The application of model-based performance assessment at the whole building level is explored. The information requirements for a simulation to predict the actual performance of a particular real building, as opposed to estimating the impact of design options, are addressed with particular attention to common sources of input error and important deficiencies in most simulation models. The role of calibrated simulations is discussed. The communication requirements for passive monitoring and active testing are identified and the possibilities for using control system communications protocols to link on-line simulation and energy management and control systems are discussed. The potential of simulation programs to act as "plug-and-play" components on building control networks is discussed.