The real test of building energy efficiency is after the building is built, but critical design decisions must be made months and even years before the building is commissioned and the certificate of occupancy is issued. Energy modeling is a critical task in achieving this goal. As more buildings strive for zero net-energy and as energy standards become more stringent, energy modeling is going to be a greater part of project delivery. Energy modeling will also begin earlier in the design process and the models will evolve and become more detailed as the design develops.
The COMNET quality assurance program can help design and construction professionals. The modeling guidelines and procedures can be a factor when the team is assembled. An energy modeler that is familiar with COMNET is essential. In the early phases of design, the COMNET default modeling assumptions and schedules can speed the process and allow more time to be spent on design.
Eventually, COMNET accredited software will automatically create the baseline building, apply the correct modeling assumptions and generate simulation results in a standard format to ease analysis, code compliance, and incentive applications. With Standard 90.1-2016, the same modeling workflow can be used for these multiple purposes.
Energy modeling is becoming a standard service for high performance buildings and COMNET makes the process more efficient so more time can be spent on design.