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Why Simpler Homes Can Choose To Avoid the Expense of Building Energy Modeling?

Posted by: Bhushan Avastthi | Posted on: May 20th, 2013

Have you ever questioned the wisdom of building energy modeling new homes? Most of the houses we live in today are super-efficient homes, where the heating usage is usually dominated by hard-to-model factors, which includes internal gains such as light bulbs and plug loads. Even small changes tend to make significant differences.

Why Simpler Homes Can Choose To Avoid the Expense of Building Energy Modeling

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For instance, how long does it take for the bathtub water to drain down the pipes? How clean are the windows? Are the shading calculations accurate? How is the internal shading by the occupants? Do the owners have a few big dogs? How big a swing in indoor temperature would the occupants accept? Most building energy models pay minute attention to heating usage, but in super-efficient homes, the plug loads and hot water load are much bigger than the heating load and these other loads dominate. For example, a one large-screen plasma TV can matter much more than the thickness foam insulation has under the slab.

An independent non-profit organization that sponsors various energy-efficiency programs, has conducted a study to compare energy models, to come up with a low-cost energy rating for houses.

Today, a building energy modeling tool based on the research’s algorithms has been developed; though it isn’t particularly that easy to purchase. EPS Auditor Pro – the software, can be purchased from Earth Advantage Institute in Portland, Oregon. However, there is a catch – that you must be a certified BPI analyst in order to be eligible to avail the software. Unfortunately, even after obtaining the BPI certification, you still aren’t able to get the EPS software unless you complete an additional multistage training program, which includes a 3-hour Webinar, a 5-hour online class, followed by a final exam. The cost for the entire EPS package (which includes training and software) is about $199 for individual users.

In today’s era, we find experienced energy retrofit workers rarely relying on models. A lot of energy consultants are getting distracted by computer software and tests. What we all are in real need of is efficient processes to improve our houses. According to an expert, “When we make retrofit decisions, we have several other factors such as experience, which are more important than energy modeling.” There is no need to model every single house, even if building energy modeling is required to make design decisions. The expert adds, “Modeling is a waste of time if a house isn’t unique. The energy consultants need to model something well just once, and then they must apply the lesson to lots of buildings.”

May be you like to read more about : Why do People Think Green Modeling is a Good Idea

About Author:

Bhushan Avsatthi

Bhushan Avsatthi is a senior manager, consultant, BIM expert and a green building advisor with more than 15 years of industry experience. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advices his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like nonprofit tree plantation project and promotes using cycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan, handles a team of architects, Structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modeling experts.