Advances in the Co-Simulation of Detailed Electrical and Whole-Building Energy Performance

Stephen Frank, Brian Ball, Daniel Gerber, Khanh Cu, Avpreet Othee, Jordan Shackelford, Omkar Ghatpande, Richard Brown, James Cale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes recent co-simulation advances for the simultaneous modeling of detailed building electrical distribution systems and whole-building energy performance. The co-simulation architecture combines the EnergyPlus® engine for whole-building energy modeling with a new Modelica library for building an electrical distribution system model that is based on harmonic power flow. This new library allows for a higher-fidelity modeling of electrical power flows and losses within buildings than is available with current building electrical modeling software. We demonstrate the feasibility of the architecture by modeling a simple, two-zone thermal chamber with internal power electronics converters and resistive loads, and we validate the model using experimental data. The proposed co-simulation capability significantly expands the capabilities of building electrical distribution system models in the context of whole-building energy modeling, thus enabling more complex analyses than would have been possible with individual building performance simulation tools that are used to date.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6284
Number of pages18
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-3500-79588


  • building performance simulation
  • co-simulation
  • functional mock-up interface
  • functional mock-up unit
  • harmonic power flow


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