[Bldg-sim] Trace 700 vs 3D+ for load calculations

Bishop, Bill bbishop at pathfinder-ea.com
Wed Mar 2 08:31:57 PST 2022

Curtis, All,
FYI, the phase-out plan for TRACE 700 has been extended per the recent announcement below.

William Bishop, PE, BEMP, BEAP, CEM, LEED AP
Senior Energy Engineer
T: (585) 698-1956                        F: (585) 325-6005
bbishop at pathfinder-ea.com<mailto:wbishop at pathfinder-ea.com>        www.pathfinder-ea.com<http://www.pathfinder-ea.com/>
134 South Fitzhugh Street
Rochester, NY 14608               [cid:image005.png at 01D82E1F.02FB7F10]

[cid:image002.png at 01D82E1E.A15E7B90]

From: Bldg-sim <bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org> On Behalf Of Song Zhang via Bldg-sim
Sent: Tuesday, March 1, 2022 2:13 PM
To: Andrew Corney <andrew_corney at trimble.com>; Paul Riemer <paul.riemer at dunhameng.com>
Cc: bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org
Subject: Re: [Bldg-sim] Trace 700 vs 3D+ for load calculations

We have been using Trace 3D+ for the load calculation for one of our actual projects. In order to be more confident in the 3D+ outputs and compare the two tools side by side, we created a separate Tra
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We have been using Trace 3D+ for the load calculation for one of our actual projects. In order to be more confident in the 3D+ outputs and compare the two tools side by side, we created a separate Trace 700 model for comparison, and here are what we noticed:

  *   For a seasoned user, creating the model from scratch in both tools took about the same time. For complicated shape buildings, 3D+ takes bit more time because the software will re-generate the entire model if any changes have been made.
  *   The 3D+ load calc results are sensitive to some other inputs such as internal loads, # of occupant, etc.
  *   To be focusing on building skin load, we removed all internal/misc loads; ventilation; infiltration; etc., and the load calc results of 3D+ and 700 compared favorably for this medium mass building. The room cooling load differences range 5~15% with 3D+ loads are usually lower, total building cooling load difference is ~10%.
  *   Plenum definition will have some sizable impacts on the room cooling load results.
  *   There is an almost 1/3 increase in the overall building cooling load running the exactly same model in the newer 3D+ v4.01.97 compared with result using v3.20.18, the difference is because of the Air Correction category shown in the System Cooling Checksums output. Trane CDS Help explained that this is because of the EnergyPlus simulation engine update.

Thank you,

S O N G   Z H A N G,   P H. D., P. E., L E E D  B D + C
Sr. Energy Engineer
Southland Engineering
22340 Dresden Street, Suite 177
Dulles, VA 20166
Office: 703.834.5570
Fax: 703.834.5572

From: Andrew Corney <andrew_corney at trimble.com<mailto:andrew_corney at trimble.com>>
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2022 4:30 PM
To: Paul Riemer <paul.riemer at dunhameng.com<mailto:paul.riemer at dunhameng.com>>
Cc: Curtis Fong <cfong at taylorengineers.com<mailto:cfong at taylorengineers.com>>; bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>
Subject: Re: [Bldg-sim] Trace 700 vs 3D+ for load calculations

One interesting question would be to know whether anyone has done rigorous analysis on whether buildings constructed using RTS calculations are oversized and by how much.

I expect this would be a really useful exercise in growing your confidence in the suitability of new calculations.

On Mon, Feb 28, 2022 at 9:03 PM Paul Riemer via Bldg-sim <bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>> wrote:
Hi Curtis and list
Over the last 20+ years we have done most of our loads in Trace 700 and are aware of the need to migrate.  We answered a survey that implied Trane was considering modifying the sunset timeline but we have not read or heard anything lately.  We have started a modest comparison and are trying to be systematic and a bit rigorous about it.  In our study, internal loads and low mass wall/roof/window conductivity have seemed reasonably comparable.  We are looking more at infiltration, solar gains, and ground coupled heat transfer.  We have not gotten to testing high mass scenarios. Yes the differences have us wondering if we 1) trust that 3D is more accurate and we keep our standard safety factors OR 2) devise workarounds and/or different safety factors OR 3) find another software package.  We have not used 3D output for a live project and we have not communicated with Trane about this.  I would be open to a conversation next week or later.

Paul Riemer, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Associate | Mechanical
D: 612-465-7696 | C: 612-220-2301

50 South Sixth Street \ Suite 1100
Minneapolis Minnesota 55402

From: Bldg-sim [mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org>] On Behalf Of Curtis Fong via Bldg-sim
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2022 12:12 PM
To: bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:bldg-sim at lists.onebuilding.org>
Subject: [Bldg-sim] Trace 700 vs 3D+ for load calculations

Hello Trace users!

As you probably know, Trane is phasing out Trace 700. This is the last year that you can renew your annual license, and after your license expires sometime in 2023, there will be very limited opportunity to edit and run existing models. The replacement is the heavily hyped Trace 3D+, which uses EnergyPlus as the simulation engine. From a load calculation perspective, this is a very big deal. Trace 700 is one of the industry’s leading load calculation tools and is arguably the basis for the standard of care for HVAC equipment sizing. Load calculations in E+ are based on the heat balance method, which is a fundamentally different approach from the radiant time series that is commonly used for cooling loads in Trace 700. Having a 3D view in the tool is, for sure, a step forward and the heat balance method is a more rigorous approach, but applying that to real equipment sizing is not trivial. The workflow will be different and the load results will also be different, generally lower in 3D+. The load calc results with the 3D+ approach will be sensitive to some inputs that are not particularly critical in Trace 700 so care will be required as designers switch over to this new tool. But yet Trane has provided very little guidance on the differences between the software tools, calculation methods, and resulting peak loads. Really only this: https://tranecds.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/454/~/comparison-of-trace-700-and-trace-3d-plus<https://us-east-2.protection.sophos.com?d=custhelp.com&u=aHR0cHM6Ly90cmFuZWNkcy5jdXN0aGVscC5jb20vYXBwL2Fuc3dlcnMvZGV0YWlsL2FfaWQvNDU0L34vY29tcGFyaXNvbi1vZi10cmFjZS03MDAtYW5kLXRyYWNlLTNkLXBsdXM=&i=NWZjNTI0OTJkYjA1OTYwZGY1NmNjOGVj&t=aXRpNGpPWnNZelJWUzN5cFh0YkszMUduL0VObXBrYkk5ZlFYVjlpUEIyZz0=&h=49d6d27eed204322b56753b736299afd>

One potential data point is to compare the published Std 140 results for 700 vs 3D+. Below are the peak sensible cooling results for the high mass building, 700 at left in pink, and 3D+ at right in pink. High mass would be the most challenging comparison, where there is more time delay heat transfer with the HB method – but these are tremendously different peak loads (3D+ predicts a ~30% lower peak for case 900). Are you ready to hang your PE license on that result at right? I don’t know enough about Std 140 to know whether this is reflective of an apples to apples comparison between load calculation results between the two tools but it seems to match my general expectation.

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So my questions:
1.       Has anyone already switched to using 3D+ for load calculations?
2.       Has anyone done a careful comparison between the two tools and/or developed any guidance on workflow differences that you would be willing to share to avoid duplicating effort? (it would obviously be better and more practical for Trane to do this since they are forcing the switch, instead of expecting their users to each do it on their own)
3.       Do you have concerns about using load calculations from 3D+ for equipment sizing, and have you expressed those to Trane? Perhaps if there was enough industry concern over the risk of under- or mis-sized equipment, they might consider maintaining Trace 700 to avoid having users simply switch to using Carrier HAP.

Thanks for reading!


Curtis Fong, PE

1080 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 501, Alameda CA 94501
(510) 747-9660 direct, (510) 749-9135 office
(510) 749-9136 fax, (510) 290-1368

cfong at taylorengineers.com<mailto:cfong at taylorengineers.com>

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