SimModel: A domain data model for whole building energy simulation

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Conference Paper

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Many inadequacies exist within industry-standard data models as used by present-day whole-building energy simulation software. Tools such as EnergyPlus and DOE-2 use custom schema definitions (IDD and BDL respectively) as opposed to standardized schema definitions (defined in XSD, EXPRESS, etc.). Non-standard data modes lead to a requirement for application developers to develop bespoke interfaces. Such tools have proven to be error prone in their implementation – typically resulting in information loss.

This paper presents a Simulation Domain Model (SimModel) - a new interoperable XML-based data model for the building simulation domain. SimModel provides a consistent data model across all aspects of the building simulation process, thus preventing information loss. The model accounts for new simulation tool architectures, existing and future systems, components and features. In addition, it is a multi-representation model that enables integrated geometric and MEP simulation configuration data. The SimModel objects ontology moves away from tool-specific, non-standard nomenclature by implementing an industry-validated terminology aligned with Industry Foundation Classes (IFC).

The first implementation of SimModel supports translations from IDD, Open Studio IDD, gbXML and IFC. In addition, the EnergyPlus Graphic User Interface (GUI) employs SimModel as its internal data model. Ultimately, SimModel will form the basis for a new IFC Model View Definition (MVD) that will enable data exchange from HVAC Design applications to Energy Analysis applications. Extensions to SimModel could easily support other data formats and simulations (e.g. Radiance, COMFEN, etc.).


IBPSA Building Simulation 2011

Year of Publication



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