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Energy Software Options
#1 Posted : Saturday, May 24, 2008 1:09:35 AM
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Well,90% of the practicality of any energy efficient design of any building, be it a home or utility building has to do with its siting and and  layout on its lot.If that is'nt taken into account with efficiency software then it does not become useful.Why build a solar building with a south face on a hill thats heavily treed after 2/3ds post meridien in the afternoon?(in other words when the suns' treed in after like 3 oclock in the afternoon)Most of your solar gains' between 10 and 2 but that afternoon suns' good for storage heat at night.Does the software take in account thermal gain and heat loss of the floor tiles per square foot?
Mike in McMurdo
#2 Posted : Sunday, June 08, 2008 4:58:54 PM
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I guess you have to start with what programs you are talking about, what they cost, and do you need specialized training.

If we are talking high end products, it's not likely anyone would spend the money. If you buy low end, as Davidson said, there are too many variables that won't be taken into account. I would think they would work best if you are building a new house from scratch, can clear the land (if thats what you want) and have the where -with-all to find credits for all the extra costs.

Would it be worth the cost if you are renovating an existing home, that isn't situated correctly on the lot or has neighbors tall trees in the way? I  don't know. In that case you need some good common sense thrown in as well.

#3 Posted : Thursday, September 23, 2010 3:33:31 AM
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Hi Mike,

Some of the free versions of solar home design and heat loss software are actually good.

HEED, which Troy mentioned, is free, and is quite it good.  Its a full year, hour by hour heat losss/heat gain simulation that uses a weahter file for your location.  It was funded by the state of CA and the target audience is home owners.  The interface is straight forward -- for example, you drag a diagram of your house around to the direction it faces so that it can correctly account for solar gains. 

While HEED is simple to use, it also has some advanced menus that allow for quite a bit of detail in how you specify the house.  While the HEED interface is simple, the underlying heat loss model is very solid, and has been validated on many homes.

Another free one is the Canada gov HOT2000 program.  Its a little harder to use than HEED, but not really difficult.  It also uses a weather file for your particular area for better accuracy.  Again, its a very solid heat loss program that has been validated on a large number of homes.

If you want a really simple, but still fundamentally sound program, I have a simple, free home heat loss calculator you can run in 5 minutes -- its very quick and easy to use:  http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Calculators/HeatLoss/HeatLoss.htm  

Another one that I think is worth thinking about for people who are interested in building a house that meets or comes close to meeting the Passive House Institute standard is the PHPP software package that the Passive House Institute provides.  It costs $200, but comes with an extensive printed manual, and not only analizes the home from an energy efficincy point of view, but provides a lot of design information as well.  There is a bit of a learning curve associated with, so expect to spend some time getting started -- it may not be for everyone.








Troy Griepentrog
#4 Posted : Thursday, September 23, 2010 3:33:31 AM
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Posts: 134,494

In the design stage, architects, engineers and even homeowners use specialized software to determine the energy-efficiency of buildings. Energy 10 and HEED (Home Energy Efficient Design) are two such programs, but there are others. This forum was created to encourage a discussion of the various options. What are the pros and cons of each?

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