URBANopt: An Open-Source Software Development Kit for Community and Urban District Energy Modeling – IBPSA-USA Research Committee

Date of Recording:
Long Description

This video has been made free to view for all. Urban building modeling tools are developing rapidly; these tools use emerging simulation workflows for specific urban environmental design tasks, such as assessing the impacts of energy efficiency technologies at a district scale. However, with the emergence of new environmental design tasks, addressing all possible use cases and tasks is challenging and cannot be covered by a single tool. Urban-scale analysis at this level of complexity often requires linking multiple emerging tools, rather than using a single tool, to adequately evaluate a variety of possible fields in urban environmental design. To achieve this, flexible platforms are needed to support multiple input formats (e.g., geometric and non-geometric building properties), enabling the mapping of such inputs to underlying simulation engines.

URBANopt is developed as an open-source Software Development Kit (SDK) for modeling high-performance buildings and energy systems at a district scale. URBANopt’s flexible SDK is composed of several modules that can be customized to integrate with other tools and generate new workflows to perform urban environmental design tasks, such as capturing interactions between individual buildings, district energy systems, distributed energy resources, and the electric distribution grid.

For the webinar we will first present an overview of the URBANopt platform. Second, we will describe the functionality of the core SDK modules in URBANopt and discuss the flexibility of these modules as a means of integration with a variety of tools. Lastly, we will present the integration of URBANopt in Ladybug Tools and describe the new Ladybug Tools components that utilize URBANopt’s underlying analytics.

Learning Objectives: (Approved for 1 AIA Learning Unit)​

  • Contextualize the use of URBANopt (an open-source SDK) to support district environmental design tasks.
  • Understand the flexibility of modular platforms to integrate with a variety of tools and build new simulation workflows.
  • Learn about URBANopt software architecture.
  • Learn about the new Ladybug Tools (Grasshopper plugin) that leverages URBANopt.

Event Sponsored by:

Thank you to our sponsor Baumann Consulting for their support.

Baumann Consulting, with offices in Washington DC, Chicago and Frankfurt (Germany) provides consulting services for sustainable and innovative building solutions for the US and international markets. As engineers, architects, planners and consultants, our team is driven to elevate high performance buildings from a niche segment of the market to the industry standard.

Speaker Bios: 

Ben Polly:  A senior research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Ben’s work is focused on zero energy buildings, neighborhoods, campuses, and districts; urban energy planning, design, and optimization; and grid-interactive efficient buildings. Ben specializes in the development, validation and application of energy analysis approaches.

Rawad El Kontar:   Rawad is a research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He is one of the lead developers of URBANopt Software Development Kit. Rawad has a background in architecture and building science with a research focus on building energy modeling, data analytics, parametric modeling, and visualization to inform design and behavioral decisions.

Chris Mackey:  Chris Mackey is a co-founder of Ladybug Tools LLC and a lead developer of its software. He hails from a mixed background of architecture and building science, having applied Ladybug Tools in professional architecture practice and developed several key Ladybug Tools features used by the >50,000 users of the software.

open source, software development kit, SDK, urban building energy modeling, urban scale modeling, high-performance buildings, energy systems, district scale