On the Need for a Unified and Collaboratively Developed Residential Building Simulation Platform: Preprint

Scott Horowitz, Christopher Dymond, Ethan Crotaeu, Haider Khan, Robert Burns

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Residential building energy simulations are becoming ever more pervasive; they form the basis of energy efficient building design, zero energy goals, codes and standards, home certification and ratings industries, utility programs, regional/state planning, and technology assessments. And yet the residential building simulation community is highly fragmented with a patchwork of simulation engines with varying models, inputs, assumptions, and results. This inconsistency degrades confidence in these tools, increases industry-wide development and maintenance costs, and slows the availability of new efficiency technology models. The need for collaboration on an impartial, transparent, and capable residential building simulation platform has never been greater. But to develop and maintain a state-of-the-art simulation platform requires a dedicated and sustained investment. By leveraging existing resources and expertise from multiple entities/regions, a unified and collaboratively developed simulation platform can provide increased levels of energy efficiency at an accelerated pace. This paper presents the advantages and disadvantages of a unified residential building simulation platform in relationship to four real-world examples (RESNET HERS ratings, utility programs, California's Title 24, and DOE). The paper covers recent developments and improved capabilities that may move us closer to an ideal simulation platform and what challenges remain. The hope is to spur a frank and honest dialogue about how to work together towards the vision of achieving deeper and more reliable energy savings in the residential buildings industry.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


Conference2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5500-74162 for paper as published in ACEEE proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-70966


  • energy simulation
  • residential buildings
  • simulation platform


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