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Beginner, trying to zone a Dorm/Residential Hall

asked 2015-10-21 11:40:04 -0500

VictoriaEagen gravatar image

updated 2017-05-03 19:09:51 -0500

I am just starting out in the process of creating an energy model with EnergyPlus/Open Studio. I have the building plans, and I am not sure where to start with zoning it out. For this software, should I make zones as big chunks, or just choose a room, and duplicate it a bunch of times, or make each floor one big zone. I honestly don't know where to start, any information to help get me started would be very helpful, Thanks! P.S. This is a Dorm/Residential Hall, so there are only a few room types, duplicated throughout the 4 levels.

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answered 2015-10-21 13:20:09 -0500

Waseem gravatar image

updated 2015-10-21 15:33:04 -0500

There is a section in Getting Started document. Please see Here. I believe there are also other online resources that details zoning process.

Below are some of the zoning aspects that you may consider (thanks to Jim Dirkes)

  • Use as few zones as possible to speed simulation time and debugging. DesignBuilder’s “Merge Zones” feature is very helpful for doing this.
  • Normally, a zone should not represent each room or VAV box. Combine into one zone all areas which have:
    • Similar schedule
    • Similar densities (people, lighting and plug loads)
    • Use the same temperature and humidity setpoints
    • Have the same sun exposure
    • Are served by the same HVAC air system
  • Note that you may combine rooms that use different thermostats as long as their temperature setpoints are the same.
  • Separate HVAC systems (e.g., packaged rooftop units) may be combined if the efficiencies and operating controls are the same.
  • Areas on different floors may become part of a single zone if they meet the criteria above
  • Perimeter areas (within ~12-15 feet of the exterior wall) are normally treated separately from interior / core areas
    • If the perimeter is well insulated and has no windows, it may be combined with interior / core areas
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Thanks, very helpful!

VictoriaEagen gravatar image VictoriaEagen  ( 2015-11-02 14:40:43 -0500 )edit

answered 2015-10-21 15:47:54 -0500

It will depend on what you want to get out of your simulation, what are you trying to find out? once you have answered that question for yourself the next question is what aspects of the building affect my question. So if you want to know what the annual energy use is per dorm room, rather than for the whole building, or you want to do a simulation for LEED, you would want to zone with the room in mind rather than the whole building or the LEED baseline systems. In general though there are three questions I ask myself. I start with all the rooms as individual spaces then I ask

  1. Do these rooms have the same orientation (do all the windows face south, north etc..),
  2. Do these rooms have the same occupancy type (ie, corridor, dorm room, bathroom, kitchen)
  3. and are the feed by the same AHU and have the same zone conditioning. If the answer is yes to all three of these questions then the two rooms can be in the same thermal zone.

Again depending on what you want to get out of your simulation you might want to ask yourself slightly different questions.

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you can also find some more information here:

Annie Marston gravatar image Annie Marston  ( 2015-10-22 12:17:36 -0500 )edit

Thanks, very helpful!

VictoriaEagen gravatar image VictoriaEagen  ( 2015-11-02 14:40:30 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2015-10-21 11:40:04 -0500

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Last updated: Oct 21 '15