What is Energy Modeling?


Energy Modeling is a computerized simulation of a building or campus of buildings that predicts energy consumption and utility bills. It has traditionally been used to predict energy consumption in buildings that are in design, however, it has historically also been used to support energy analysis of existing buildings.  In reality, the majority of the computational power in energy modeling tools is focused on the hour-by-hour calculation of cooling and heating loads. Loads analysis remains one of the untapped value propositions associated with energy modeling.


The intent in using energy models is to support design of high performance energy efficient buildings.  In this regard, energy modeling is used to inform the design during early and advance design stages, provide energy efficiency certification at the end of design phase, quantify applicable utility incentives, and support energy code compliance. When used early in the design activities, the energy model can provide vital information to the design team that can help architects and owners determine the trade-off between construction first-costs and operational energy costs; and helps engineers choose effective system alternative and accurately calculate thermal loads so that equipment is correctly sized.


Energy Modeling Value Proposition

Solarc is one of the most experienced energy modeling firms in the country.  We can fully integrate modeling activities and results in the design phase of projects, and regularly advocate for maximum value associated with modeling.  Typically, maximizing the value proposition translates to undertaking energy modeling early in design.  When this is done in the hands of experienced modelers and energy engineers, modeling can facilitate conversations between the architect, mechanical engineer, and lighting designer to create envelope, mechanical, and lighting systems that work together to reduce first and operational costs.  This enhances the traditional value proposition for energy modeling to include:


  • Test early energy efficiency “goal-setting” strategies to establish design team thinking in pre-design
  • Develop initial cooling and heating loads information to establish system sizing expectations and support   facade and external shading optimization
  • Provide ongoing energy efficiency and utility incentive estimates during design development  that enables design teams to integrate energy efficiency measures together.
  • Create energy efficiency measure packages that meet the Owner’s return on investment requirements and achieve other energy related performance goals for the project (LEED, utility incentives, Green Globes, etc.)
  • Maximize financial incentives offers by many utilities
  • Document energy performance for external efficiency rating systems that are important to the project, including LEED.
  • Develop and implement Measurement and Verification plans using IPMVP Option D (whole building simulation approach).


Why SOLARC?    

  • Our team leadership is among the most knowledgeable and capable in the country having regaulrly used whole building energy modeling tools since 1984.
  • Our experience as design engineers enables us to communicate with the entire design team to help inform impactful energy decisions.
  • Our cumulative experience exceeds 70 years among a close knit team of 6 individuals, all of whom are capable and experienced modelers.
  • We have worked on nearly every building type with special expertise in healthcare and higher education modeling
  • We use open-source tools for the most part with special knowlegde of DOE2 (EQuest) and are capable and experienced with EnergyPlus.
  • To support model review efforts, we also maintain a suite of other modeling tools include Carrier HAP and Trane Trace 700.


Energy Modeling Project Examples  

  • Harrison Medical Center Acute Care Expansion; Silverdale, WA; Ongoing design support, 2015 Washington State energy code compliance and Puget Sound Energy incentive documentation.
  • Fire Station 32; Seattle, WA; LEED Platinum
  • Modera Belmont; Portland, OR; LEED for Homes Gold
  • Hillsboro Public Works Offices; Hillsboro, OR; 2014 Oregon Energy Efficiency Code Compliance and Energy Trust of Oregon New Construction Incentive
  • Wapato Elementary School; Wapato, WA; Washington State Energy Life Cycle Cost Analysis
  • Vancouver Waterfront Block 6; Vancouver, WA; Green Building Initiative Green Globes Certification