How is building simulation software validated?
Building simulation software such as cove.tool and EnergyPlus are complex and highly detailed application written by large teams of programmers utilizing fundamental physics and heat transfer equations. Each application is made up of thousands of lines of code which are tested individually, however to validate the entire simulation, a method which compares one software to others via standard test procedures is used. This validation method is defined by ASHRAE Standard 140-2020: Method of Test for Evaluating Building Performance Simulation Software. The results of validation via ASHRAE 140 standard reports.
Validation of loadmodeling.tool
loadmodeling.tool runs on the EnergyPlus version 9.3 engine, released March 27, 2020. EnergyPlus is the United States Department of Energy flagship whole building energy modeling engine which has been under continuous development since 1997. Over the years EnergyPlus has gone through extensive testing and validation, a full summary of which can be found here.
Since EnergyPlus is the core engine of loadmodeling.tool the validation of results is inherited from ASHRAE 140 testing performed and published for EnergyPlus. As loadmodeling.tool grows the full ASHRAE 140 test suite will be performed providing even more validation of the simulation methods and results.
Can results from loadmodeling.tool be used for design and compliance?
Yes! Our loadmodeling.tool produces results via EnergyPlus which are suitable for sizing of mechanical systems in any building type. Results for peak cooling load, peak heating load and airflow rates are directly comparable to values produced by any other load modeling software.
As with any calculation that will make its way into the built environment, the key step is to have a professional engineer review and confirm the correctness. With loadmodeling.tool more time can be provided for the critical review process thanks to time saving in producing the initial results. Now every project can get both a load model and an energy model!
Peak Cooling and Heating Load Calculations in Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ASHRAE 183) defines the compliance methodology required for load modeling. The EnergyPlus engine used by loadmodeling.tool utilizes the industry standard heat balance method, which is one of the approved methods in ASHRAE 183. The additional details defined in section 5 to 10 are also covered by loadmodeling.tool. A read only version of the standard is available here.