Monthly Board Member Message: Dimitri Contoyannis

If you are reading this newsletter, it's safe to say that you are probably passionate about building simulation and think that all buildings would benefit from energy modeling. But, not all building projects are utilizing this analysis! Throughout my career and now as an IBPSA-USA Board member, I have made it a personal mission to impact as many buildings as possible through detailed energy analysis.

During the first phase of my career, I worked as an HVAC engineer for the Architectural/Engineering design firms EYP and Cannon Design. We often ran simulations as early as the conceptual design phase to compare the relative energy and daylight performance of various design options. As the design progressed, we would then carry out more detailed analysis to inform HVAC system selections, design, and, ultimately, documentation for LEED and utility incentive programs. It was extremely rewarding to be able to quantify the energy saving impact you could make on a building.

I then moved to a software development company, Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES). This was an exciting move because, as a software vendor, we could provide quality tools to our users and therefore we could impact the performance of many building projects at once! While there, I contributed to the development of expanded load and ventilation calculation features, and an automated approach to performing ASHRAE 90.1 analysis. I even (sometimes) enjoyed answering technical support questions from our users to see what kind of cool designs they were working on and help them figure out the best way to model them. During this time, I became more actively involved at ASHRAE and joined the 189.1 Committee. I was very interested in the analysis that went into recommending changes to the energy codes, and saw how big an impact the codes could have on every building. I decided my next role would focus on this type of energy policy analysis.

I joined NORESCO in 2011 and have focused primarily on performing analysis in support of California's energy code, Title 24, one of the most efficient and progressive codes in the country. We are part of a great community of energy consultants that use energy simulation to help analyze newly proposed code requirements. We work with the state's Energy Commission to quantify annual statewide savings that are a direct result of the energy codes (the most recent code update is projected to save >1,400 GWh!). We have also led the Energy Commission's team in developing a fully automated compliance software, CBECC-Com, that uses EnergyPlus to predict energy consumption of a building design compared to the code baseline. Helping the state to achieve its Zero Net Energy objectives is an exciting challenge!

As a member of the IBPSA-USA board, I continue to seek opportunities to impact more buildings with energy simulation. Our Advocacy Committee is leading a new initiative where we seek to engage with regulators and utility incentive program managers around the country to help remove barriers to using performance analysis. We hope to engage our IBPSA members as stakeholders in this process so that your collective expertise can provide input to improve the analysis workflows, documentation, and overall compliance process. Our ultimate goal is to make energy modeling more accessible to more people, and generate more opportunities for energy modelers through strategic partnerships with regulators and program administrators. Stay tuned for further announcements. Together we can make an impact!

Dimitri Contoyannis; Director, Sustainability Services at NORESCO, Board Member at IBPSA-USA