Community-Scale Energy Efficiency Assessment for Zero Net Energy Using the URBANopt Simulation Platform: Preprint

Sammy Houssainy, Ramin Faramarzi, Farhad Farahmand, Abhjieet Pande, Jon Griesser

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This project explored an innovative modeling approach for assessing the energy efficiency potential of the existing low-income Oceano neighborhood, in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County, and its effects on renewable generation requirements for achieving zero net energy (ZNE). One particular challenge faced was ascertaining the technical energy savings potential across a large neighborhood in a timely manner. The project overcame this challenge through the use of the URBANopt simulation platform, developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. URBANopt manages the automated model creation, simulation, and result aggregation for different design scenarios of existing or candidate buildings in a large neighborhood. Customized energy efficiency packages considered for the residential and commercial sector in the neighborhood included lighting, HVAC, plug load, water heating, envelope, and energy education measures. As a result of the analysis for the Oceano community, energy efficiency measures that are available through incentive programs may provide a 7.4% reduction in the required distributed energy resource (DER) size, corresponding to a 25,000 ft2 decrease in PV array area, to achieve ZNE. Through this work, a computational tool was developed and is being leveraged by the County of San Luis Obispo (CoSLO). The tool has enabled the CoSLO staff to perform similar analysis of the technical potential for energy efficiency, and an understanding of the DER asset requirements and potential savings in other communities within the county.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2020
Event2020 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings -
Duration: 17 Aug 202021 Aug 2020


Conference2020 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-77417


  • building energy modeling
  • buildings
  • community energy modeling
  • district energy modeling
  • EnergyPlus
  • OpenStudio
  • URBANopt


Dive into the research topics of 'Community-Scale Energy Efficiency Assessment for Zero Net Energy Using the URBANopt Simulation Platform: Preprint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this