Building performance simulation tools have significantly improved in quality and depth of analysis capability over the past thirty-five years. Yet despite these increased capabilities, simulation programs still depend on user entry for significant data about building components, loads, and other typically scheduled inputs. This often forces users to estimate values or find previously compiled sets of data for these inputs. Often there is little information about how the data were derived, what purposes it is fit for, which standards apply, uncertainty associated with each data field as well as a general description of the data.
A similar problem bedeviled access to weather data and Crawley, Hand, and Lawrie (1999) described a generalized weather data format developed for use with two energy simulation programs which has subsequently lead to a repository which is accessed by thousands of practitioners each year.
This paper describes a generalized format and data documentation for user input—whether it is building envelope components, scheduled loads, or environmental emissions—the widgets upon which all models are dependant. We present several examples of the new input data format including building envelope component, a scheduled occupant load, and environmental emissions.