[Bldg-sim] Simulation software recommendations

Müller, André a.mueller at massivbau.tu-darmstadt.de
Mon Aug 22 07:47:52 PDT 2022

Dear simulationists,

I just want to share some information which may be relevant for those seeking for a simulation software, matching their individual needs.

Some colleagues from University Dresden<https://tu-dresden.de/bu/architektur/ibk> set up a building simulation (BS) test suite and did some performance testing with defined test cases and multiple BS tools. To my knowledge, the framework for definition of test cases and execution of the test suite is open source and can be used for own benchmarking analyses.

Find more details on https://simquality.de/ or in this conference paper of IBPSA Building Simulation 2021 in Bruge: https://simquality.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/BS2021_10766_SimQuality_final.pdf

Best regards

Technische Universität Darmstadt
Institut für Massivbau
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Danièle Waldmann-Diederich

André Müller M.Sc.
a.mueller at massivbau.tu-darmstadt.de<mailto:a.mueller at massivbau.tu-darmstadt.de>
Franziska-Braun-Str. 3 • L5|06 – 317


+49 6151 - 16-21405

64287 Darmstadt


+49 176 - 32665287


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Von: Bldg-sim <bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org> Im Auftrag von Jim Dirkes via Bldg-sim
Gesendet: Montag, 22. August 2022 16:34
An: Leenknegt Sarah via Bldg-sim <bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>; Daniel Ruepp <daniel at ruepp.at>
Betreff: Re: [Bldg-sim] Simulation software recommendations

One more thought.....
There is NO energy modeling platform which can (natively) model everything conceived by the minds of designers. (We encourage creativity!)

For many years, the creative challenge for modelers was to develop a "workaround" procedure which made a reasonable representation of the actual design's physics, but within the constraints of the modeling software or its GUI.

In the last few years, we have tools such as the EMS script in EnergyPlus and also CS scripts, both of which are available from the DesignBuilder platform and enable dramatic additional capability to the GUI for non-common modeling challenges.

For years, EnergyPlus has contained abilities sufficient for our projects. Back a number of years ago, it was common to get a model defined 90% within DesignBuilder, then export to the EnergyPlus IDF file and make modifications which DB could not do. Lately, we can do almost everything within DB as we use it's additional capabilities and build a (relatively small) library of scripts.

[cid:image002.png at 01D8B646.29EC5630]

James V Dirkes II, PE, BEMP, BCxP
Team Lead - Building Performance
616 450 8653
Foresight Management

Coffee Conversation:

Hard questions are not impossible questions - but they take actual work.
The fact that an intelligent person has a belief doesn't mean it's an intelligent belief.
The fact that a scientific person has a belief doesn't mean it's a scientific belief.
People who are brilliant in one area can make enormous mistakes or leaps of logic in another area (or an area that involves multiple disciplines).

From: Bldg-sim <bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org>> on behalf of Daniel Ruepp via Bldg-sim <bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>>
Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2022 8:25 AM
To: Leenknegt Sarah via Bldg-sim <bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>>
Subject: Re: [Bldg-sim] Simulation software recommendations

Quote Chris Yates: "IDA ICE is the best thing since sliced bread" ;)
Watch this: https://youtu.be/cAS7qbIznHQ

It covers all your needs.

Since you are located in Switzerland, IDA ICE makes even more sense, the Solutions company (courses+support) is located in Zug and the Swiss localization covers all Swiss standards, including SIA 380.


DI Daniel Ruepp
daniel at ruepp.at<mailto:daniel at ruepp.at>
+43 664 457 157 1
Schützengartenstraße 9
6890 Lustenau

Am .08.2022, 21:35 Uhr, schrieb Sheila Sagerer via Bldg-sim <bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>>:

I have not used IDA ICE, but have used both EnergyPlus and IESVE. Both are robust, but I’m not as sure about the DesignBuilder interface. The last time I used DB, I could only take my model so far, then had to switch to the E+ IDF editor due to the complexity being beyond the abilities of DB. That was a nightmare!

IESVE is very robust with a lot of modules available, including CFD for natural ventilation. It has a steep learning curve, but so does EnergyPlus! IESVE has a pretty good library of the most common HVAC equipment types with various control setups and options. It is further customizable. With Gaeia interface, it has the capability of modeling groundsource interactions. It can also handle DES plants…however, if you’re submitting for LEED, post processing for DES utility rates will be needed.

Sheila Sagerer, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Senior High Performance Building Analyst
Ecoworks Studio
sheila at ecoworks-studio.com<mailto:sheila at ecoworks-studio.com>
(717) 341-1496

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 19, 2022, at 12:05 PM, Duggin, Cory via Bldg-sim <bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>> wrote:

Sounds like IESVE checks all the boxes you are looking for.  Since they are based on Scotland, they have tools and systems for that market.

Cory Duggin, PE, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Principal | PEAK Institute
cory.duggin at tlc-eng.com<mailto:cory.duggin at tlc-eng.com>
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Brentwood, TN 37027
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From: Bldg-sim <bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org>> On Behalf Of Leenknegt Sarah via Bldg-sim
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2022 8:29 AM
To: bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>
Subject: [Bldg-sim] Simulation software recommendations


I would like to ask advice regarding which simulation tool would best suite our needs. We are an engineering bureau in Zürich, with long years of experience in building simulation. We deal with: load calculations, comfort evaluations, daylight, natural ventilation, HVAC optimization, LEED certification or support in development of innovative energy concepts.

Our current tool is TAS from edsl, which has large benefits in 3D-modelling, fast and stable calculations and user friendliness, but is lacking regarding HVAC modelling (geothermal concepts, European market oriented systems) and has flaws regarding solar shading and natural ventilation controls.

It is very clear that there is no “best” simulation tool, but very difficult to guess which one is best for us. I can read summaries of features and watch video tutorials, discuss with customer services, which I am doing, but the most useful input is from the user side. I am hoping I can get some recommendations here.

What we need:

  *   Reliable modelling of natural or mixed mode ventilation (TAS has a time step of 1h -> no proper natural ventilation modelling possible)
  *   Able to run daylight controlled interior lighting
  *   Very strong HVAC modelling, with predefined components and libraries, able to deal with large numbers of zones
  *   Automated export of results (select a group of zones and a list of parameters and put them in a .txt file)
  *   Suitable for commercial use (good support, tutorials etc. available, no need for open source, userfriendly)

Nice to have:

  *   Efficient 3D-modelling, able to deal with challenging architecture
  *   Able to process a high number of zones (with TAS, I can run a 1000-zones model in about one hour, albeit without HVAC systems)
  *   LEED plugins
  *   Daylight calculations

On our shortlist:

  *   E+/Designbuilder
  *   IESVE
  *   IDA ICE

I appologize for the long post and would very much welcome any inputs!

Thank you in advance,


Dr. Sarah Leenknegt
MSc Eng. Arch. | Dr. Bauphysik
T +41 44 200 77 37 (Mi. abwesend)

Lemon Consult AG
Energy Efficiency Engineering
Sumatrastrasse 10
8006 Zürich
T +41 44 200 77 44

HR-Nr. CH-

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DI Daniel Ruepp

Schützengartenstraße 9
6890 Lustenau
daniel at ruepp.at<mailto:daniel at ruepp.at>
+43 664 457 157 1

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