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Written report accompanying the DOE prototype models

asked 2019-02-13 10:03:17 -0500

mldichter's avatar

updated 2019-02-13 14:56:19 -0500

I am looking for the written report containing all the research and references that accompanies the "Create DOE Prototype Building" BCL measure. We are hoping to use the report to tease apart some of the objects that lump together a lot of equipment so we can simulate changing out specific pieces of equipment with more efficient versions.

For example, most of the building models that have elevators explicitly have an Electric:Equipment object with the power consumption and schedule of an elevator. However, the Large Office model appears to have lumped the elevator with other equipment in a single object to model power consumption. In order to implement an efficient elevator, we need to know what portion of the energy use is from the elevator in that object.

Another example, we'd like to exchange gas and electric equipment in kitchens with ENERGYSTAR equipment, but they have been, quite reasonably, lumped together into single electric and gas equipment objects for the kitchens.

Does anyone know where I can find the report?

Post Script

After searching a bit, I wasn't able to find a publication on the 90.1-2013 models, but I was able to find a publication, linked here, for the 90.1-2004 and previous models, which was published in 2011. With this in mind, there probably isn't an entirely new report made for updating the models to the new standards, probably just a list of updates to the models going from one ASHRAE standard to the next. The linked report states the differences between models for the different ASHRAE standards "...are reflected in the insulation values, lighting levels, and HVAC equipment types and efficiencies." However, there are some significant changes in the models from 2004 to 2013, such as the addition of the data centers to the Large Office model at some point.

So to rephrase my original question, Does anyone know where I can find a changelog or equivalent, with citations, for the 90.1-2013 models generated by the BCL measure?

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@David Goldwasser You're the person associated with the measure in the BCL. Do you happen to know where I can find the report?

mldichter's avatar mldichter  ( 2019-02-13 10:07:34 -0500 )edit

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answered 2019-02-14 16:48:54 -0500

Background on the DOE Prototype buildings

The DOE prototype buildings, formerly known as the commercial reference buildings are a joint effort between NREL, PNNL, LBNL to assess national savings potential for new building technologies and model savings for new versions of building code, among other uses.

They were first released under this report: NREL, U.S. Department of Energy Commercial Reference Building Models of the National Building Stock, February 2011.

PNNL expanded the reference buildings to estimate savings from implementing ASHRAE 90.1-2010: PNNL, Achieving the 30% Goal: Energy and Cost Savings Analysis of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010, May 2011. These are the original DOE Prototype Building .idf models.

PNNL then made enhancements to these models to better reflect the building stock and implement ASHRAE 90.1 items that were not included in the original prototype models: PNNL, Enhancements to ASHRAE Standard 90.1 Prototype Building Models, April 2014. This is the document you want to reference for the current inputs to the DOE Prototype models.


openstudio-standards was developed to create the DOE Prototype Building models in OpenStudio format programmatically. This way, any fixes or updates to the prototype models can be implemented in openstudio-standards, and are reflected in the prototype models it builds. This saves the need to update hundreds of .idf files individually and avoids transcription errors. It also allows the prototype models to be used in OpenStudio workflows with measures or programatic analysis in PAT, making it much easier to use the models for their intended use case - modeling building technology and building code savings.

The PNNL .idf files are currently the gold standard and are used for building energy code analysis; the .osm prototype models generated with openstudio-standards are imperfect. However, openstudio-standards is currently being updated as a joint effort between NREL and PNNL to make sure the models match the PNNL .idf files more closely. At present, models built with the Create DOE Prototype Building measure reflect the 2014 PNNL enhancements to the prototype building models, with some fixes to known HVAC errors. You can see a complete changelog in the commit history of openstudio-standards, or reference the abridged openstudio-standards changelog notes included with each release of OpenStudio.

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@mdahlhausen Do you know who I could contact about the idf models you linked to? I tried their help desk link, but that went to technical questions about building energy codes, or for assistance with REScheck or COMcheck applications.

In particular, a comment in the idf files indicate they used slab to generate the Site:GroundTemperature:BuildingSurface object, which I would really like to get a hold of to use in my climate zones.

mldichter's avatar mldichter  ( 2019-02-20 09:45:23 -0500 )edit

@mldichter did you talk with someone at DOE?

For the slab temperatures, check the prototype reports. My guess is they just ran the slab pre-processor in EnergyPlus.

mdahlhausen's avatar mdahlhausen  ( 2019-02-20 11:24:10 -0500 )edit

@mdahlhausen I found an email after searching through your links more thoroughly. I'll post back the results of my correspondence.

I'm hoping it is slab, but there are no slab object in the idf file. I'm hoping those objects were removed as a convenience so the ground temperatures weren't recomputed every run.

mldichter's avatar mldichter  ( 2019-02-20 11:58:19 -0500 )edit

@mdahlhausen I haven't tracked it down but I believe the history of the models goes back much further than the 2011 report you cited.

JasonGlazer's avatar JasonGlazer  ( 2019-02-21 08:35:20 -0500 )edit

@mdahlhausen@JasonGlazer I tried a contact email for the DOE reference models, but have not received a reply. I made a new post asking for the info here.

mldichter's avatar mldichter  ( 2019-02-22 11:09:19 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2019-02-13 10:03:17 -0500

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Last updated: Feb 14 '19