Building Energy Software Tools
Formerly hosted by US Dept. of Energy    

IDA Indoor Climate and Energy

Reviews 0

IDA Indoor Climate and Energy (IDA ICE) is a whole year detailed and dynamic multi-zone simulation application for the study of indoor climate as well as energy. The physical models of IDA ICE reflect the latest research and best models available, and results compare well with measured data. While serving a global market, IDA ICE is adapted to local languages and requirements (climate data, standards, special systems, special reports, and product and material data).

The IDA ICE user interface is designed to make it easy to build and simulate both simple and advanced cases, and the real-time 3D environment, in combination with comprehensive tables, provides optimal feedback. A simple procedure for calculating and reporting cooling, heating, air demand, and energy, together with a built-in version handling system, makes it easy and efficient to compare different systems and results. There is also the Early Stage Building Optimization (ESBO) user interface which makes it possible for users to experiment with variations in both buildings and systems at an early stage with an absolute minimum of user input. A full range of component models for renewable energy studies is available, with boreholes, stratified tanks, heat pumps, solar collectors, CHP, PV, wind turbines, etc.

The standard edition of IDA ICE can be enhanced with various extension packages, each for the more advanced user or for less common studies:

BIM Import

The BIM Import extension allows users to import 3D CAD buildings directly into IDA ICE using the open and neutral IFC format.


The ASHRAE 90.1-extension helps users to follow the Building Performance Rating Method in Appendix G of ASHRAE 90.1-2007, which is used in Green Building Programs like LEED and BREEAM.

Slab Cooling and Heating

The Slab Cooling and Heating extension allows users to handle embedded heating and cooling systems (TABS), both electrical and water based.

Enhanced Window Models

The Enhanced Window Models extension allows users to simulate ventilated double skin facades and other complex glass facades in accordance with ISO 15099.

Ice Rinks and Pools

The Ice Rinks and Pools extension allows users to simulate needed cooling and heating of water in a swimming pool in order to reach and maintain desired setpoint temperatures; for ice formation, the phase change process is evaluated along with the heat needed (in the ground below the ice sheet) to prevent frost propagation.

Expertise Required: 

IDA ICE is mainly designed for HVAC designers and sustainable design engineers who are not simulation method experts. There is an advanced level in the software that allows simulation experts to build their own air handling units, plants, and control systems. Advanced users may also add new equation based models.


HVAC designers, sustainable design engineers, simulation experts, researchers, students.


IDA ICE can import all common 2D and 3D CAD files. It supports IFC BIM models generated by tools such as ArchiCAD, Revit, MagiCAD, and many others. Geometry can be imported from SketchUp or other geometry tools. Climate files, including EPW files, can easily be downloaded and installed.


Localized reports include tables, charts, and plots. 3D visualizations (both stills and animations) show geometry, solar shadings, color coded input data as well as results. Arrow animations in 3D visualize ventilation air flows, window energy balance, and wind driven flows. Reports are designed to fit with LEED submittal forms and other resource documents on LEED Online, and it is also possible to export to MS Excel and Word.

A single zone IDA ICE model with default primary and secondary systems comprises a total of approximately 2000 time dependent variables, any of which may be plotted, such as: zone heat balance (including specific contributions from sun, occupants, equipment, lights, ventilation, heating and cooling devices, surface transmissions, air leakage, cold bridges, and control signals). Solar influx is evaluated through windows (also internal) with full 3D accounting for local shading devices. Air CO2 and moisture levels are captured along with air and surface temperatures. Also available are comfort indices, PPD and PMV, unmet load hours, daylight, total energy cost based on time-dependent prices, and primary energy and CO2 emission.


IDA ICE can be used for complete energy and design studies, involving the envelope, systems, plant and control systems. Every underlying equation can be browsed, and every variable can be logged by the critical user. The general equation based methods used in IDA ICE, in combination with its flexible architecture, makes it easy to develop the software continuously to adapt it to local requirements and languages, and to expand it with new modeling capabilities.

Major Capabilities: 
Whole-building Energy Simulation
HVAC System Selection and Sizing
Code Compliance
Free To Try
Last Software Update: 
01 October 2015
Last Entry Update: 
06 October 2015
Add to compare