HackSimBuild A Great Success!

HackSimbuild a Great Success!

IBPSA-USA hosted its first-ever hackathon, HackSimBuild, on September 16-17 in Chicago in conjunction with the 2022 ASHRAE/IBPSA-USA Building Performance Analysis and SimBuild conference. The event’s goal was to foster networking and the development of creative solutions to relevant problems in building performance simulation. HackSimBuild, sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office, was held at The Plant by Bubbly Dynamics, a reconstituted industrial meat smoking plant, offering a unique space to “hack.”

HackSimBuild fostered engagement between IBPSA-USA and motivated students and early career professionals, many of whom were not previously active in IBPSA-USA. Participants reported that HackSimBuild provided the networking, creative problem-solving, skill development, and challenging opportunities they sought.

“It was great having mentors available to get help with my questions and a lot of smart people [coming] together to make teams,” said one participant. HackSimBuild was the first hackathon they participated in for many of the attendees, including students, practitioners, and researchers.

HackSimBuild drew 30 participants, including 16 remote participants from as far away as Texas and Japan. The hackers were supported by 8 mentors who participated in-person and via Zoom, in some cases joining teams to support their creative endeavors. In all, participants formed 7 competitive teams. In addition, four mentors participated in competitive teams, and two mentors participated in exhibition teams.

At the close of the 24-hour design session, teams presented their work to a panel of judges. Projects were judged on creativity, execution, teamwork and collaboration, open source code, and learning, as well as garnering extra points for innovation. Amir Roth (US Department of Energy Building Energy Modeling (BEM) Technology Manager), Anna Brannon (Guidehouse), and Oliver Baumann (Baumann Consulting) served as judges and gave out the following awards:

Best Hack

Team Komodo Dragon (Jorge Cobo, Kaustav Das, Akshat Goyal, and Saurav Ayyagari): A framework for modeling the relationship between structure, carbon, and thermal performance of buildings.

Best Simulation Improvement

Team TrueFlow (Ken Takahashi, Taiki Uchida, Daisuke Matsuyama, Yoshito Takahashi, and Yoshiaki Ishii): A tool that maps measured or calculated wind pressure coefficient distributions onto building facades to simulate accurate natural ventilation. On GitHub.

Best Demonstration

Team JAHMM (Matteo Calafiura-Soleri, Haowen Xu, Jamie Lian, Andy Berres, and Mostapha Roudsari): SimuMo, an immersive model visualization platform for building simulation data using virtual reality. On GitHub.

Honorable Mention

Team Calcar (Alex Chapin, Andrew Rivera, and Cameron Lawrence): A surrogate model of peak HVAC loads based on 2D floor plans. On GitHub.

Team Missing Mr. Mitchell (Al Mitchell, David Goldwasser, Jongki Lee, Lobna Mitkees, and Nupoor Kansara): An OpenStudio measure for thermal resilience.

Team SanAntonionio (Anna Morton, Matthew Coleman, Aresen Boundoane, Joe Rivera, and Matt Koch): A carbon optimization tool for HVAC system selection.

Team SOM (Nicholas Chan, ChingChe Huang, and Deva Shree Saini): Educational material on thermal comfort and psychrometry.


Team Double Entendre (Matthew Dahlhausen and Aaron Boranian): An event to promote networking and knowledge sharing in building performance simulation, through the use of an escape room.