Research Committee Presentations at Building Simulation 2017
August 7-9, 2017
San Francisco, California

The Research Committee presented three panel discussions at Building Simulation 2017.

Energy Modeling Output Framework; Improving Communication and Decision-Making presented by the Architectural Simulations Subcommittee. Building performance simulation reports are often unintelligible to the design team and the owner, reducing our ability to make better decisions. To address this impediment to energy efficiency, this panel convenes professionals from architectural and engineering firms to outline a process to clarify analysis intent and the expected simulation results. The result is Project STASIO.

The Research Committee meets at lunch at Building Simulation 2017. Photo courtesy of Bing Dong.


Build Your Own Building Simulation Tool presented by the Emerging Simulation Technology Subcommittee. This panel discussion brings together building and urban simulation developers and accomplished users to discuss how they build tools and how you can build custom tools. When do we need customized tools? What skills and steps go into creating a trusted tool? How do tools become adopted by professions?


Urban Scale Modeling and Simulation for Smart City Connectivity, Sustainability and Resiliency presented by the Urban Scale Simulation Subcommittee. Buildings in cities consume 70% of electricity. Smart cities with innovative, optimized building designs and operations play a pivotal role in reducing GHG emissions and maintaining stable electric-grid operations. In this session, five speakers will present urban scale modeling and simulation projects to improve connectivity, sustainability and resiliency of cities.


Daylight Simulation: Research and Practice
October 3, 2016, 4:30-6:30 pm EDT
Room 518, Gund Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy St, Cambridge, Massachusetts

You can view the webinar recording of this event by registering online for the event.

Daylight Simulation in Practice: As the building industry accrues a wide set of computational methods and metrics to evaluate daylight and glare, the useful application of these methods in design requires a more strategic mindset. The more methods that we establish, the more important it becomes to appropriately match them to the level of information known at the various stages of design. Here we will present the full range of techniques that we use to ensure daylight, visual comfort, and visual access to the outdoors at each phase of our process. Starting with simple direct sun and view studies in early design to identify suitable areas of the floor plan, we move gradually to more advanced glare and daylight autonomy simulations as we develop concepts for how occupants inhabit the space.

Daylight Simulation Research: Alstan will review five recent or ongoing research projects on daylighting and human-centric design: a new method for measuring and simulating trees, a conceptual design for active cooling in urban spaces, passive architectural design analysis in the tropics, the creation of a materials database for lighting simulation, and the development of new daylighting standards in Singapore.

Heliotropic Shading Daylighting a Rare Books Reading Room with Electrochromic Glass and Parametric Analysis: Re-purposing a long daylit atrium into a rare books reading room at Princeton University requires a high degree of solar control. After multiple iterations, the design team settled on electrochromic glazing, begetting the question of how to control over 900 tintable zones. Weissman developed an algorithm that allows the skylight to ‘follow’ the sun throughout the day and year, optimized to provide required shading for conservation criteria, and all while maintaining views. Perfectly tuned to its locale and adapted to the architecture, the pattern created by each scene state is a constantly evolving expression of the exact daylight-control needed at each moment.


Research Committee Presentations at SimBuild 2016
August 10-12, 2016
Salt Lake City, Utah

Various members of the Research Committee and its subcommittees presented their latest research at SimBuild 2016.


  • D. He, S. Huang, W. Zuo, R. Kaiser, A virtual testbed for net zero energy communities
  • S. Huang, W. Zuo, M.D. Sohn, A Bayesian network model for predicting the cooling load of educational facilities
  • R. MuehleisenBayesian calibration: Calibrating energy models while considering uncertainty
  • J. Sanyal, J. Nutaro, D. Fugate, T. Kuruganti, M. Olama, Supervisory control for peak reduction in commercial buildings while maintaining comfort
  • W. Tian, W. Zuo, M. WetterFast indoor airflow simulation using in situ adaptive tabulation and fast fluid dynamics
  • M. Wetter, C. van TreeckIBPSA project "BIM/GIS and Modelica framework for building and community energy system design and operation"
  • S. Roth, C. S. Harriman, D. Macumber, Updates to the Green Building XML (gbXML) software validation process for better BIM and analysis software interoperability​

Low­-Cost High­-Performance Building Simulation: Is that too good to be true?
June 28, 2016, 8-9:30 am CDT
ASHRAE Annual Conference, St. Louis

Building simulation can be used to help achieve energy efficient buildings. However, contemporary building simulation tends to be computationally intensive, which prevents building simulation from being widely applied in the real building process such as building design and operation. In this seminar, experts from both academic and industrial fields share how they improve the performance of different building simulations in terms of the computing demand and cost by taking full advance of cutting-edge computing technologies.


The Simulation Horizon: Research Conference Roundup
February 10, 2016, 6:30 pm EST
Room 7-429 (Long Lounge), MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

Every year exciting new research about building performance simulation is introduced to our community at conferences. Unfortunately, most simulation professionals and companies do not have a chance to participate. Members who attended the recent ASHRAE Energy Modeling Conference (Atlanta), IBPSA International Conference (Hyderabad), and the ASHRAE Winter Conference (Orlando) present what they found most interesting, ground breaking, and potentially useful. Each 5-10 minutes presentation focuses on one topic and gives a taste of the conference.

Attendees of the Research Conference Roundup at MIT. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Jones.

You can view the webinar recording of this event by registering online for the event.

You can also view a list of the selected papers (PDF), referenced by topic and presenter. For access to the full papers in PDF, you can access the complete proceedings of the conferences at


  • Christoph Reinhart, MIT
  • Carlos Cerezo Dávila, MIT
  • Nathaniel Jones, MIT
  • Elliot Glassman, WSP
  • Cody Rose, MIT
  • Irmak Turan, MIT
  • Alejandra Menchaca, Payette
  • David Blum, MIT

This event was co-hosted with IBPSA-Boston and the MIT ASHRAE Student Branch.

Simulation for Cutting-Edge Building Design
January 27, 2016, 11 am EST
ASHRAE Winter Conference

Cutting-edge simulation techniques have the power to expose design ideas that can radically reduce energy demands starting from an early point in the design process. However, integrating new simulation methods into existing design practices requires both creativity and depth of knowledge on the part of designers. This seminar brings together three experts from the industry to present how they have integrated advanced simulation techniques to increase energy efficiency, reduce resource consumption and further the design goals of a number of projects.


Attendees of the Focus Group on Emerging Trends in Building Simulation in Orlando. Photo courtesy of Erik Kolderup.

Focus Group on Emerging Trends in Building Simulation
January 26, 2016, 1 pm EST
ASHRAE Winter Conference

The purpose of this focus group was to identify trends and shortcomings in the building performance simulation field. Needs identified through the focus group are expected to inform the writing of a white paper to guide the building industry and influence the priorities of research funding organizations.

The focus group was attended by nineteen participants in the 2016 ASHRAE Winter Conference representing five countries. They included practitioners, researchers, developers, and academics, with most attendees falling into multiple of these categories.

We invite you to review and comment on the report of focus group findings. Please direct your comments to Nathaniel Jones.