Dear . I work as an and design buildings that harm the planet. I am looking for a practicing who can teach me building energy modelling using tools. I have a background in software dev, run and am willing to learn down to the details.

I do not have a background in heat transfer or thermodynamics, which is why I am asking for a tutor.

I promise to use this to design better buildings.

Please help retoot this so I can find someone.

@thinkMoult this post is touching.

Wish you find someone or needed information to build towards greener world!

@thinkMoult You might want to try local hackerspace if there's one near you, going to hackerspaces is really good for finding people of different skill sets to work on multidisciplinary projects.

I know @MicheleTurbin who is an architect designing eco-buildings, maybe she also uses open source tools ? :)

@thinkMoult @inso Hello, for calculations concerning thermal regulations we usually co-work with a thermal engineer outside our office. Regarding architectural design, we do not know of any good free software, otherwise we would use them. We also use free office and gimp, among other things.

@MicheleTurbin @inso I see. We also work with external consultants but turnaround time is prohibitive for good design. Having enough knowledge to do indicative studies would be useful.

Currently experimenting with FreeCAD.

Radiance and EnergyPlus and OpenStudio is open source.

@thinkMoult @Phigger I think you may have a client for your "to-be-designed" open stack on #BIM !

@jaxom_kaplan @Phigger I don't understand French, but from the few keywords I could see on his timeline (Blender, OpenStudio) it looks promising.

Do you use building energy modeling? Can you help me get started?

@thinkMoult Hey there ! (And thanks @jaxom_kaplan for the mention)

To be honest, I haven't really worked with them for now. I'm currently trying to get ressources to learn how to do it.

ESP-r must be the most powerful software for energy modeling, since it uses the finite element method and not the classic method (flux by surface, line or points). But it's also incredibly not user friendly, and lacks documentation.

I've even read someone using blender to get coordinates of his points for ESPr

@thinkMoult @jaxom_kaplan Since I professionnally do energy modeling, I do not use ESP-r neither OpenStudio. First, I'm French, so I work with French rules, which are not the same than american ones (the ones used by default in OpenStudio). It's not a real problem since OpenStudio is used for dynamic simulation, and so is quite country-agnostic, but then it lacks contents for French use.

Professionnally, I used a bit Climawin, and now Pleiades+Comfie, but these are 2 closed French softwares

@thinkMoult But if you wish, I can have a look at OpenStudio within the week and try to get some use of it.

Anyway, the only 1 way to get used to it is to used it, so you should first try to create juste a simple cubic house and see what info you acheived to put into it, then search where are the other options.

@thinkMoult By the way, it's a full job, seriously. I don't how it's elsewhere, but here in France, whe have companies dedicated to it. And we even separe thermal studies and heat networks.

So, the best you could be would be to work with professionnals specialized in energy modeling who will give you advices for better energy performance.

If you're architect, and know how to use Radiance, then you must have already learned a bit about bioclimatic ? That's the only thing needed to be learned

@thinkMoult Well, I don't think I'm very clear, sometimes I'm stopped by me English. I really need to practice more. If you have any question, do not hesitate.

@Phigger I haven't heard of ESP-r. How does it compare to things like EnergyPlus?

I understand it's a full job. However the hiring and iteration process with a consultant is cost ineffective, and some firms don't have access to it at all. An indication of energy performance (architects will never be as skilled as engineers) is better than nothing at all.

@thinkMoult It uses a different model for simulation. ESP-r should be more physic accurate, but it must be more ressource consuming.

@Phigger I am capable of reading the docs for openstudio and energyplus, but I am afraid that despite knowing how to operate the software, my simulation inputs will be wrong. Garbage in, garbage out. Knowing the inputs and assumptions is something only an experienced engineer (I suspect) can teach me.

Similar to Radiance, I can run the simulations, but it took a long time to learn how to put sensible values in it.

@thinkMoult Do you work on new buildings or do you do some renovations ?

If yes, you could start by modeling an ancient building and then compare results to bills.

Anyway, I'll be happy to help you, but currently it's coming late in France, so I tell you goodbye and I'll be trying to use OpenStudio (or any other EnergyPlus software) soon

see you

@Phigger thanks for your help. I work on both new and old. I will look at learning energy plus and may send you occasional questions when I get stuck.

@thinkMoult Hi there. I've found somethin new, there is an open-source addon for blender which interfaces with Radiance, EnergyPlus and OpenFoam. Here it is :

There's also a closed-source addon, but with a free version :

Also, there are people working on tools to export date from FreeCAD to EnergyPlus

@Phigger I have heard of Vi-suite before on the Radiance mailing list. I never looked at it in detail before as my Radiance workflow was heavily based on command line with customisations that UIs did not offer. I will check it out in more detail now.

I have also used ODS Studio (from ODS-Engineering) which is a Blender plugin to help preprocess input files for CFD modeling with OpenFOAM. Unfortunately now ODS Studio is porting to Rhino (proprietary) so it is no longer an option.

@Phigger I haven't looked at the FreeCAD implementation yet, but it may be promising as I have started contributing code to FreeCAD.

When I learned Radiance, I found the CLI taught me how things worked, but third party GUIs obscured an understanding of how the simulation worked.

Is this the same for BEM? Is it worth to learn EnergyPlus as a CLI, or should I use an interface like Vi-Suite? Also, I am confused about OpenStudio, which says it is available for Linux but requires Sketchup.

@thinkMoult OpenStudio doesn't require Sketchup but has a plugin for sketchup which easy the workflow. But you don't need it, you can define your thermal zones in OpenStudio.

@jaxom_kaplan Merci pour la mention. Je t'ai retiré des mentions au cas où, mais si tu veux lire la suite de ce qu'il se passe n'hésite pas à aller voir, c'est en public et dans la conversation ^^


This is really cool

I hope you stick to human focused design

Well wishes

@thinkMoult I don't have any personal experience, but this article may be relevant:

I'm sure there's open-source heliodon software somewhere online

@socalledunitedstates Thanks for the link, it looks cool! I am capable of sun(light) modeling, and daylight modeling using complex tools such as Radiance, which is open source and the engineering standard.

However what I am lacking in my skillset is "energy" modeling. I can calculate the hours of sun and its illuminance, but I don't know how to translate that to heat gain and energy usage. That is another field of analysis.

The open source tool for energy is EnergyPlus.

@socalledunitedstates I could read the EnergyPlus docs and get a simulation working, but garbage in, garbage out. So even though I can operate the software, only a practicing engineer can teach me how to choose the inputs sensibly.

I can ask on community forums such as UnmetHours, but that would take a long time to self-teach, and my time is limited as I am also developing other opensource and building workflows.

I hope it all made sense.


Your request made me think of Hakan an expert in this (see the 'about us' webpage), who was on a biofuels mailing list with me back in the early 2000s

They changed the way I understood building temperatures (eg. its not all about air temp, hot or cold surfaces make a big difference to how comfortable we are)

Not exactly what you were asking for, but maybe you could find something useful from their old site? Theres loads of interesting stuff there.

@thinkMoult i dont have a background in any of that. but you might get some ideas from the whole eco-building movement. use the right materials, take a look at hempcrete, use wood if you can. take a look at earthships, biophilic design. try to design your buildings to make use of natural drafts to avoid airco. Use vegetation to protect buildings from the sun(a tree is very effective in the summer and lets sun trough in winter)

i think you'll get a long way with that.

@Steven_Vervaecke in practice, outside boutique clients, this is very hard to implement with corporate clients. These clients talk in terms of dollars. I am familiar with those concepts you talk about, but it is not enough to propose them - we have to back them up, and have the confidence to iterate through designs that use them (whilst checking that the numbers add up!).

Do you think anyone at @FreeCAD could point you in the right direction?

@LPS @FreeCAD well I have started contributing code to freecad so I am getting introduced to their community.

I am working on its BIM functions but I hear that it does integrate with various engineering simulators. I should look into it more ! Thanks for the tip!

@thinkMoult @FreeCAD no problem:)
Another thought, some time ago I was having trouble finding green builders/designers in my area and I discovered that Autodesk has a lot of free videos on the topic. Not sure but you could like browse through and find what you're looking for.... at least it's a start.

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