Monthly Board Member Message: Chip Barnaby

My building modeling software career came about via the confluence of technical interests and attending architecture school during the first oil crisis. I studied engineering and applied physics as an undergraduate. An interest in buildings led me to the M.Arch program at UC Berkeley. The early going featured things like a professor apologizing for discussing U-factors.  But then in 1973, energy suddenly became a front-burner issue. I found other like-minded people (aka hippies) and started writing code to calculate stuff. Initially, interest focused on solar energy applications but soon developed into more complete building models.

After grad school, Bruce Wilcox and I founded Berkeley Solar Group (BSG), an energy consulting firm that used modeling as the basis for most projects. We worked on many significant buildings, energy code development, and early studies in support of ASHRAE Standard 90.1. BSG had its own minicomputer and ran such applications as NBSLD and DOE-2 with custom modifications. When PCs appeared in the early 1980s, we marketed hourly simulation codes CALPAS3 and CALRES that supported the California Title 24 energy code as well as design studies. I was the lead programmer on most BSG software work.

In the 80s I began participating on several ASHRAE technical committees, notably TC 4.7 (Energy Calculations). During this period the idea arose of forming an organization dedicated to energy modeling (see for the history). Proto-IBPSA began meeting in conjunction with ASHRAE conferences. By the mid-1990s, IBPSA had developed its affiliate structure and IBPSA-USA was formed. I have remained involved over the years, serving on the boards and as president of both IBPSA-World and IBPSA-USA.

After Berkeley Solar Group, I went on to work for Xenergy and then Wrightsoft. I continued developing energy and loads calculation software. I “retired” in 2014 and moved to New Hampshire where I continue doing software development as an individual consultant. Most of my work now is devoted to CSE, the detailed model used as the engine for California residential Title 24 compliance analysis.

It is gratifying for an old guy like me to see how IBPSA and our entire field have grown. We now have the tools to make buildings that serve people better and have less impact. We need to keep spreading the word!

Chip Barnaby, Board of Directors at IBPSA-USA.