From Large-Scale Data to BEM: Urban-Scale Energy Modeling of Single-Family Homes

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Advances in simulation techniques and computing power, coupled with more progressive goals for decarbonization in buildings, have propelled urban-scale simulation to the fore over the past decade. (1) An unprecedented amount of information is available describing construction, 3D massing, equipment, and even occupants of today’s buildings, all of which is useful in determining which buildings may be the most suitable for certain types of energy retrofits and estimating the potential impacts. Most of this data exists in the public domain (such as property assessment records, building permits records, LIDAR height maps, street-level photographs of building facades, etc.), but is contained in disparate, oftentimes unstructured datasets. Through the development of its platform for large-scale BEM-based analysis of single-family homes, XeroHome has developed data pipelines associated with these sources to establish the best possible basis for building energy analysis and modeling that one can achieve with publicly available information.

This Research Committee webinar provides a tour through the most valuable public data sources and an overview of features relevant to building professionals that can readily be extracted from such data. (2) We use results from a field demonstration with Southern California Edison to illustrate how these techniques and XeroHome’s simulation capabilities have been applied to evaluate single-family homes in Santa Monica, California for deeper energy efficiency and zero net energy evaluations. 

1 Reinhart, C. and Davila C. “Urban building energy modeling – A review of a nascent field.” Building and
Environment
, 2016: Vol. 97, 196-202.

2 Discussion of these tools will remain at a very high level to avoid disclosure of trade secrets and intellectual
property.

Speaker Bios:

Mudit Saxena is CEO and co-founder at Vistar Energy and has over 17 years of experience in the energy efficiency industry. He has helped clients overcome critical technical barriers through research, software development and training, to develop and promote energy efficiency programs and strategies. He is an internationally recognized expert in daylighting and lighting research, and his work has led to development of various building energy codes and standards such as LEED v4, California Title 24, and ASHRAE 90.1.

Dr. Peter May-Ostendorp is CTO and co-founder at Vistar Energy, where he leads development of XeroHome, Vistar’s BEM-based customer engagement and targeting software platform. He has 15 years of experience as a lead consultant and researcher on building energy modeling, efficiency policy development, and energy-related data science applications. Previously, he led research and policy initiatives as a Principal Investigator at Ecova and founded Xergy Consulting, a boutique energy efficiency research and consulting firm. He has advised a broad range of clients, including the California investor-owned utilities, Natural Resources Canada, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Tendril, Belimo, and Aclara.