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What are available tools for calibrating energy model inputs using measured data?

asked 2014-10-03 08:56:35 -0500

updated 2015-11-10 14:56:35 -0500

I am interested in finding out about automated (or semi-automated) tools people are using (or know about) to calibrate existing-building model inputs using measured data. How well do these tools work? How much computing time do they need to do their thing? Are there any tools that accept more than utility bill data?

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@Amir Roth you tag "ASHRAE Guideline 14", can you provide a link or a description of this in your question? I am not familiar with it.

Neal Kruis gravatar imageNeal Kruis ( 2014-10-03 09:16:47 -0500 )edit

ASHRAE Guideline 14 ( is a reference protocol for measuring energy savings. One of the options is calibrated simulation and there are requirements for how close the simulation has to match measured data to qualify (see table 5-2 in the document). IPMVP ( option D is similar.

__AmirRoth__ gravatar image__AmirRoth__ ( 2014-10-03 09:40:48 -0500 )edit

Take a look here too Neal:

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2014-10-03 09:55:13 -0500 )edit

I don't have proper time to write a detailed answer but to anyone who's feeling like doing, I'd include ORNL Autotune, Hydro Quebec ExcalibBEM, GenOPT

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2014-10-03 09:56:45 -0500 )edit

@BrianLBall : these two comments actually constitute an answer, not comments. can you post an answer instead?

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2014-10-06 14:02:28 -0500 )edit

2 Answers

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answered 2014-10-06 11:56:18 -0500

updated 2014-10-08 02:01:18 -0500

OpenStudio has developed a cloud based platform to solve this very problem. Two recent papers were presented at ASHRAE:

  • Macumber, 2014, A graphical tool for cloud-based building energy simulation

  • Long, 2014, Scaling building energy modeling horizontally in the cloud with openstudio

The calibration workflow is Measure based, meaning almost any OpenStudio method is available for calibration purposes (ex, swapping out full HVAC systems, changing geometry, or simple idf parameter changes). A good Measure resource is

The OpenStudio calibration / optimization workflow accepts timeseries and monthly utility data. Objective functions can also be put into groups for multi-objective problems. The suggested workflow is to first sample the variable space with one of the sampling algorithms available on the server (ex, LHS). Remove any non-impactful variables and choose appropriate bounds for the impactful variables. Run a calibration using a gradient based method (ex, Optim) for all continuous variables, a hybrid genetic / gradient based method (Rgenound) or choose a multi-objective algorithm such as NSGA2

Computing time is a function of base simulation time and the number of variables that are selected for calibration. All the available algorithms are parallelized meaning gradient calcs are done in parallel for Optim and Rgenoud and all population calcs for NSGA2 are run utilizing all available cores. Costs are always changing but right now you can get a 32 core box for $1.68/hr with the capability to add more boxes for larger problems.

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@BrianLBall: the underscore in the links was interpreted as to be an "" (italic) and therefore clicking on them would lead to an errror. I used the opportunity to include the papers' titles too, I hope you don't mind.

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2014-10-08 02:05:10 -0500 )edit

A user guide for the OpenStudio Analysis spreadsheet is under development and lives here:

There is also a calibration example here:

BrianLBall gravatar imageBrianLBall ( 2015-05-15 11:04:57 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-11-06 19:54:02 -0500

ChrisBalbach gravatar image

updated 2014-11-07 10:17:24 -0500

Here are four useful (public domain) tools that I have found useful for assisting in model calibrations, each in different ways. These tools are 'post-processing' tools, which means while they are simulation tool agnostic, but do require an additional workflow step.

  1. ECAM: Available here - An MS Excel addin that can be adapted to include multiple 'stacked' sequential high resolution time series energy or (other measured data) channels, where the first stack might represent simulation output (predicted signal) while the second stack might represent the measured channel... A second channel might represent the delta between the two stacks. ECAM can create easily create numerous visualizations of these channels to tease out calibration errors. Uniquely, this tool also incorporates Inverse Modeling Change Point Models in accordance with ASHRAE Guideline 14

  2. DVIEW - Available here - An improved version also ships with the latest version of BeOpt. Can be used in similar ways as (1) above, but is a stand-alone application (not an MS Excel add-in)

  3. ExCalibBEM Available here: I haven't had time to use this yet, but it appears to be a nice GUI implementation around GenOpt - and designed to work with either E+ or DOE2.2 files.

  4. VizBEM Available here: An MS Excel addin, this tool is similar to item (1) for creating data visualizations but handles large data sets with multiple channels very well.

I'm sure there are more tools out there, but these are the ones I am aware of and use.

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Asked: 2014-10-03 08:56:35 -0500

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Last updated: Nov 07 '14