A Primer on Building Models

by ‐ Tags: building science

Our latest visualization at data.wegowise.com lets you adjust a building's physical characteristics to see how they affect energy usage. It turns a set of stodgy (but industry-standard) equations into interactive sliders and responsive graphs. We think it is a neat way to develop intuition for mathematical building models and degree days.

The PRISM (PRInceton Scorekeeping Method) building model is a simple but powerful set of equations which predict energy usage based on temperature. At WegoWise, we use this model to understand how local, daily temperature changes affect a building's monthly utility usage. We can then infer the split between heating, cooling, and baseload usage. It also allows us to determine weather-normalized customers' savings after a retrofit.

Personally, as someone who spends a lot of time with these equations, this interactive visualization was a real eye-opener. Adjusting the model parameters by hand and seeing an immediate response allowed me to understand the underlying equations in a visceral way. I hope it is as informative and delightful for you, and that it serves as an accessible reference. 

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