Many calculation tools and simulation models have been developed over the past years, both inside and outside of IEA projects. These tools are still dispersed and their integration into the global energy analysis in the design practice has not been achieved until now. In addition, a great deal of effort has also been invested by other research organisations in order to produce user friendly simulation models. However, the practical use of existing simulation models is very limited in building and HVAC design.
Many powerful models stay unused because of their poor documentation, bad manuals and/or because the users are not provided with simple and transparent procedures for model input generation. This can be improved by giving guidelines for input generation and the use of standard product databases.
The aim of the project was to bring simulation to application. Simulation should be applied in all stages of the building design process, so that quick feedback on design implications can be given. Simulation tools should also allow the designer to compare various options and see whether (or to what extent) each component is necessary.
The Annex was divided into four research areas:
Qualification of Simulation Models
The aim here was to make the simulations safer, thanks to better selection and better use of the models available. This activity included a review of HVAC models available; a review of data sets; a definition of simulation requirements and a definition of qualification tests.
Design Process Analysis
The aim here was to make the use of simulation tools more efficient at different stages of the building cycle. This included a description of the data required for the use of simulation in the different phases of design; a description of simulation results to support the decisions in the different phases and a description of the information flow from preliminary design up to audit and retrofit.
The aim here was to establish better communications among the "clients" the simulation "specialists" and the simulation software. The possibilities offered by existing simulation tools were reviewed and classified; a checklist of data required was established, and default values proposed, and possible support for data collection and communication language among users defined.
The aim here was to make the data exchange easier and more efficient when using simulation tools throughout the building life cycle. This activity included a review of the data exchange formats available; a selection of one data exchange format, with a connection to a simulation program.