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Creating an Energy Model


When getting started with building performance analysis, one of the first steps is often to create a conceptual model of your building in Revit or FormIt. This conceptual model can easily be converted into an energy model, which can be analyzed in Insight, as well as to explore design strategies and alternatives for improving the building performance.

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

  • Create an in-place mass or open a conceptual mass family
  • Divide the conceptual mass into mass floors by floor levels
  • Set the Project Location
  • Set Energy Settings for a conceptual energy analysis
  • Create the energy model
  • Generate Insight for this model


This video shows the workflow for creating an energy model for analysis with Insight.   


Workflow Steps

Create an In-Place Mass

  • Open a new Revit project.
  • Go to the Massing & Site tab and open the In-Place Mass tool.
  • Enter a name for the mass.
  • Sketch a simple closed profile on Level 1.
  • Select the profile sketch and click the Create Form tool.
  • Select the top surface of the created form and drag it to about 45 feet tall.
  • Click Finish Mass.

If the building form has already been modeled as a conceptual mass family, you can open and use it.

Divide the conceptual mass into mass floors by floor levels

  • Open any elevation view.
  • Go to the Architecture tab and click the Level tool.
  • Drag to create an additional level above Level 2.
  • Repeat to create three levels with a spacing of 15 feet between each level.
  • You can quickly create multiple levels in many ways:
  • In the Level tool, choose the Pick Lines creation method with an offset of 15 feet.
  • Select an existing level, then use the Copy or Array tools to create multiple copies.
  • Open the default 3D view and select the mass.
  • Go to the Modify | Mass tab and click Mass Floors.
  • Select all the levels, then click OK.

Set the Project Location

  • Sign into A360 to have access to a list of weather stations for the specified project location.
  • Go the Analyze tab and open the Location tool.
  • Choose to Define Location by: Internet Mapping Service.
  • Enter an address, then click Search.
  • Select the project location.
  • Select the desired weather station from the weather station list.

By default, the closest weather station is selected as the project weather station. You can select one with the most similar conditions to the project location.

  • Click OK to apply settings

Set the Energy Settings for Conceptual Energy Analysis

  • Go to Analyze tab and open Energy Settings.
  • In the Energy Analytical Model section, use the default mode: Use Conceptual Masses and Building Elements.
It is recommended to use the Conceptual Masses and Building Elements mode for all cases because it includes more accurate thermal zoning capabilities and allows to use the building type to create the 2030 benchmark.  The Conceptual Masses mode does not provide the building type to define the 2030 benchmark.
Also, selecting the Conceptual Masses and Building Elements mode adds several useful views to your project– a 3D Energy Model view and schedule views showing the Analytical Spaces and Analytical Surfaces in the energy model.
  • In the Advanced: Other Options section, select the Building Type:
    • Click the Edit… button in the Other Options setting.
    • In the Building Data section, choose the building type for this model that matches your assumptions about the building usage and operating schedule.
  • Click OK twice to apply these settings.

Create the Energy Model

  • Go to the Analyze tab and click Create Energy Model.

If prompted, confirm that you want to Create the Energy Analytical Model.

The Create Energy Model button toggles between Create Energy Model and Delete Energy Model. If you change any Energy Settings after an Energy Model has been created, delete the current energy model and create a new one.

Generate Insight for this Model

  • Sign in to A360.
  • Save a local copy of your project before uploading it for analysis.
  • Go to the Analyze tab and click Generate.
    • If the energy model has not already been created, accept the prompt to create it now.
    • If the energy model already exists, choose whether to use the existing model or generate a new one.


Software Exercise:

For this exercise, you will use a conceptual mass model of the Audubon building to create an energy model in Revit.

Download Data Sets: Revit Model: Audubon_Energy Code Baseline.rvt

Note: The building orientation used in this exercise does not reflect the orientation that was used for the actual construction of Audubon. For this exercise, we are going to use a basic East-West orientation. In reality, the Audubon Center is oriented ESE-WNW.
Follow the steps outlined below:
  1. Open the model “Audubon_Energy Code Baseline.rvt” in Revit (2017 or above)
  2. On the ‘Manage’ tab, select the Location tool from the ‘Project Location’ group
  3. Select ‘Internet Mapping Service’ in ‘Define Location by:’
    • (note that you need to be connected to the internet and logged on to access data. If you don’t see a map with a list of Weather Stations, you are not connected to the service.)
  4. Enter ‘Columbus, Ohio’ for the address, and select weather station ‘42407’.
  5. (optional) Check the ‘Energy Settings’ for proper default values (the following are used in the Quiz results):
    • Mode: Use Conceptual Masses and Building Elements
    • Perimeter Zone Depth: 15’ 0”
    • Other Options: Target Percentage Glazing: 0% (other options will be analyzed by Insight)
    • Other Options: Building Type: Museum (defines default schedule, lighting/plug loads, HVAC)
    • Other Options: Building Operating Schedule: Default
    • Other Options: HVAC System: Central VAV, HW Hear, Chiller 5.96
  6. On the ‘Analyze’ tab, select ‘Generate’ to create the energy model and generate results. Choose the option to ‘Update Energy Analytical Model’
  7. (optional) You can view the ‘Energy Analytical Model’ by selecting the ‘3D Energy Model’ from the 3D views in the Project Browser.