster, and the second is that simulation becomes much more accessible, which opens the gateway to better collaboration..."
Volkan Doda, Associate Environmental Designer at Atelier Ten, replies: "Dear Right Size, Rejoice, as gone are the days of boasting about the biggest kit in town. Now is the time of the kit that is just the right size to do the right job right. It’s obvious: good engineering strives for a working solution with ever higher efficiency by designing out waste. Coincidentally, not paying for waste also tends to make things cheaper. Great, but what’s the right size then, I hear you ask, and this is indeed where things get murky..."
Alex Nutkiewicz, M.S., PhD Candidate at the Stanford Urban Informatics Lab, replies: "As many readers might agree, buildings are a critical component of a sustainable, low-carbon future. In 2019, 28% of all primary energy consumption (and subsequent carbon emissions) in the United States came from our buildings (International Energy Agency). And while there are emerging policies that emphasize the importance of energy efficiency in newly constructed buildings (California Public Utilities Commission)..."
Rhys Goldstein, Principal Research Scientist at Autodesk Research, replies: "Dear Playing, I’m happy to suggest a few “creative” sources of data for you to play with. You’ll have to judge whether they’re appropriate for your work! Let’s start with occupancy schedules. Suppose we want to derive them from the behavioral patterns that occur in an existing building. Our first instinct may be to explore the various technological solutions at our disposal... Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best..."
David Goldwasser, Software Developer and Researcher at NREL - Buildings and Thermal Sciences Center, replies: "Dear Testing, The short answers are yes and yes, which is why whole building simulation engines and modeling tools are continually evolving. When developers consider adding a new functionality, they perform a balancing act of the impact of a building characteristic or element on consumption, equipment sizing, comfort, and safety against the cost and complexity of implementing, modeling, and simulating that building characteristic or element..."
Som S. Shrestha, R&D Staff Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, replies: "Dear Learning, Building envelopes are non-homogeneous, so heat transfer through a building envelope is not one dimensional due to thermal bridging. However, thermal bridges cannot be explicitly modeled in most whole-building simulation tools, including EnergyPlus. Therefore, modelers need to somehow account for the impact of thermal bridging in their building models..."
Eric Flower, Software Account Executive at Willdan, replies: "Dear Early Bird, Where did the time go? Design evolves at such a fast pace that decisions must often be made based on partial knowledge. Because the design process is dynamic, every stage of the process presents its own unique opportunities for 'early moments'..."
David Eldridge, Energy Efficiency Ninja at Grumman/Butkus Associates, replies: "Dear Sanity, Where did you go? Sanity seems to be out the window these days. But if you feel like you are losing it while working from home, at least your modeling results don’t have to be a contributor..."
Sara Motamedi, Senior Building Performance Analyst at Interface Engineering, replies: "Energy modeling provides us an insight about the importance of design decisions on total energy consumption. On one hand, I’ve seen architects who are eagerly waiting for the energy modeling results..."
Krishnan Gowri, Building Performance Practice Lead at Intertek, replies: "Challenge comes along with the tremendous growth we are experiencing to meet the simulation and modeling needs of the design community..."
Michael Wetter, Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, replies: "The future of energy modeling will be similar to the present of energy modeling—EnergyPlus is not going away..."
Stephanie Egger, Product Manager at AMS, replies: "Speaking as a former building energy modeler myself, I’ve come to learn that one of the (many) great things about energy modeling is that the core skill set is highly transferable!"
Carrie Brown, Senior Technical Consultant at Resource Refocus, replies: "I’m reasonably certain that we’ll continue to have buildings in the next few decades -- and if we don’t, the future of energy modeling careers probably won’t be our top concern..."
Michael Sweeney, Energy Engineer at AKF Engineers, replies: "My first instinct is to recommend that you bang loudly on your client’s desk while shouting the aphorism (generally attributed to the statistician George Box), ‘ALL MODELS ARE WRONG BUT SOME ARE USEFUL!!!!!"
Dan Macumber, Engineer with NREL Commercial Buildings, replies: "This question really caught me by surprise, I mean who does not get excited by heat pumps, they are practically engineering magic!"
Erik Kolderup, Principal at Kolderup Consulting, replies: "Dear Wondering, Only one thing? Many are the unspoken secrets of the ancient modelers! But here’s one..."