Building Energy Software Tools
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National Energy Audit Tool (NEAT)

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The National Energy Audit Tool (NEAT) is one of two energy audits provided under the Weatherization Assistant umbrella. The Weatherization Assistant is a user-friendly, advanced energy audit software tool developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Designed for use specifically within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program, it is also used by utility and other programs and home energy professionals to identify cost-effective energy conservations measures for homes.

The Weatherization Assistant is a Windows-based software program. It serves as the umbrella program for NEAT for site-built single-family houses (also useable on small multifamily homes) and the Manufactured Home Energy Audit (MHEA) for mobile homes (MHEA was originally developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is now supported and maintained by ORNL). Both audits analyze the applicability and cost effectiveness (i.e., savings-to-investment ratio or SIR) of over 45 envelope, equipment, and baseload weatherization measures. The audits use a variable-based degree-day method and take into account local weather conditions, retrofit measure costs, fuel costs, specific construction details of the home, and the interaction in energy savings between measures when multiple measures are installed as a package. Utility bills can be entered to calibrate the house model and adjust the savings estimates. In addition, the Weatherization Assistant provides expanded optional capabilities that are useful in implementing and administering weatherization programs related to agency-related contact information, client data intake, health and safety issues, diagnostic measurements, work orders, status tracking, simplified cost accounting, inventory control, report generation, site mapping, and digital photo storage.

Expertise Required: 

Basic familiarity with house construction, heating and cooling equipment, home energy auditing, and building science. Medium level of computer expertise required.

Audience: 

State Weatherization Assistance Programs and their local subgrantees. Utility companies. Residential energy professionals and auditors. Energy consultants and analysts.

Input: 

House specific information related to the basic construction and energy features of the envelope, installed equipment, etc. is entered for each audited house by an auditor using graphical user interface data input screens. During initial program setup, local retrofit measure costs, utility costs, and other parameters are entered by the user.

Output: 

A list of recommended retrofit measures ranked by SIR is provided, along with associated energy savings, cost savings, and installed cost for each recommended measure. A cumulative savings and SIR (i.e., a total savings and SIR for the recommended package of measures) is also provided, as well as a listing of major materials required to install the recommended measures. Pre- and post-retrofit heating and cooling energy consumption estimates and equipment loads are identified, and individual component contributions and total peak load estimates are available for equipment sizing. If requested, a comparison of program predictions against actual billing data is available, with the option to adjust measure predictions to reflect the billing data. Other reports include a listing of all data inputs for a requested house, a detailed work order for a home (if the work order option is implemented), and summaries of completed jobs.

Strengths: 

The Weatherization Assistant (NEAT and MHEA) is specifically designed to be a home energy auditing tool. With minimal inputs, it is designed to be an easy to use and quick method to produce a list of recommended energy efficiency improvements specific to each home audited. Both input and output data are stored in a Microsoft Access database format that can be retrieved and processed using other software if desired.

Country: 
United States
Major Capabilities: 
Whole-building Energy Simulation
Energy Conservation Measures
Building Energy Auditing
Language: 
English
Platform: 
Windows
Pricing: 
Free
Last Software Update: 
10 February 2012
Last Entry Update: 
30 October 2015
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