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Is there a standard way to optimize the envelope of an existing building?

asked 2017-07-05 10:05:52 -0500

sirYESsir gravatar image

updated 2017-07-05 10:07:53 -0500

I have a modeled building and I am looking to optimize its envelope, preferably by means of adding layers to my construction (for it should be cheaper) but also by changing the existing ones.

Is there a standard way of proceeding in EnergyPlus? Or is it really just by trial and error i.e. collect a list of candidate constructions and check what is the building efficiency difference with each of them?

Is there any good literature regarding this topic?

Any help is appreciated.

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answered 2017-07-07 02:45:08 -0500

Dave gravatar image

You might consider something like DesignBuilder's Optimization tools which use genetic algorithms and EnergyPlus to undertake advanced multi-criteria cost-benefit analysis. Other tools are available but this is probably the easiest/quickest to set up and use. You can set up a range of different envelope options (also shading, HVAC, lighting etc) and then the optimiser manages the process of running multiple simulations to find the solutions that best meet your objectives (cost, performance etc.). You can find information about this on the DesignBuilder website or a webinar recording on DesignBuilder's YouTube channel or contact the office directly.

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@Dave: Thank you for your answer. If I was to disregard the DesignBuider assessment (the demo version doesn't allow modifications on my building due to the fact that is has +50 zones), would you suggest me to use EnergyPlus itself in some way or any other program?

sirYESsir gravatar imagesirYESsir ( 2017-07-07 10:00:10 -0500 )edit

@sirYESsir Unfortunately I have no experience in optimization using other tools so am not able to help in that regard. If you wish to test DesignBuilder's optimization tool on your project model please email me directly at and I'll sort out a temporary licence for you.

Dave gravatar imageDave ( 2017-07-10 02:24:20 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2017-07-05 10:05:52 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 07 '17