Energy modeling is a process which involves creating computer models of buildings or facilities in order to analyze them and their energy usage. The first step in creating an energy model is to create the baseline model. This baseline is created utilizing a building’s blueprints and/or information gathered during a site visit. Once created, the baseline model is then ‘matched’ to the real-world building by analyzing the real-world energy use of the building; the baseline is run through simulations which output expected energy use, and this baseline model is changed and adjusted to match the real-world energy usage. Upon completion of the baseline model, further models reflecting potential energy improvement projects are created utilizing said baseline model. These proposed models are then simulated and the resulting energy use output is compared to the baseline model output to analyze items such as: energy savings, demand savings, and cost savings.
Energy models are best suited for more time-intensive, larger scale projects. For example, an energy efficiency project which involves replacing the lighting in a building with high efficiency LED lighting may not necessarily require a full-scale energy model. However, a project such as a complete HVAC system replacement or control system replacement would likely require one. That’s not to say, however, that all buildings wouldn’t benefit from an energy model. Items to keep in mind when deciding to create a full-scale model or not include: timeline of the project, amount of time available, size/scope of the project, and final/future goals with the building or project.