Monthly Board Member Message: Dru Crawley

My road to building simulation and IBPSA started early. My architecture technology professor, knowing my interest in computer analysis, handed me a computer tape and said, try to get this program to run on the university’s mainframe computers. That tape contained punch card images of NECAP (NASA’s Energy Computer Analysis Program, a predecessor to CALERDA and what became DOE-1 and DOE-2). As an independent study course, I wrote an ‘interactive interface’ to write the JCL input deck and the NECAP input. Fortunately, the days of punch cards didn’t last long. 

I graduated with an architecture degree from Tennessee in the late 70s.  I had already found that I was interested in energy efficiency and renewables. That led to work using building energy simulation, first in a research group in DC, a consultancy in Atlanta and London (mainframe dialup with DOE-2 and weather tapes across the country and Atlantic), and then onto developing and estimating savings from commercial building energy standards at PNNL using some of the first desktop versions of DOE-2. I began working with IBPSA when it was inaugurated, participating in early Building Simulation conferences and meeting in the mid-80s and beyond. After PNNL, I moved to EPA and the early days of Energy Star buildings – where I set up and executed more than 25,000 DOE-2 runs to support Energy Star commercial building analysis (the PC ran DOE-2 for another two weeks after I left EPA). 

When I moved to DOE in the early 90s, I became more of a producer than a user. I was initially responsible for DOE-2 and a few other tools. Early in my time there, an opportunity arose to merge the two major public tools—DOE-2 and BLAST—because the US Army was ending development and support of BLAST. Starting in 1995 with the core heat and mass balance engine within BLAST, we added daylighting and other important features in DOE-2 using what we called evolutionary re-engineering: pulling apart the spaghetti code, modularizing it, and bringing up to new Fortran standards. From this, EnergyPlus v 1.0 was released in April 2001. I became an at-large IBPSA board member in 1998. I also taught energy simulation at Victoria University in New Zealand for a semester in 2005. During that same time, I started work on a PhD in mechanical engineering, finally graduating in 2009 from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. My PhD thesis focuses on using simulation as a policy tool – from standards setting and evaluating, utility incentives, and policy development. By the time I left DOE, I was also managing the commercial buildings team, focusing on low- and net-zero energy buildings (what today is called Better Buildings).

In 2010, I moved to Bentley where I was product manager for a suite of building energy tools including a standalone interface for EnergyPlus as well as BIM and cloud interfaces. Four years ago, I was made a Bentley Fellow – now my focus is broader: building performance, BIM, zero-energy buildings, interoperability, smart cities and sustainability. 

Dru Crawley
Vice President, IBPSA-USA
Vice President, IBPSA