Efficient Solution Strategies for Building Energy System Simulation

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published


LBNL Report Number



The efficiencies of methods employed in solution of building simulation models are considered and compared by means of benchmark testing. Direct comparisons between the Simulation Problem Analysis and Research Kernel (SPARK) and the HVACSIM+ programs are presented, as are results for SPARK versus conventional and sparse matrix methods. An indirect comparison between SPARK and the IDA program is carried out by solving one of the benchmark test suite problems using the sparse methods employed in that program. The test suite consisted of two problems chosen to span the range of expected performance advantage. SPARK execution times versus problem size are compared to those obtained with conventional and sparse matrix implementations of these problems. Then, to see if the results of these limiting cases extend to actual problems in building simulation, a detailed control system for a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is simulated with and without the use of SPARK cut set reduction. Execution times for the reduced and non-reduced SPARK models are compared with those for an HVACSIM+ model of the same system. Results show that the graph-theoretic techniques employed in SPARK offer significant speed advantages over the other methods for significantly reducible problems and that by using sparse methods in combination with graph-theoretic methods even problem portions with little reduction potential can be solved efficiently.


Energy and Buildings



Year of Publication



Research Areas