We describe how a design day for building energy performance simulation can be selected from a typical meteorological year of a location. The advantages of the design day weather file are its simplicity and flexibility in use with simulation programs. The design day is selected using a weather parameter comprising the daily average dry bulb temperature and total solar insolation. The selection criterion addresses the balance between the need to minimise the part-load performance of the air-conditioning systems and plants and the number of hours of load not met. To validate the versatility of the design day weather file, we compare simulation results of the peak load and load profile of a building obtained from the DOE-2.1E code and a specially developed load estimation program, PEAKLOAD. PEAKLOAD is developed using the transfer function method and ASHRAE databases. Comparative results are in good agreement, indicating that a design day thus selected can be used when quick answers are required and simulations using a TMY file cannot be easily done or justified.