Question-and-Answer Resource for the Building Energy Modeling Community
Get started with the Help page
Ask Your Question

What is length and what is width? Along what axis?

asked 2021-11-17 18:43:56 -0500

halimgur's avatar

updated 2021-11-17 22:38:10 -0500

In EP documentation there are many references to "Length" and "Width" of a surface. For example, "Floor:Adiabatic" is defined by one corner and the length and the width. What axis do we measure the length on and what axis the width? I could not find this mapping anywhere in the EP documentation. Does anyone have a clue?

For example, referring to the following coordinate system, if I am defining a Floor:Adiabatic object wityh the lower left corner coinciding with the global origin, what do I specify for L and W? A and B, respectively? Or vice versa? image description

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete

2 Answers

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted

answered 2021-11-18 08:50:08 -0500

updated 2021-11-18 19:38:56 -0500

An alternative to OpenStudio (application and SketchUp plug-in) that reads and writes OSM files that eventually are translated to IDF files is Euclid, another SketchUp plug-in formerly known as Legacy OpenStudio that reads and writes to IDF files directly. Using Euclid, you can:

  • Draw new geometry, which will use the same BuildingSurface:Detailed object that Julien mentioned for all drawn surfaces.
  • Open an IDF with existing geometry, including the Floor:Adiabatic object and similar "simpler" surface objects in Julien's list. Euclid will translate these "simpler" surface objects into BuildingSurface:Detailed objects.
edit flag offensive delete link more


I was not aware of Euclid. As you can see, I am new to the EP domain and my interests in using EP are probably different from the majority and I am still exploring the EP ecology. I looked up Euclid. I like that it is open source. I will try and learn more about it. Thank you for the mention.

halimgur's avatar halimgur  ( 2021-11-18 18:19:42 -0500 )edit

answered 2021-11-18 07:14:23 -0500

updated 2021-11-19 02:16:01 -0500

I had to dig into the source code to find the answer. For all objects in this list:


you will find a similar structure, where you have these fields in this order:

Dimension1 along X' (=Length in MakeRectangularVertices)
Dimension2 along Y' (=Height in MakeRectangularVertices)

See here, how these are passed to MakeRectangularVertices:

So in your case, for Floor:Adiabatic, Length=Dimension1, Width=Dimension2. So the Length is A and the Width is B on your image.

Side Note I would advise to refrain from using these objects, instead use a Building:Surface:Detailed. Draw your geometry in a tool such as the openstudio-sketchup-plugin or Euclid. That way it's clear what you are actually drawing.

In you insist, I suggest doing QA/QC, by making use of the Output:Surfaces:Drawing object, like so: Output:Surfaces:Drawing, DXF;. You could also try to import your IDF in a tool that would visualize it directly (such as the OpenStudioApplication, via File > Import > IDF)

Disclaimer: I am a contributor to the OpenStudioApplication and openstudio-sketchup-plugin

edit flag offensive delete link more


Very clear and informative answer. Much appreciated. Thank you verty much.

halimgur's avatar halimgur  ( 2021-11-18 18:14:31 -0500 )edit

Sure thing, and welcome to Unmethours!

If you allow me to be pedantic (as people are on a similar site like Stack Exchange), I find it interesting that you marked the other answer as accepted as it doesn't actually answer the original question (which is about length and width).

(Also, Aaron and I both omitted the usual disclaimers: his company, Big Ladder Software, develops Euclid, and I am a contributor to the OpenStudio suite of tools (which is also free open source software). I edited my answer to add the disclaimer and Euclid as an alternative tool)

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2021-11-19 02:21:50 -0500 )edit

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account.

Add Answer

Training Workshops

Question Tools

1 follower


Asked: 2021-11-17 18:43:56 -0500

Seen: 79 times

Last updated: Nov 19 '21