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How to model a space with multiple thermal zones in OpenStudio?

asked 2017-06-15 18:48:48 -0500

miwamasa gravatar image

In the EnergyPlus, Zones can be aggragated to the "ZoneList",

Then,we can add "Lights" or "Equipment" attached to the "zoneList" as if the ZoneList is a space which contains multiple thermal zone.

For example, Zone1,Zone2->ZoneList1,


But, in OpenStudio, it seems space is allowed to attach single thermal zone( I can not drag&drop multiple zones)

How do I model a space with multiple thermal zone?

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answered 2017-06-16 02:50:52 -0500

updated 2017-06-16 02:53:10 -0500

OpenStudio has the concept of Space that doesn't exist in EnergyPlus. The idea is to simplify your life when it comes to inputing people, equipment, etc. Indeed, several spaces can be in one thermal zone, allowing you to bundle for example a corridor and a mechanical closet together, while still inputing logical values for each individual space.

The concept of Space would be kind of meaningless if it wasn't for the concept of SpaceType and the general concept of inheritance that OpenStudio has. The Model Overview while slightly outdated is still very relevant (in fact, the only really outdated thing is that it lists version 0.6.0, the rest holds true).

In practical terms, how is that making your life easier? Let's say you have a theoretical one floor building with 8 apartments (2 people in each), 2 corridors, and one mechanical closet. You want to end up with only 4 zones for the apartments, 1 corridor zone, and 1 zone that bundles the other corridor and a mechanical closet.

  • You define 2 SpaceTypes: one for "Corridor", the other for "Apartment". You assign loads: people, lights, equipment to these space types. Some loads you will assign as a function of the floor area, but for apartments you put "2 people"
  • You create your 8 apartment Spaces, 2 corridors spaces, and your mechanical closet.
  • You assign the Apartment and Corridor SpaceTypes to the 8 apartment spaces and 2 corridor spaces. These spaces will inherit the loads of the space types. You only had to define them at the SpaceType level (this is very similar to the ZoneList here)
  • You directly assign some loads to the mechanical closet (you could have created a space type for this, but that's not necessary here)
  • You then create thermalZones, and assign them to the Spaces. You will create for example one thermal zone that has two spaces: the corridor and the mechanical closet.

Once you run the simulation, OpenStudio forwards translate to the E+ IDF file, and computes all the right loads for your Zone (remember that the concept of "Space" doesn't exist in E+, only Zones). For the OS:ThermalZone you defined for the mechanical closet + corridor, to compute the lighting power for this zone it will for example do something like: corridor_W/ft^2 * corridor_area_ft^2 + mech_W/ft^2 * mech_area_ft^2.

Overall, this allows you to define loads in one place only (like ZoneList does), but also allows you to aggregate different Spaces into the same Zone, which is not doable out of the box with E+.

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Thank you for yoou kind explanation.

Now I understand that in order to convert my E+ model to OSM, 1) Define Space1 and assign Zone1 to it, Space2 and assign Zone2 to it then, 2)Define "Space Type 1" and assign Space1 and Space2 to it , and finally 3)Put lighting load to " Space Type 1"

miwamasa gravatar imagemiwamasa ( 2017-06-16 04:17:20 -0500 )edit

In my case, I put lighting load to the "ZoneList1" in my E+ model. It was a hierachical thinking!. Now I understand, in new OSM world, that the lighting load is the common property of "Space1" and "Space2" which contains "Zone1" and "Zone2" respectively. It is a new way of thinking. Thanks.

miwamasa gravatar imagemiwamasa ( 2017-06-16 04:32:38 -0500 )edit

Yes, it's a new way of thinking (and like I said, it's kinda "like ZoneList", but better). It that solves your problem, please remember to mark the answer as accepted so we can flag the thread as resolved.

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2017-06-16 08:13:51 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2017-06-15 18:48:48 -0500

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Last updated: Jun 16 '17