Software and Tools

The design and optimisation of energy-efficient buildings – whether for new buildings, refurbishments or during building operation – requires suitable design methods, data and tools. Of course, architects, designers and building operators have considerable experience in using computer-aided planning tools. However, the challenges when designing particularly energy-efficient buildings are diverse: in addition to planning software currently available on the market, there are also specialist tools and innovative approaches for simulating buildings and systems, which have been developed and tested as part of research projects.

Here we present a range of planning tools that have been developed as part of the EnOB research.

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EnerCalC – Simplified energy balancing to DIN V 18599

The energy balancing of buildings according to DIN V 18599 has been frequently criticised because of its complexity and time-consuming application. Calls to simplify the process came soon after the pre-standard series was first published. As part of a research project, the Excel-based EnerCalC tool has now been developed that is particularly suited for characterising buildings in terms of their energy use during the preliminary design phases.

In the research project, software modules were developed to conduct energy efficiency inspections, analyse the lifecycle costs and optimise different components or even entire buildings.

Software analyses lifecycle costs

Calculating the lifecycle costs for buildings or system technology can help to achieve an economic balance between the initial construction and subsequent usage costs. The method is particularly interesting for the early design phases, where many decisions have a significant impact on the energy consumption and further utilisation costs. In this research project, software was developed as a planning and decision-making aid for architects, specialist designers and energy consultants.

Coolplan: Extended calculation options envisaged for cooling technology with the Coolplan software. A simulation illustrates the characteristics to be expected of the cooling machine according to the cooling requirements of the building.

Design and assessment of cooling systems

This research project seeks to develop a tool for assessing conventional and innovative cooling technologies. The tool is intended to facilitate the assessment of systems for solar cooling, combined heating, cooling and power as well as active and passive cooling using reversible heat pumps and to compare the technologies with conventional cooling systems in terms of their energy efficiency and economic viability.


Energy-optimised operational management of commercial cooling systems

This research project seeks to develop and test tools and methods for determining the energy efficiency of cooling systems in ongoing operation. Specialised algorithms are to be developed for recording and analysing operational system data and implemented in a software package for energy efficiency analysis as a prototype. Structure and condition modelling for cooling systems is to form the basis for automation of prognosis and diagnostics processes.

Operational analysis and system optimisation for cooling systems: Cooling machine in the building belonging to the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover.

Operational analysis and system optimisation for cooling systems

Cooling systems used in office and production buildings often require a needlessly high level of energy. So far, suitable tools to assess easily if a refrigerating system is running efficiently and to identify optimisation and saving potential in ongoing operation do not exist. This research project developed a software-supported methodology for the operational analysis and system optimisation of cooling systems that can soon be used in the form of an Excel tool.

The “enerMAT” project partners are using the “ViciOne” system to visualise the energy management system.

Design method for building energy management systems

Energy management systems are designed to reduce the energy consumption in buildings. The enerMAT design environment is already implementing such a system during the planning phase. This enables informed decisions about the investment and operating costs, energy savings and comfort to be made at an early stage. The use of simulation-based verification and optimisation methods dramatically simplifies the complex design process for trades-spanning energy management.

Netzreaktive Gebäude: Wärme- und Kälte-Verteilsystem in einem größeren Labor- und Bürogebäude: Mit einer gezielten Verschiebung der Betriebszeiten kann das Wärmespeichervermögen von Gebäuden und dem Erdreich genutzt werden, um die Stromnetze zu

Grid-interactive buildings adapt to fluctuations in renewable electricity production

The share of renewable energies in the German electricity generation will continue to increase. Fluctuations in the availability of renewable electricity from wind and photovoltaic plants mean that not only the quantity, but also the time of the electricity consumption will play an increasingly important role in the future. Buildings with electricity-based technologies for heating and cooling (e.g. heat pumps, compression chillers, CHP plants) will contribute to relieving the electricity system and reducing the demand for electrical storages and energy conversion processes by shifting the electricity consumption for heating and cooling temporarily, using technical storages and the mass of the building to store the energy as heat or cold.

With ModQS, model-based methods for the continuous monitoring of building operation are employed.

ModQS — Model-based quality assurance for building operation

ModQS is a newly developed quality assurance system for the operation of buildings. Building operation is supposed to become more efficient with the support of a combination of model-based methods for fault detection, fault diagnosis and system optimisation. The new system has been used in several non-residential buildings to continuously monitor and optimise heating installations. The aim is to expend as little energy and operating costs as possible while achieving the highest possible level of occupant comfort.

Automatische Überwachung im Betrieb mit dem Tool "Energie-Navigator", eine webbasierte Plattform, mit der Architekten, Ingenieure, Bauherren und Facility Manager die Performance Ihres Gebäudes gemeinsam planen und überwachen können.

The Energy Navigator: Energy-optimised design and operation

The Internet-based working platform enables the design of system descriptions, automatic analyses of operating data and reporting functions for engineers, building owners and users. Thanks to innovative Web 2.0 technologies, the working platform can be used online by all project participants throughout the entire lifecycle. The Energy Navigator enables the operation of buildings to be systematically supported.

MoniSoft can be used on any operating system with a Java environment, both via the command line and via a graphical user interface. Simultaneous access to one database by several users is possible.

MoniSoft – Software for monitoring and energetic performance optimisation

MoniSoft, a Java-based and platform-independent software package, simplifies the monitoring and performance analysis of buildings. Stringent data processing with quality assessment functionality and diverse options for context-based data visualisation supports the continuous performance optimisation of buildings as part of energy management.