Developing and Tuning a Community Scale Energy Model for a Disadvantaged Community

Robert Flores, Sammy Houssainy, Weixi Wang, Joseph Robertson, Khanh Nguyen Cu, Ben Polly, Ramin Faramarzi, Jim Maclay, Jack Brouwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


This work describes the development of a community-scale energy model for a mixed-use low-income community located in Huntington Beach, CA. An accurate community-scale energy model is useful for evaluating the use of limited capital resources used to invest in clean energy technologies. This work lays out the process of developing such a model while relying primarily on publicly available data and highlighting critical partnerships necessary for model development success. The primary contribution of this work is the demonstration of the process used to develop an accurate energy model for a disadvantaged community when minimal building and energy use data is available. The heart of the model is the physics-based community scale energy modeling platform URBANopt. Using a bottom-up load modeling approach, energy simulated energy use falls within 3% or less of aggregate annual utility data, and within 10% or less aggregate monthly utility data. The demonstrated model development and tuning process can be used by others to characterize other atypical communities, which may differ significantly from prototypical models.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112861
Number of pages22
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-82481


  • building energy modeling
  • community energy modeling
  • disadvantaged community
  • district energy modeling
  • model calibration
  • model tuning
  • URBANopt


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