Commercial enterprises and government agencies conduct thousands of building energy audits every year—and the methodology often varies widely. NREL experts quickly realized the lack of standardized data collection and auditing processes was leading to inaccurate and/or inconsistent results, especially when comparing results across a spectrum of building types in a given portfolio, such as in federal agencies.
To address this, they sought a collaborative solution that would provide building energy managers, facilities managers, and others with standardized data, processes, and expert analysis that would result in more constructive, impactful audits—ultimately improving building efficiencies and reducing overall building energy costs. The result is simuwatt Audit.
To start, NREL tapped in to the work it was already conducting with local software developer concept3D to develop the Building Component Library (BCL)—an online repository of energy data on individual building components or energy conservation measures that can be used to create building energy models using NREL’s OpenStudio and EnergyPlus tools, with data broken down into separate components that represent parts of a building.
“After identifying the need for standardized auditing processes and data management, we realized we could combine the lab’s commercial building energy analysis capabilities and auditing methodologies with concept3D’s software development expertise, including the BCL and their 3D geometry capture software, to provide investment-grade level 3 audits much faster and at a reduced cost when compared to traditional methods,” says NREL’s Larry Brackney
Applying NREL’s advanced energy modeling framework and building energy audit processes, collaboration tools, and in-app media and concept3D’s geometric capture, combined with real-time connections to large sets of standardized data, the tablet-based simuwatt Audit application delivers, enabling energy auditors and others to conduct investment-grade audits that cost 75 percent less than traditional audits and store the data in a consistent and reusable format.
This summer, NREL and concept 3D will have an opportunity to demonstrate simuwatt Audit in action and further refine it based on field testing at U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) sites.
“What’s been great for us is that we’ve gotten to serve as a commercial partner of sorts for NREL,” says Oliver Davis, CEO and co-founder of concept3D. “We’ve been able to combine NREL’s analysis and auditing expertise with our geometry capture and other software development tools to create a mobile application that will change the industry.”
Download the fact sheet PDF for more information.