How to Open the DoE Commercial Reference Buildings in Ladybug Tools

Hi @chris I’m struggling in updating an IDF model from E+ 9.0 to 22.1. Is there a LBTools component which updates the version? I can’t seem to find it (version LBTools 1.5.0).

Thanks, Adam

Update: sorted by following instructions at this link
ERROR: “1. The IDF is from EnergyPlus version 9.5. This must be changed to 22.2 with the IDFVersionUpdater in order to import it with this Ladybug Tools installation.” - ladybug-tools - Ladybug Tools | Forum

Hi @emilianoadam.cerutti ,

The only way to update the IDF version (with relative reliability) is to use the IDFVersionUpdater.exe, which you can get if you downloads EnergyPlus directly from the NREL GitHub:

You will find it here in the installation:

But, for future reference, IDF is a far from the best format to use if you are trying to save your energy model for use at a later date. OpenStudio Models in .OSM format will be much more reliable over time and are automatically updated when they are opened in a newer version of the OpenStudio Application. Alternatively, gbXML is not bad if you’re hoping to just save the energy model geometry for later and, if your energy model is produced from Ladybug Tools and can be written into HBJSON format, this is the best to use since we are not making breaking changes to the HBJSON schema at this point and 100% of your energy properties should be preserved in future versions.

I agree with all you said above @chris .
I’m currently analyzing the DOE reference buildings (Prototype Building Models | Building Energy Codes Program) whose results are only provided in an IDF format, so I’m afraid I have no choice at this point than just taking the IDF files and updating them with the E+ “IDFVersionUpdater” and importing them in Gh.

Hi @emilianoadam.cerutti ,

This isn’t entirely true:

The workflow that NREL now recommends for getting the DOE commercial reference buildings for any version of EnergyPlus/OpenStudio is to use the Generate-Prototype-Buildings measure:

You basically run that measure on a blank model in the OpenStudio Application and it generates the prototype building from scratch. Using this workflow guarantees that all of the relevant info about the prototype building is not being lost through updating the version of E+ (since E+ is pretty fond of breaking changes and you will likely loose a lot of info by using the IDFVersionUpdater on very old IDFs).

That’s also what I would recommend since the resulting OSM that you get will be import-able to Ladybug Tools with relatively little loss of info for the constructions and loads, though you’ll loose all of the HVAC info. That measure will also give you access to some of the newer prototype buildings that the DoE has created recently, like the College Building and the Courthouse Buildings.

Hope that helps.

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Ha! Wish I had known this a few months ago when I realised I had to update all of the reference models for a climate change study! Anyway, came here to post the repo in case anyone wants them. Organised by era and then climate zone. There is also a notebook in the parent directory that I used to do the update loop calling the IDFUpdater.


Hi @chris I’ve checked the link you shared with me and it appears there might be a newer NREL Github thread ( openstudio-standards/data/geometry at master · NREL/openstudio-standards · GitHub)?.
I’m usign the link above to download the .osm files to then import them in the OpenStudio App to update them and make them compatible with my OpenStudio version (3.5.0).

When I try importing the updated .osm file in Gh with the LoadEModel component I somehow end-up having this incomplete model for the Large Office .osm (see below the attached original and updated .osm files)
ASHRAELargeOffice.osm (331.0 KB)
ASHRAELargeOffice_3.5.1.osm (352.3 KB)

When I then try running the updated .osm LargeOffice file, the simulation fails

Even the “Validate component” seem to be giving many warning messages

I’m attaching the quite basic Gh script I’m using to import .osm files and running them
2023.10.23 EOC eac E+ (168.7 KB)

Am I missing something? I might be…

Hi @emilianoadam.cerutti ,

The JSONs in that part of the OpenStudio Standards repo are where that recommended measure generates the geometry of the prototype models from. Using the 3-year-old OSM files in that part of the standards gem repo is better than working from those very old IDFs but you’re probably still loosing some information compared to actually re-generating the prototype models using the measure. So that is what I would still recommend doing.

Your LargeOffice prototype model is correct. That DoE reference building uses multipliers to represent the repeated stories so that the simulation does not take too long to run.

It looks like the errors that you are encountering are because you are working from the 3-year-old OSM. When I generate the LargeOffice using the measure in OpenStudio Application 1.6, I get an OSM that I have no issues simulating with the latest LBT plugin that used OpenStudio 3.6:

LargeOffice.osm (1.2 MB) (11.5 KB)

So just use the recommended measure and you’ll be fine.

FYI, for the sake of everyone who references this post as the recommended way to get models of the DOE Commercial Reference Buildings, I added a new component called “HB Create OSM Measure”. This component can run the measure that I linked to that produces updated OSMs of the commercial reference buildings. Here is a sample of how to use it: (23.6 KB)

So, just Download this measure here, unzip it, connect it to the HB Load Measure component in that file and you’ll be able to generate updated commercial reference buildings for whatever building type and climate zone you want.

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Hi Chris,

This looks awesome. Is there a way to do something similar for ResStock? I don’t know anything about the intricacies of all of this stuff, but I’m trying to get at more information on residential constructions and what they use for standards. I know I can build my own constructions and schedules, and maybe that’s what I’ll have to do, but it looks like or at least seems like someone has done it already?


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Thanks, @bwatanabe

I really don’t know. I don’t see any measures related to ResStock under the OpenStudio Model Articulation measures here. Granted, if NREL puts together a measure that does this, you can run it with that component. I seem to remember that NREL has some integration with HPXML, which is suited for modeling residential cases.

There’s this:

But when I looked at it my mind exploded. I can read the words in the github, but that’s about it :grimacing:. Seems I’m getting into the deep end of things I don’t quite know about. Perhaps I’ll stick with trying to build some of these constructions and schedules for myself to better understand what’s going on.

Yea, that’s the correct repo, @bwatanabe .

I can confirm that this measure in the repo should be run-able with “HB Create OSM Measure” component:

… but that HPXML measure requires you to have an HPXML file already defined, which I assume carries with it not just information about the residence geometry but also how many appliances there are and when they are used. The measure basically translates the XML file into an OpenStudio Model that you can then import.

I’m not too familiar with the different ways of authoring HPXML files but, if you manage to find a database of “Reference HPXML” files much like the IDFs you found for the commercial reference buildings, you can probably bring them into OpenStudio and Ladybug Tools through that measure.

Hi @chris this looks awesome!
I’ve tried downloading both the measure.rb and measure.xml and popping them in a “measure” directory in my downloads folder. Not sure this is exactly what you mean when you say “download this measure here”, as I can’t seem to find a zip folder to download as a whole (I should say I’m not super familiar with github unfortunately).

The OSM output from your new “HB create OSM measure” is null. For your reference I’ve added the panel showing all the versions of the packages I’m using, so perhaps this problem is caused by not having the most updated versions of OpenStudio/LBT/Energy+?

Hi @emilianoadam.cerutti ,

The null output means the measure did not run. You can download a zip folder of that entire repo from this link. Then, you need to plugin in the lib\measures\create_typical_doe_building_from_model sub-folder path into that component if you want it to work correctly.