How to Entice Architects into Using Photovoltaics

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff May 24, 2006

The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) has released Version 1.8 of the award-winning Energy-10 software. For the first time, building designers will have an easy-to-use tool to help them integrate photovoltaics and solar domestic hot water in an energy-efficient building. These solar features were added to Energy-10 Version 1.8 at the urging of the solar industry.Version 1.8 offers many new features including:

  • Photovoltaic module that provides the ability to model and simulate the performance of a PV system that is either stand-alone or integrated with the building.

  • Solar Domestic Hot Water module provides a new solar domestic/service hot water modeling capability.

  • A new library (“ASHRAELIB”) is included defining constructions (wall, roof, window, etc.) as spelled out in ASHRAE 90.1-2004.

Thousands of building designers and many more thousands of students currently use Energy-10 to make informed decisions about the energy performance of the smaller commercial buildings and homes they are designing, according to SBIC officials. The software helps identify the best combination of nearly a dozen energy-efficient strategies, including daylighting controls, passive solar heating and high-efficiency mechanical systems to name a few. It usually takes less than an hour at a project’s outset to produce a simulation, but that small investment of time can result in energy savings of 40-70%.

Norm Weaver, a professional engineer from Steamboat Springs, Colo. involved in the development of Energy-10 since 1999, is excited about this release, “Among the many updates in Version 1.8, the biggest feature is the introduction of integrated PV and Solar DHW modeling.With the growing interest in “net zero” buildings, Energy-10TM can be used to rapidly close in on workable alternatives.”

The Midwest Research Institute (MRI) developed Energy-10 Version 1.8 and holds certain intellectual property rights including trademark and copyright rights related to Energy-10 Version 1.8 software that it has licensed to SBIC for the purpose of commercialization. SBIC is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the design, affordability, energy performance and environmental soundness of America’s buildings. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy-efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by MRI and Battelle.