Leveraging Shore-Side, Building Energy Simulation Tools for Use in the Shipboard Environment

Daniel Studer, Edwin Lee, Brian Ball, Stephen Frank, John Barkyoumb, Eugene Holland, Jeffrey Green, William Robinson, Jeff Brown, Jennifer Golda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the confines of the Maritime Prescreening Assessment of Conservation Technologies program, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in collaboration with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock and Philadelphia Divisions, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, recently developed a physics-based modeling engine to evaluate non-propulsive ship energy consumption under different operational scenarios and technology applications, in order to enhance the Navy's ability to optimize ship operational reach and tactical performance. To accomplish this, a mature thermophysical modeling software, EnergyPlus(TM), was modified for ship-related applications. This software, originally developed for use in whole-building energy consumption studies, is a free and open-source simulation program that has been used for more than two decades. The team evaluated the accuracy of the modified version of EnergyPlus by comparing results to direct measurements taken over a 6-week underway period onboard the Maritime Administration's Training Ship Kennedy. The team developed an energy model of a prescribed area of the ship and compared its performance to measured results obtained from 235 sensor points. EnergyPlus behaved well with respect to solar loading and convective heat transfer to seawater while the ship was underway. However, results suggest that additional work remains to accurately simulate seawater heat transfer while the ship is stationary.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalNaval Engineers Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-68462


  • buildings
  • energy consumption
  • physics-based modeling


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