Performance Modeling

Photo: Daderot. License: Public domain.


Thanks in part to green building programs like LEED, whole-building energy simulation has become more common. However, it’s not always doing its job.

When modeling is only used late in design, the modeling might have little value beyond keeping score. When using an iterative process of modeling early in design, results of modeling become feedback not only for the current project but also for future projects and design approaches.

Performance modeling is about more than energy. Other kinds of modeling commonly used for high-performing buildings include:

  • daylight simulation

  • hygrothermal modeling

  • thermal comfort modeling

  • climate modeling

There is no substitute, though, for understanding how your building works. These resources can help you learn how to integrate modeling strategies into your other processes.

  • True District-Scale Energy Modeling Is on Its Way

    News Brief

    If you thought doing an energy model on one building was hard, try a whole district. But NREL is going to make it easier. 

  • Go with the Flows: The Promise and Peril of Hygrothermal Modeling

    Feature Article

    Tools modeling heat and moisture flows in building envelopes, such as WUFI, offer vital information for architects and engineers-but their misuse can do harm.

  • Designing for the Next Century's Weather

    Feature Article

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  • Energy Modeling: Early and Often

    Feature Article

    For the biggest energy and cost savings, model early in design and model often, say the experts.

  • Doing Daylighting Right

    Feature Article

    Harvesting daylight is a popular way to save energy and promote productivity. But getting it wrong is all too easy-and can have the opposite effects.

  • Energy Modeling the ASHRAE 209 Way: Throughout Design and Beyond

    News Brief

    ASHRAE 209 guides users through design-phase energy modeling.

  • What’s the Secret to High Performance?

    News Analysis

    A new report identifies common habits of the firms that produce the best-designed and most sustainable projects. 

  • 2030 Culture: Six Selfish Reasons to Commit

    Feature Short

    2030 Commitment signatories are making progress on climate goals. Along the way, they’re also finding new ways to save time and money.

  • Dream Materials: What Do You Really Want to Build With?


    Innovations in product manufacturing are creating new options for designers at an ever-increasing pace. But are the new products and materials what we really want? Can we trust their claims?

  • Full-Blown Energy Modeling


    Like any tool, energy modeling needs to be wielded properly. Savvy designers know that different kinds of models are useful at different times. For example, if you use a calibrated energy model only at the end of the design process, you’re not only misusing this particular technique—you’re also missing out on the dollar and energy savings this type of modeling can provide. This one-hour webcast will show you how to save thousands of dollars in first costs and operational costs.