Did you know that residential and office buildings account for approximately 40 percent of energy usage in the U.S.? As a result, making your home and workplace as energy efficient as possible saves money, cuts emissions and makes the world a greener place. So it makes sense that as part of President Obama’s new Better Buildings Initiative, businesses and research institutions were encouraged to come up with new ways to make buildings greener and to conserve more energy. As a result, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is introducing new software that provides building owners with a full read-out of the property’s energy usage – and it’s totally free!

Better Buildings Initiative, energy conservation, energy modeling, NREL, nuclear energy, OpenStudio, WellHome Weatherization, green buildings, office efficiency, green homes, energy efficiency, free building efficiency upgrade, renewable energy laboratory

The software called OpenStudio Energy Modeling is still in the design phase, but is meant to be similiar to the Department of Energy’s free energy use simulator called EnergyPlus. OpenStudio however is set to be a free and open piece of software that offers more user-friendly applications.

The original OpenStudio was released in 2008, but the NREL have upgraded it to include a plug-in for Google SketchUp, a simple model-editing tool, and a graphic format for viewing results from EnergyPlus.

“It’s much cheaper to run an energy model than it is to build the wrong building or do the wrong retrofit,” said NREL Senior Engineer Nicholas Long.

“The easiest way to describe OpenStudio is a wrapper on top of EnergyPlus,” Long said. “OpenStudio handles the building geometry, building envelope, plug loads, people and daylighting, along with many other inputs. It adds all of that data into one big massive engine and spits out results. Industry professionals will find that OpenStudio will help them quickly and easily analyze the energy use in their buildings.”

OpenStudio will be made available to anyone under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which allows third-parties to easily integrate the functionality into their applications without requiring them to contribute their code back.

“We’re not selling this product, it’s free. And, what’s nice about it being open source is that someone can integrate it into their workflow,” said Larry Brackney, a co-developer of the software.

Now developers have no excuse to not make their buildings as green as possible.


Via Clean Technia

Images: NREL