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

CBECC-Com

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CBECC-Com (California Building Energy Code Compliance) is an open source project that may be used by Code Agencies, Rating Authorities, or Utility Programs in the development of energy codes, standards, or efficiency programs. Architects, engineers, and energy consultants may also use these tools to demonstrate compliance with energy codes or beyond-code programs.

The software's key components are:

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) - allows users to enter details about a proposed building's design
  • Ruleset - a computer-processable form of the building energy code
  • Compliance Manager - the core of CBECC. Uses the ruleset to assess whether the building complies with the energy code.
  • Connection to the U.S. Department of Energy's EnergyPlus Simulation Engine - performs energy simulations to compare proposed building energy consumption to the energy code "budget"
  • Report Generator - generates forms and other reports to summarize the building's compliance characteristics. Forms may be submitted for building permits, or as documentation for other programs.
  • Application Programming Interface (API) Documentation - The purpose of this document is to provide information needed to develop software interfaces to the CEC Compliance engine DLL(s).

CBECC-Com includes the Rulesets for California's 2013/2016/2019 Title 24 Energy Code. The Title 24 Ruleset represents the performance approach for compliance as described in the 2013/2016/2019 Nonresidential Alternative Calculation Method (NACM) Reference Manual. It also features an API to allow third party software developers to utilize the functionality of the CBECC-Com Compliance Manager.

Expertise Required: 

Users of CBECC-Com should have the following expertise:

  • Understanding of the Title 24 energy efficiency standards
  • Understanding of the energy modeling process
  • For models that use detailed 3-D geometry, experience using SketchUp with the OpenStudio plug-in is required to create the geometric model. Note that CBECC-Com also has a "simplified geometry" input that does not require SketchUp, but rather asks users to enter surface areas/orientations to define geometry.

In-person training courses are offered semi-regularly by the California utilities. The training syllabus and course materials are also available for free download here: http://bees.archenergy.com/faq.html

Audience: 

CBECC-Com is used by:

  • Energy Analysts
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Energy Code Regulators
  • Energy Policy Research Analysts
  • Utility Program Managers
  • Utility Program Implementers
Input: 

Inputs are provided through a graphical user interface (GUI). CBECC-Com has a basic GUI, or alternative GUIs from third-party vendors can be used. A list of approved third-party vendors is provided here: http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2016standards/2016_computer_prog_list.html.

The GUI generates an input text file using a data model based on the "Standards Data Dictionary" (SDD). The SDD input file has a file extension of .cibd (text file representation) or .xml (XML file representation). These inputs are designed to be representative of terminology and units that are consistent with the energy code, and information that is readily available from design drawings or manufacturer's published specifications.

When a compliance analysis is performed, the SDD input file is translated to both an OpenStudio model (OSM) and EnergyPlus input file (IDF). The IDF file is ultimately used to perform the energy simulation in EnergyPlus to generate the predicted energy performance of the building.

Output: 

CBECC-Com provides options for what output files are generated. Upon completion of an analysis, a pop-up results screen will display the performance of the proposed design compared to the code baseline (known as the "Standard Design" in California's Title 24) and will indicate if the building complies with the energy code requirmenets. Additionally, an output report called the NRCC-PRF-01 is created as a PDF form. This is the form used to demonstrate compliance and is part of a submittal to a building department during the building permitting process.

Users also have the option to generate various CSV reports that document the building inputs and outputs, EnergyPlys reports, and SQL output data.

Strengths: 
  • User inputs are based on real-world terminology rather than arcane energy modeling terminology
  • Full capabilities to perform code compliance with automated baseline generation including all of the complex "exceptions" in the code
  • Tight control of the analysis process to ensure that the results are valid by restricting the ability to tamper with inputs and outputs, and security protocols to ensure that output reports are fully representative of the analyzed building
Country: 
United States
Major Capabilities: 
Whole Building Energy Simulation
Energy Conservation Measures
Code Compliance
Ratings and Certificates
Solar and Photovoltaic Analysis
Building Type: 
Commercial
Multi Family
Keywords: 
EnergyPlus
OpenStudio
CBECC-Com
Language: 
English
Platform: 
Windows
Pricing: 
Free
Open Source
Help and Support: 
Free Email Support
Peer Support Forum
Last Software Update: 
18 September 2018
Last Entry Update: 
04 October 2018
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