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Will eQuest continue to be supported?

asked 2016-02-23 15:42:47 -0600

DW gravatar image

updated 2016-04-03 12:49:36 -0600

I've noticed that eQuest hasn't had a new version for download since 2014. Will there be any new updates to DOE 2.2 that will be reflected in new versions of eQuest?

Will eQuest eventually be able to handle things like VRFs and radiant systems, or will it remain frozen at it's current state?

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answered 2016-02-24 10:08:19 -0600

With eQuest you really have to manage your expectations of what support means. The biggest thing is that it is free and not directly funded by a government entity on a continuous basis (by this I mean like E+). As a tradeoff, the program has always been "unsupported" in the sense that you don't get direct support/help from the developers. However, entities like the eQuest Users Group at onebuilding.org quickly bridged this gap by allowing other practitioners to volunteer their time to help others with problems. Many people thrive in this structure and prefer it to other business models.

Also, eQuest releases don't work like many other software packages with regular updates every 6 months. You may have 2-4 years without an update, but this doesn't mean that the program has been abandoned. A big reason for the this is that the code base for DOE2 goes back 30+ years, so most of the accidental bugs have been fixed. Therefore, updates to the program are almost entirely additions rather than bug fixes. Other newer programs require a 6 month rolling release just to keep up with newly discovered bugs.

As far as the addition of specific pieces of equipment to the program goes, I don't think you can ever guarantee that this will happen (although past evidence shows that it does eventually happen). But I don't think this should deter you from using the program. Long time users understand the framework of DOE2 and the environment in which it was built and therefore know when it is the best tool for a specific task. If you still feel uneasy about the future of eQuest, just remember that this question gets asked a lot, and yet the software goes on...

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@aaron, are you suggesting that EnergyPlus needs regular updates just to roll out bug fixes to the basic code? I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to call BS on that one. EnergyPlus releases regular updates because its growing user base requests and deserves new and better capabilities and because DOE owns EnergyPlus and believes enough in its importance and future to deliver them. Yes, new capabilities come with new bugs, and those get fixed subsequently. I can turn around your explanation and say that DOE-2.2/eQuest don't have new bugs to fix because their feature bases don't move!

__AmirRoth__ gravatar image __AmirRoth__  ( 2016-02-25 09:25:21 -0600 )edit
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Sorry, I was not thinking about EnergyPlus at all when talking about bug fixes (I only mentioned to contrast funding sources). I was referring more to consumer based software that people may be more familiar with. e.g. think about how often you get app updates on your phone and the details say "minor bug fixes". I wanted to make the point that you shouldn't necessarily set your expectations on how often you get updates to an energy simulation engine to the rate you get them from companies like Google or Microsoft for consumer based software.

aaron gravatar image aaron  ( 2016-02-25 11:21:13 -0600 )edit
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answered 2016-02-23 16:56:06 -0600

There is already an eQuest 3.7 version out there, though it is not official yet. There's also a DOE-2.3 version, still a release candidate though.

As far as whether there's funding and such, I'll let other more informed people chime in

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@Joe Huang usually has great insight about both the past and the future of DOE2 at least.

Julien Marrec gravatar image Julien Marrec  ( 2016-02-23 16:56:58 -0600 )edit
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answered 2016-03-18 22:04:52 -0600

Nick Caton gravatar image

There are a number of clues floating about that leave me optimistic we'll continue to see incremental additions to both the doe-2 engine and the eQuest interface in the future. Specific to VRF, note that DOE-2.1E functions have already been developed to directly model hourly behavior for a variety of VRF system setups [1] - I imagine it's a matter of time before such efforts get worked into something we can access directly via eQuest. I am not in a position to speculate or play up what may or may coming in the pipeline, but we have seen bits and pieces features under development surface over the past few years.

Advances are also still being made by others for simulation around the doe2 engine, outside of eQuest. At the last ASHRAE energy simulation conference, a platform-agnostic theme that kept resurfacing was how to go about tackling multi-variable "optimization" problems (and notably the "runtime" conundrum involved).

During the Lowdown Showdown presentations, team eQuest (disclaimer: I may have played a part in this) presented a unique doe-2 centric approach which, thanks largely to the raw speed of doe2 command line simulations (a benefit realized from decades of engine development, from an era when processing efficiencies were a necessity), was able to "brute force" a Monte Carlo simulation without the crutch/pitfalls of "seeded" genetic algorithms to inform simulations along the way. 24 design parameters were randomized and overnight produced a cloud of data from which we could identify a "first-cost optimized" minimal EUI result. In doing, so we did not just present the lowest EUI possible before adding renewables, but rather the best bang-for-buck combination of design parameters to suit an added "real world budget" constraint.

At present, I still consider the eQuest/doe2 platform my go-to choice for most simulation tasks. I recognize it isn't the best tool for every task, but that's why I carry more than one tool in my belt!

I'm confident we're going to see all of the tools in the playing field (old, new, and still unborn) make advances in years to come. It's an exciting time to be playing a part in the field of building energy simulation!

[1] EnergySoft - "APPLICATION FOR ADOPTION OF VARIABLE REFRIGERANT FLOW SYSTEMS UNDER THE TITLE 24-2008 NONRESIDENTIAL ACM PROCEDURES"

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Asked: 2016-02-23 15:42:47 -0600

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Last updated: Mar 18 '16