Simergy Makes EnergyPlus More User-Friendly

To address the need for a more user-friendly interface for the DOE’s EnergyPlus building energy simulation program, the Simulation Research Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory worked with a public/private team to develop Simergy.

Simergy is a new, free graphical user interface (GUI ) for EnergyPlus, specifically designed for practitioners. The beta version was released in October 2012 and is undergoing testing.

The US Department of Energy’s open-source EnergyPlus program has helped architects and engineers design more efficient buildings for more than a decade. However, it can take a great deal of effort to input information and analyze the output. As a result, many have avoided using the program, while others have turned to third-party GUIs to increase its effectiveness.

As entities such as the California Energy Commission, Hydro Québec, and Trane switch from DOE-2 to EnergyPlus, it is more important than ever to combine an easy-to-use GUI with the capabilities of EnergyPlus, according to Berkeley Lab. Therefore, Berkeley Lab initiated and participated in a series of workshops where practitioners helped to define features that would enable them to use EnergyPlus effectively. The Lab then used their recommendations to develop a product that would meet their specific needs.

Version 1 of Simergy will address design for new construction and is slated to be released in the first quarter of 2013. Users will benefit from the following key features:

  • Capability to manage and evaluate design alternatives.
  • Ability to translate building envelope geometry from CAD or Building Information Models (BIM) to Building Energy Models (BEM).
  • Extensive sets of libraries and templates for construction materials, schedules and HVAC equipment, and systems for both conventional and low-energy systems.
  • Drag-and-drop component-based HVAC schematic editing.
  • Summary reports that can be customized to the user’s desired level of detail.
  • Interactive detailed results visualization.
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