Simulations Without Experts: ECOnirman – a Whole Building Code Compliance Tool for India

Prasad Vaidya, John Melchert, Vinay S. Ghatti, Aalok Deshmukh, Usaid-Eco-Iii, Sanyogita Manu, Sanjay Seth, G. Shankar, Shabnam Bassi | 2012


The ECOnirman Whole Building Performance tool was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Energy Conservation and Commercialization Project – Phase-III (ECO-III). This tool is the first of its kind, an online simulation-based code compliance tool, made available through the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. It eliminates or minimizes the requirements for special software, building science or simulation expertise. It assists developers and building designers in demonstrating performance-based compliance with the Energy Conservation Building Code. With a minimal learning curve, a user with knowledge equivalent to that of a final-year architecture student, having access to about one hour of an HVAC engineer’s time, can use the tool to demonstrate compliance with ECBC. The tool runs energy simulations in the cloud using parallel computing, and DOE-2 as the simulation engine. A total of 1,294 city locations in India are currently supported. ECOnirman WBP shows great promise for the future in India: it enables developers to meet code by installing only those measures that benefit their building; it promotes innovation in design and technologies; with validation of inputs, it enables a large user base to do energy simulations and results in true capacity building; and the database of inputs and results enables easier policy analysis.