A Getting Started Tutorial on EnergyPlus

by Vishal Garg

Center for IT in Building Science 

IIIT Hyderabad


1 Home
2 Objective
3 Installation
4 The problem
5 Problem - Details
6 Start IDF editor
7 Add Version
8 Building Object
9 Time Step
10 Run Control
11 Location
12 Design Day
13 Material Regular
14 Construction
15 Zone
16 Surface Geometry
17 Surface Heat Transfer
18 Schedule Type
19 Schedule Compact
20 Controlled Zone Equip Config
21 Zone Equipment List
22 Purchased Air
23 Zone Control Thermostatic
24 Dual Setpoint with Deadband
25 Report Variable
26 Report Meter
27 Report
28 Start EP launch
29 Select the IDF file
30 During Simulation Run
31 Run Status
32 Click DXF
33 Drawing in VoloView
34 Click Orbit button
35 3D view of the Drawing
36 Output data in Excel

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This tutorial is based on a old version of EnergyPlus (ver 2.xx). I am prepraing a new tutorial on the latest version of EnergyPlus (ver 4.xx) released on October 12, 2009. The new tutorial will be available at http://www.vibyor.com.

About EnergyPlus:(from http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/energyplus/) EnergyPlus is a building energy simulation program for modeling building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows. While it is based on the most popular features and capabilities of BLAST and DOE-2, it includes many innovative simulation capabilities such as time steps of less than an hour, modular systems and plant integrated with heat balance-based zone simulation, multizone air flow, thermal comfort, water use, natural ventilation, and photovoltaic systems.

EnergyPlus is a stand-alone simulation program without a 'user friendly' graphical interface. EnergyPlus reads input and writes output as text files. More than six user interfaces that create and run EnergyPlus input files and display results graphically are available (DesignBuilder, E2AC, and Hevacomp) and under development (E+IEQ, EFEN, and EPlusInterface). Software tools that were specifically designed to create EnergyPlus input files include ECOTECT, EP Geo, EP Sys, EP-Quick, IFCtoIDF, ESP-r, Green Building Studio, and IHIT.

One can give input to EnergyPlus by either making the input file (*.idf) in a simple test editor (such as TextEdit or notepad) or by using a simple user interface ( IDF Editor) which comes with EnergyPlus installation. This tutorial uses IDF editor for creating the input file.

The tutorial assumes that the reader knows the basics of energy simulation.  There are about 30 steps in this tutorial and it should take about 60 minutes to complte it (excluding the time for downloading and installing the software). For any suggestions and bugs, please mail me: vishal[at]iiit[dot]net

Objective of the tutorial >>