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This paper is the first two that report on the results ofASHRAE Research Project RP-1468. This paper presents anoverview of the project and the three volumes of documentationincluded in the final report (Clayton et al. 2013). The purposeof the project was to produce reference models and guidelinesfor developing software to automate thermal model creationfromabuilding informationmodelintoabuilding energy simulation(BES) for energy simulations. This paper describes themethods of the research and presents highlights of the guidelines.The variety of uses for energy simulation in the buildingdesign process leads to a differentiation of several differentkinds of thermal models that may be extracted from a BIM. ASeries 2, Level 1 model that addresses whole-building energyuse at schematic stages of design is developed into a set ofguidelines. A recommendation is to use the centerlines ofenclosure elements to determine areas of thermal surfaces.Various recommendations are made for resolving curvedsurfaces, shading elements, and site elements. The guidelinesare supported by detailed sensitivity studies and analysis,presented in the final report (Clayton et al. 2013). The investigationsled to identification of future work to improve energysimulation tools and BIM tools.