BEM practitioner's role

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BEM practitioners can come from a range of backgrounds and work for a variety of organizations.

Job tasks

  • Work with the team to determine analysis objectives, alternatives to be evaluated
  • Develop an analysis approach and QA process
  • Gather inputs
  • Build models
  • Run simulations of alternatives
  • QC results
  • Evaluate results for insights
  • Develop effective presentation of results to answer questions
  • Help the project meet energy goals, review plans, inform team members of their roles in energy performance
  • And repeat…

Interaction with the design team

The energy modeler may be a member of the design firm, or a specialty consultant. Some modelers play dual roles where they are involved in both the design and modeling activities. (Source: IBPSA-USA BEM Workshop)
Ideal scenario where BEM practitioner is coordinating with all design team members and decision makers. (Source: IBPSA-USA BEM Workshop)

For a new building project, the energy modeler might be sitting in a number of different places. They may be part of the architecture team, the HVAC design team, or a specialty consultant.

From a conceptual point of view, in the ideal case the modeler is occupying a place at the center of the web of information exchange between all of the project design team members.

The BEM practitioner can be very effective in assisting with design decisions for a number of reasons:

  • Have a big-picture view of building performance
  • Look at the building as a system
  • Learn how systems interact
  • Coordinate between design team members
  • Explain the effect of design changes
  • Play a central role in low-carbon design

Educational backgrounds

  • Architectural engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Other engineering
  • Architecture
  • Physics
  • Environmental science
  • Computer science
  • Other sciences

Types of organizations that employ BEM practitioners

  • Architecture
  • HVAC design
  • Energy consulting
  • Energy service companies
  • Energy performance contracting (ESCOs)
  • Policy consulting
  • Utility
  • Government
  • Contracting
  • Research
  • Software development
  • Education

Job title examples

  • Building Performance Consultant
  • Building Performance Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Energy Engineer
  • Energy analyst
  • Energy consultant
  • Sustainable Designer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Building Analyst
  • Sustainability Coordinator
  • Architectural Manager of Energy & Sustainability
  • High Performance Building Consultant
  • Director of Sustainability
  • Mechanical Project Engineer
  • Architecture Manager of Energy Services
  • Design Performance Leader
  • Building Energy Consultant
  • Mechanical Design Engineer
  • HVAC Mechanical
  • Engineer/Designer

Software tools used for BEM

Some of the more commonly-used software tools are listed below, but for a full listing, refer to the Building Energy Software Tools directory.

Whole-building simulation tools

  • EnergyPlus
  • eQuest (DOE 2.2, DOE2.3)
  • Trane TRACE 3D
  • Carrier HAP
  • TAS
  • IES (Apache)
  • Bentley (Open Buildings Designer Energy Simulator)
  • Autodesk insight 360
  • Simergy

Useful support tools

  • Window/Therm/Optics
  • ASHRAE Comfort Tool
  • Climate Consultant
  • Clima
  • Elements
  • DView
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