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The increasing world-wide emphasis on net zero (NZ) or low-energy communities (LECs) has brought with it a concomitant requirement for high quality technical analysis and optimization to support planners. The authors' experience in energy planning for military installations has identified bestpractice processes as well as common analysis tasks performed byLECplanners. Requirements for data collection, modeling, optimization, and organization of inputs and results are significant, leading to higher cost, long study times, and limits on the number of alternative scenarios that can feasibly be considered. In addition, changes in data or scope can lead to considerable rework, leading to further delay and potential for the introduction of errors. This paper describes a computational framework and reference implementation for LEC analysis and optimization designed to automate many of the repetitive and time-consuming organizational, modeling, and optimization tasks involved in LEC planning. The framework incorporates whole building simulation, community-wide optimization of distribution and supply, geospatial data, and an overall approach to data organization that permits implementers to use their choice of modeling software. A reference implementation of the framework, the NZ planner was developed and tested at four Department of Defense installations. Results show decreased time to set up studies and to conduct simulations and optimization. This paper provides examples and discusses trade-offs between process steps that should be automated and those that are more appropriate for human judgment and experience.

Citation: ASHRAE Transactions - Volume 120, Part 1, New York, NY