A comparison of EnergyPlus and eQUEST whole building energy simulation results for a medium sized office building

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With the increasing interest in energy efficient building design, whole building energy simulation programs are increasingly employed in the design process to help architects and engineers determine which design alternatives save energy and are cost effective. DOE-2 is one of

With the increasing interest in energy efficient building design, whole building energy simulation programs are increasingly employed in the design process to help architects and engineers determine which design alternatives save energy and are cost effective. DOE-2 is one of the most popular programs used by the building energy simulation community. eQUEST is a powerful graphic user interface for the DOE-2 engine. EnergyPlus is the newest generation simulation program under development by the U.S. Department of Energy which adds new modeling features beyond the DOE-2's capability. The new modeling capabilities of EnergyPlus make it possible to model new and complex building technologies which cannot be modeled by other whole building energy simulation programs. On the other hand, EnergyPlus models, especially with a large number of zones, run much slower than those of eQUEST. Both eQUEST and EnergyPlus offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The choice of which building simulation program should be used might vary in each case. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the potential of both the programs to do the whole building energy analysis and compare the results with the actual building energy performance. For this purpose the energy simulation of a fully functional building is done in eQUEST and EnergyPlus and the results were compared with utility data of the building to identify the degree of closeness with which simulation results match with the actual heat and energy flows in building. It was observed in this study that eQUEST is easy to use and quick in producing results that would especially help in the taking critical decisions during the design phase. On the other hand EnergyPlus aids in modeling complex systems, producing more accurate results, but consumes more time. The choice of simulation program might change depending on the usability and applicability of the program to our need in different phases of a building's lifecycle. Therefore, it makes sense if a common front end is designed for both these simulation programs thereby allowing the user to select either the DOE-2.2 engine or the EnergyPlus engine based upon the need in each particular case.