Building Energy Optimization Software
To help meet Building America’s goal to develop market-ready energy solutions that improve efficiency of new and existing homes, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the Building Energy Optimization (BEopt) software tool. This one-of-a-kind computer program is designed to identify optimally efficient designs for new and existing homes at the lowest possible cost.
BEopt produces detailed simulation-based analysis and design optimization based on specific house characteristics, such as size, architecture, occupancy, vintage, location, and utility rates. BEopt can help researchers and energy analysts identify the most cost-effective combinations of efficiency strategies for whole-house energy savings. These savings are calculated relative to a reference building that’s either user-defined or an automatically generated Building America Benchmark home. See the House Simulation Protocol report to learn more about the Building America Benchmark home.
Benefits of Building Optimization
Conceptual plot of the least cost path for high performance homes.
Building optimization helps to identify designs that minimize total cost of ownership while maximizing energy savings. When building optimization is performed before construction or retrofit begins, the components can be designed concurrently, leading to a more integrated, whole-building approach. Efficiently designed buildings reduce energy use and costs while increasing comfort and quality for the building occupants.
BEopt’s sequential search technique provides realistic construction options and design alternatives that represent currently available products and construction techniques. The search optimization technique:
- Finds minimum-cost building designs at different target energy-savings levels
- Evaluates discrete building options, reflecting realistic construction options
- Identifies multiple near-optimal designs along the path, allowing for equivalent solutions based on builder or contractor preference.
For more on home efficiency measures and to access a database of measures that can be used in analysis software, including BEopt, see Efficiency Measures and Costs.