Patrick Wilkinson, P.E., C.E.M., P.M.P., C.M.V.P., LEED AP
Wendy WanYin Cheung
Track F | Energy Services
As energy modeling becomes more prevalent in the energy services market, modeling and savings calculation have to be accurate, but more importantly, it has to be accomplished efficiently and quickly. Energy modelling requires information gathering of the modeled facility as well as calibration of the model to ensure that the model represents the real-life building behaviors. Currently, the modelling and savings calculations phase during an investment grade audit takes significant amount of time containing multiple non-valued added steps, which accounts for approximately 20% of the overall investment grade audit and energy study hours.
Research has shown methods to reduce hours spent for modelling by determining the risk associated with the scope of work and identifying where “good enough” to stop calibration of the models such that energy savings calculations within a uncertainty level comfortable for the customers and energy services company can be provided in a timely manner. Although time spent on energy modelling and savings calculations is reduced, accuracy of the model might be lost. This paper describes best practices for decreasing hours spent during the modelling and savings calculations phase while keeping the uncertainly to an acceptable minimum level. An evidence-based calibration method through visual representations was applied to a case study at a typical office building at Irvine, California. Critical parameters were identified and used to suggest impactful changes for the initial energy simulation. The results showed that the Root Mean Squared Errors between simulated data and available measured data were reduced significantly after altering the critical parameters in the model within several simulations. Suggested best practices combined with the proposed calibration method aim to provide a systematic framework for quick and accurate calibration.
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