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EnergyPlus is a whole building energy simulation program that engineers, architects, and researchers use to model energy and water use in buildings. Modeling the performance of a building with EnergyPlus enables building professionals to optimize the building design to use less energy and water.

EnergyPlus has its roots in both the BLAST and DOE programs. BLAST (Building Loads Analysis and System Thermodynamics) and DOE were both developed and released in the late 1970s and early 1980s as energy and load simulation tools. Their intended audience is a design engineer or architect that wishes to size appropriate heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, develop retrofit studies for life cycling cost analyses, optimize energy performance, etc.

Born out of concerns driven by the energy crisis of the early 1970s and recognition that building energy consumption is a major component of the American energy usage statistics, the two programs attempted to solve the same problem from two slightly different perspectives.

Like its parent programs, EnergyPlus is an energy analysis and thermal load simulation program. Based on a user’s description of a building from the perspective of the building’s physical make-up, associated mechanical systems, etc., EnergyPlus will calculate the heating and cooling loads necessary to maintain thermal control setpoints, conditions throughout an secondary HVAC system and coil loads, and the energy consumption of primary plant equipment as well as many other simulation details that are necessary to verify that the simulation is performing as the actual building would.

For more information, read the EnergyPlus documentation which provides an overview and detailed information about the software specifics and instructions for use.

You can also access online tutorials for EnergyPlus.

Visit the EnergyPlus website for further resources.