EnergyPlus software is a powerful tool designed to address the complex challenges of energy analysis and simulation in buildings. Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this software offers a comprehensive platform for evaluating the energy performance of various building types and designs. With its advanced modeling capabilities, EnergyPlus enables users to assess the impact of different energy systems, materials, and control strategies on a building's energy consumption. By providing detailed insights and accurate predictions, EnergyPlus empowers architects, engineers, and researchers to make informed decisions and optimize energy efficiency in building design and operation.

To gain further insights into the advantages of using EnergyPlus, we consulted CIET Trainer, Dragos Paraschiv, to get his professional viewpoint. Dragos is CIET’s lead trainer for all energy modelling courses.

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Why is EnergyPlus a viable replacement for modelling as opposed to CAN-QUEST or eQUEST?

 EnergyPlus integrated with the Open Studio application as a graphical user interface is the most supported open-source tool right now and is continuously releasing new versions of the software. eQUEST and CAN-QUEST are no longer developed to address new challenges of modelling complex buildings (the last update was released in 2018 for eQUEST and 2015 for CAN-QUEST).


Who created and maintains the EnergyPlus software and are there costs associated with using it?

EnergyPlus is free open-source software, meaning the source code is made available to the public. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) with support from research institutions, academic institutions and the consulting world. There are a number of other software plug-ins that can be seamlessly integrated with EnergyPlus to enhance its capabilities beyond its normal functionality. These plug-ins range in cost. For example, the OpenStudio application can be used for free, whereas in order to use the SketchUp plug-in a user needs to have a SketchUp license. You can also use Revit as a SketchUp alternative to import the building geometry in OpenStudio.


Who are the primary users of EnergyPlus?

EnergyPlus is a valuable tool for:

  • Energy Modellers working on New Construction or Deep Retrofit projects - in order to prove compliance with energy performance requirements of building codes using the performance path, or support the application for certification under various high performance building programs, for example LEED.
  • Design Teams - Architects and Project Engineers - EnergyPlus can be used for conducting the “what if” analysis to guide the selection of building system options in the design phase.
  • Authorities having jurisdiction verifying compliance with energy performance requirements of building codes.


Can EnergyPlus be used to ensure compliance with energy standards in the same manner as CAN-QUEST?

Yes, EnergyPlus is compliant with ASHRAE Standard 140 for evaluation of building energy analysis computer programs and can be used for proving compliance with energy performance building standards and codes such as ASHRAE 90.1-2022, NECB 2020.


Can EnergyPlus be used to tailor energy modelling simulations to specific projects?

Yes. EnergyPlus offers a highly flexible solution for exploring different “what if” scenarios in just a few clicks. You can easily change the building parameters and evaluate the outcome immediately.


What knowledge and practical skills can someone gain from CIET’s Building Energy Modelling course utilizing EnergyPlus?

By participating in Building Energy Modelling Professional, you will acquire valuable skills to enhance your professional toolbelt, such as being able to:

  • Develop a reliable energy model
  • Troubleshoot your work
  • Understand the Energy Model for design decisions and code compliance.


Is EnergyPlus compatible with other tools and modelling libraries?

As an open-source platform, EnergyPlus benefits from the contributions of a large energy modelling community that creates new building systems components and measures to describe changes to a building, which can be downloaded for free by any user from the online Building Component Library. Unfortunately, converting into EnergyPlus an energy model created with another computer program is not fully possible. Although Energy Plus model files store data in text format, the syntax of its objects is different from other energy modelling tools, like eQUEST. Typically, the focus is on the building geometry which is a time consuming activity, so there are tools offered by the community for this. For example, building geometry data from Revit files can be exported for EnergyPlus, for SketchUp there is a free plug-in developed by the community, and there is also a commercial tool that converts the building geometry from an eQUEST file to and EnergyPlus file.



Dragos Paraschiv, headshot

Dragos Paraschiv, P.Eng., PhD, MBA

Dragos Paraschiv is a licensed professional engineer in the Province of Ontario and a Professor of Sustainable Energy and Building Technology at Humber College in Toronto, Canada. His experience in energy management includes design of commercial building electrical and mechanical systems, central plant retrofit projects, as well as development of community energy management plans and pilot projects. Dragos has gained experience in all aspects of energy related projects, including auditing, design, performance measurement and verification, contract administration and project management. Dragos has a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Power Engineering.

Learn to Use EnergyPlus

Unlock the full potential of EnergyPlus with our comprehensive training programs. Our expert instructor will guide you through the ins and outs of this powerful software, giving you the skills and knowledge you need. Learn to use EnergyPlus to optimize energy performance and reduce costs.

CIET’s Energy Management Software and Tools Learning Path features comprehensive training courses to help professionals like you learn or master the tools to put together a successful Building Energy Model. Courses include:


CIET Energy Management Software & Tools Learning Path

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