Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paper on Energy Modeling Barriers

Holly Samuelson and team at the Harvard Graduate School of Design recently presented a paper on "Identifying Non-Technical Barriers to Energy Model Sharing and Reuse".  This is a topic dear to my heart as while I was at Harvard I chaired the Green Building Standards committee and wrote the language requiring all major renovation and new construction projects to submit as-built energy models in electronic format as part of their closeout documents.  We also recommended projects to use eQuest or Energy Plus unless they had a defendable reason why one of these programs wasn't viable.  As far as I know, this was the first such requirement and nobody really know how the industry would react.  Holly and friends took this idea and surveyed 154 energy modelers to see what they thought about sharing energy models.  A whopping 75% of the respondants indicated that they would share these files.  Those that wouldn't share gave a range of reasons including (in decreasing order of prevalence) that the models are too complicated to be understood by others, the models don't represent reality in the finished building, the model itself represents intellectual property not to be shared, and finally a couple of engineers felt that owners do not have staff qualified to receive the model (though I'm sure this is almost universally the case).  I spoke with Holly years ago when she was initially contemplating the paper and survey and she gave me a shout out in the acknowledgements for my help.  She also acknowledged fellow EA TAG member Chris Schaffner (the Green Engineer). Thanks Holly and keep up the great work.

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