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What features of eQUEST make it appealing to energy modelers?

asked 2014-09-11 09:57:48 -0500

JO gravatar image

updated 2015-07-10 21:34:07 -0500

I'd like for us to get a brainstorm list going of the various things we like about eQuest. The intent would be to remain positive and have a helpful list that developers could refer to as they continue development of next-generation modeling software. Many of the features listed may already be incorporated in newer modeling software (which is great!). No wrong answers, guys.

Things I like:

  • BDL file can be edited manually with text edtors
  • Spreadsheet view for nearly any component category: spaces, zones, systems, pumps, chillers, etc.
  • 3D building view with ability to color surfaces by type
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@JO I completely understand why you ask that question, and I'm sure most of today's users too, but I think it wouldn't hurt to add a little more of context for future reference so that everybody understands why. Including but not limited to (edit: corrected by Joe's comment below): eQuest is based on DOE2.2, it's older and less powerful than E+, it's not funded by the government anymore etc. What do you think?

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2014-09-11 10:23:59 -0500 )edit

@JO, I agree with @Julien Marrec. I think this is a good start to a question, but it is a little too open ended to be answered succinctly. I can open the question again after we have revised it some.

Neal Kruis gravatar imageNeal Kruis ( 2014-09-11 10:30:26 -0500 )edit

I think this is very important to gather information on from a user experience perspective, but perhaps it should have a re-wording along the lines of "What features of eQUEST make it appealing to energy modelers?" (There should probably also be a tag added related to user experience/user interfaces).

Pam Berkeley gravatar imagePam Berkeley ( 2014-09-13 14:15:16 -0500 )edit

I totally agree with your comments. I initially asked the question on my phone and was being a bit lazy with the amount of typing i wanted to use :) I'll revise as suggested.

JO gravatar imageJO ( 2014-09-15 10:44:07 -0500 )edit

@JO I am going to reopen this and see how the community responds. Thanks for revising.

Neal Kruis gravatar imageNeal Kruis ( 2014-09-15 11:51:26 -0500 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2014-09-15 12:30:42 -0500

I would argue that one of the most appealing features of eQUEST is the workflow within the GUI, from high-level information about the building to the more detailed modifications of each object in the BDL:

  1. Begin with the high-level Schematic Design Wizard, or Design Development Wizard to enter some of the basic information about the building. You immediately have a rough model that can be simulated.
  2. A second level of refinement, in the Detailed Data Edit Mode, allows you to input more details about your building. This gives users access to the full capabilities of the underlining simulation engine, DOE-2.2.
  3. Finally, if a more detailed approach is still required to refine the building model, the user can directly modify the BDL text input file without losing all of the benefits of the eQUEST GUI. eQUEST is one of a handful of simulation GUIs that allows you to read the simulation input file after it has been modified externally.

That said, DOE-2.2 (and therefore eQUEST) lacks a large number of modeling features available in other simulation engines. Although DOE-2 is still under active development, there are relatively few developers available to add more capability in the new future.

Disclaimer: I am an EnergyPlus user and developer and do not use eQUEST on a regular basis.

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Along with the high-level schematic is a fairly well informed set of default values for parameters and schedules. If you are limited in your data or just want a very quick rough answer, you can get it fairly quickly in eQuest using the defaults.

Some of these features are available in other commercial programs but I they are not yet available in as easy to use fashion in either EnergyPlus or OpenStudio.

Ralph Muehleisen gravatar imageRalph Muehleisen ( 2014-09-16 22:30:55 -0500 )edit

I'd add that it's probably got the largest user base (at least much more than E+) and therefore there's more material readily available (tutorials, guidelines, archives of mailing lists, forums, etc) and it's probably easier to get help. (but: there's no support form the developers, as there is for E+, and IES-VE as well).

Julien Marrec gravatar imageJulien Marrec ( 2014-09-23 06:54:49 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-10-27 14:19:07 -0500

"Templatized" HVAC systems save time on those projects that have HVAC systems that are a match for the templates.

Easy reporting of variables for investigation, calibration.

Easy to setup project geometry and zoning.

CSV output available by hacking the eQUEST.ini file.

DOE2 report types and format are well known to others, facilitates review of the model by others (or my review of them).

Wizard mode provides a method for someone who is knowledgeable about building science to learn modeling.

Large peer group of consultants...who tend to run into many of the same issues.

Parametric simulations.

3D rendering, other GUI innovations (that are now common among other simulation programs).

The price!

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answered 2014-09-19 20:08:23 -0500

Erik Kolderup gravatar image

DOE2 runs fast. Therefore, I can quickly explore the impact of changes to my model and perform some old-fashioned human-driven optimization. And the ability to make quick incremental changes and check the results also helps me to avoid errors and produce better quality models.

I find that when I use slower simulation tools that I have to work differently and I'm more reluctant to test things. It requires more planning ahead, running batches, etc. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just different and tests my patience!

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answered 2014-09-22 18:59:09 -0500

adam gravatar image

updated 2014-09-22 19:00:29 -0500


  1. Intuitive (more or less)
  2. Pre-baked output reports - I like the fact that they exist, but think they could be greatly improved
  3. Parametric runs - again its a good concept but not perfectly implemented
  4. Fast
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Asked: 2014-09-11 09:57:48 -0500

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Last updated: Oct 27 '14