The Holy Grail: Energyplus GUI with BIM Integration?

Alan Jackson bio photo By Alan Jackson Comment

Could it be? The eQuest killer? The death of Trane Trace? Is this the long awaited graphical interface for Energyplus?

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After seeing some recent rumors stirring in some of the building simulation circles about a new GUI for Energyplus, I got to doing some digging on the web and came across this presentation by Philip Haves of LBNL. After reading through this presentation, which I’ll get to in a bit and realizing that Philip Haves is going to be speaking at the upcoming ASHRAE Energy Modeling: Tools for Designing High Performance Buildings Conference where interestingly enough a mysterious EPGUI tool will be showcased, it seems we may be on the brink of what was once thought to be only fairy tales.

According to the presentation titled “Development of a GUI for EnergyPlus” LBNL has been working with a DOE funded team in creating a brand new GUI for Energyplus aimed at not only being simple and intuitive but also extremely effective and scalable. The development team includes:

  • LBNL
  • Infosys
  • Digital Alchemy
  • Arup
  • GARD
  • Taylor Engineering

Some of the key features worth noting are:

  • Integration with BIM and CAD
  • SketchUp style geometry creation
  • Drag-and-Drop system creation
  • Templates
  • Links to compliance tools

With very little information to work with, it seems like this is a very impressive piece of software, rivaled only by the upcoming revamped, yet heavily delayed, offering from Bentley Hevacomp Simulator V8i. The upside to LBNL’s application is it appears it will be free. Even if only in a limited free version is available that’s still enough to get excited about considering the only worthwhile free building simulation tool still in existence with a friendly GUI is eQuest. The integration with BIM platforms and the IFC file exchange format are what would truly make this application the Holy Grail, as this type of integration has been tried and failed many times over.

Scheduled release date is listed as July 2011, although knowing how these thing go, we will are more likely looking at Q4 of this year. So have a read up on the presentation and if you are familiar with the project or have any additional information please leave a comment below or contact me.