New to CalBEM’s Working Groups? Explore some quick context or join a group.

What are Working Groups?

A Working Group is a team of CalBEM participants dedicated to furthering one of CalBEM’s core goals. During CalBEM events they discuss potential solutions (imagined or inspired by solutions seen in other jurisdictions) to issues identified in the sub-topics explained below. In-between CalBEM events, they work to finalize and execute on projects inspired by these events.

Each Working Group has two designated co-chairs selected based on their experience and involvement related to the Working Group sub-topics. Prior to each event, these individuals work with the host (SCE) and facilitators (2050 Partners and Red Car Analytics) to structure the Working Group breakout sessions (e.g., sub-agenda, presentations, handouts, activities, etc.).

The Working Group sub-topics were chosen with the following criteria in mind:

  • Responsive to feedback from BEM stakeholders,
  • Addresses issues that are not being addressed in another forum, or adds value to an existing process but is not duplicative, and
  • Focuses on issues for which the Working Groups can reasonably develop useful draft Action Plans within a two-day event.

The Working Groups are organized around three core CalBEM goals:

Creating a Streamlined Process for Building Simulation

 

This group focuses on opportunities to streamline compliance processes through software enhancements, new innovative methods in validation or types of performance compliance, compliance metrics, and software application interoperability.

Co-Chairs: Supriya Goel (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Neal Kruis (Big Ladder Software), and Dimitri Contoyannis (Model Efficiency)

Key Sub-topics:

    1. Future of Public and Private Code Compliance Software – What strategies could CA explore to expand compliance software to be more accessible, easier to use, and easier to develop by the market? Shaping a Ruleset Validation Standard is one example related to the idea of moving regulatory bodies out of the role of creating software and yet maintaining a level of control and calculation quality.
    2. National Alignment – What efforts are being undertaken by national code agencies or green building rating groups to streamline energy modeling compliance and new performance pathways for users? What alternate strategies should CA agencies for codes, programs, or local incentives consider which may be currently implemented or being piloted elsewhere?
    3. Software Interoperability and New Developments – With energy modeling tools improving and expanding to now include whole eco-systems of software, what needs exist for interoperability? Where the need exists today for multiple models, how could interoperability be enhanced to streamline or change the current dilemma of non-interoperability?

Educating BEM Users and Developing Resources

 

Group 2 focuses on enhancing resources for the energy modeling community of technical users and agencies, including enhancing shared resources, developing robust methods and documentation for compliance with codes, incentives, and state programs, and prioritizing the most educational items.

Co-chairs: Erik Kolderup (Kolderup Consulting) and Nick Brown (Build Smart Group)

Key Sub-topics:

    1. Creating a Robust Reporting Process – In both code compliance and in green building standards, review of results and documentation of calculations is necessary. What best practices exist for enhancing compliance of models that are created, such as peer review and automated checks of modeling files? For documentation itself, where could enhancements or simplifications be made in state documents for codes and program administrators’ documents for incentives and where are examples for such available in the industry, be it states or through private rating systems such as LEED?
    2. Educating a Larger Workforce & Advancing Skills – As energy modeling and software inform more elements of the built environment, what ways can the BEM community further attract talent and teach the necessary skills to support this expanding scope? What gaps exist today? What are the priorities for enhancing workforce education? What educational resources could be developed to enhance the general knowledge for properly modeling in specific software or in general?

Advancing BEM Simulation Usability, Accuracy, & Capabilities

 

CalBEM Group 3 focuses on increasing the usability, accuracy, and capabilities of California building energy modeling documentation, software, and technologies. Topic areas include energy modeling software for Title 24, Part 6 and for statewide programs. Efforts focus on short-term enhancements, encompassing the current or near-term energy code software, or long-term over the upcoming one to two code cycles.  

Co-chairs: Neil Bulger (A2 Efficiency), Haile Bucaneg (California Energy Commission), and Michael Sawford (A2 Efficiency)

Key Sub-topics:

  1. Advancing Software Usability and Accuracy – Through assessment and testing of Title 24 code, modeling methods, and new software updates impacting the current and next one to two code cycles. 
  2. Advancing Methods and Capabilities of Compliance and Program Software in the Market – through enhancing interactions between programs and compliance, improving efficiency measures that are allowed in compliance software to streamline the use in incentive programs (reduce workarounds for clean compliance documentation). 
  3. Advancing the Usability of Documentation and Rulesets – Through assessment and review of the Title 24 reference manuals align documentation with original intent improving usefulness to practitioners and software developers. What adjustments should be made to improve the usability of existing documentation and technical educational materials?  

 

Interested in joining any of these Working Group meetings? CalBEM participants can view the live schedule and copy events to your own calendar. Note that if you haven’t directly received email notifications for these meetings, it means you aren’t signed up to receive updates for the Working Group. You can still join any meeting you are interested in from the calendar, but you’ll only be notified when events are added to your Working Group if you are signed up below.

Want to delve deeper? Check out past updates and public meeting notes. Notes from recent Working Group meetings can be viewed by CalBEM participants in the CalBEM Collaborative Efforts Notebook. If you are an active CalBEM participant and do not have access to these notes, please email Carrie Hillen (carriehillen@2050partners.com) for access.

Just want occasional updates and news? You can also sign up for general interest emails here.

What are Action Plans?

During CalBEM events, the Working Groups prioritize sub-topics and then refine and develop problem statements, goals, and actions for the prioritized sub-topics. These materials form the backbone of robust Action Plans.

The Action Plan structure is organized around the problem statements. Each problem statement will have one or more actions to be taken that create movement towards resolution of the stated problem. Each action includes priority, status, lead stakeholders, other stakeholders, key barriers, schedules and notes.

* Working Group participants can email info@calbem.org to gain access.

Meetings and Webinars

After the completion of the annual CalBEM event, the Working Groups develop projects based on the issues identified in the Action Plans and continue to support a developed and functional building energy modeling ecosystem in California. Visit the CalBEM events calendar here.


Fall 2O23 Activities

Updated each Spring and Fall

10/5/2023

Group 1: Creating a Streamlined BEM Process

Working Group 1’s summer was focused on Building Performance Standards (BPS) and BEM. The Group 1 Co-Chairs hosted Andrea Mengual, PNNL, and Joshua Kace, LBNL, who provided two informative presentations, followed by a Q&A. Andrea presented an overview of BPS and how it relates to energy modeling, including which jurisdictions have adopted it so far, and how to get started with BPS. Joshua provided example BPS policies, approaches to setting targets, shared tools, and a specific example in the State of Maryland. Attendees provided feedback that Group 1 should continue discussions and education around BPS, this will likely be a topic at the Symposium and future meetings. If you have missed recent meetings, notes and slides can be found in the CalBEM Collaborative Efforts SharePoint here.*

The Prototype Unification Technical Advisory Group led by Bryan Boyce (Energy Solutions) continues to meet, advancing its goal to develop a single set of prototypes for use by all California state agencies and other public research/policy purposes.

The “PRM Case Studies by Practitioners” project discussed by the group last year, led by Greg Collins and Panos Bakos, was approved by the Committee in October 2022. They plan to kick-off the project this fall.

To attend future Group 2 meetings, or keep in the loop in real-time, sign up for the WG1 mailing list.

Group 2: Developing BEM Education and Resources

On August 2nd, Working Group 2 held a BEM Practitioner Panel where three experts shared their workflows, best practices, and the challenges they face. The panelists included Kevin Gilleran with Gilleran Energy Management, Liu Liu with Atelier Ten, and Tim Kohut with National CORE. The presentations and Q&A session provided valuable information to attendees on how all-electric buildings are complying today, modeling gaps, educational gaps from engineering and design teams, and IES-VE workflows. The Co-Chairs plan to bring the meeting takeaways to the symposium and future group meetings. If you have missed recent meetings, notes and slides can be found in the CalBEM Collaborative Efforts SharePoint here.*

To attend future Group 2 meetings, or keep in the loop in real-time, sign up for the WG2 mailing list.

Group 3: Advancing BEM Capabilities and Metrics

Working Group 3 Co-Chairs held a Summer Meeting on August 29th, which reviewed and discussed 2025 CASE measures with impacts to the CA compliance model. They reviewed     Multifamily Domestic Hot Water, MF Restructuring, and NR HVAC Space Heating. The team received valuable feedback from attendees and CASE Measure leads who attended the meeting. If you have missed recent meetings, notes and slides can be found in the CalBEM Collaborative Efforts SharePoint here.*

The Alternative Calculation Methods (ACM) Manual Enhancement project, approved by the Steering Committee in July 2023, kicked off in September, under the leadership of Elizabeth McCollum (TRC). We are looking forward to hearing how this project is going at CalBEM 2023’s WG3 breakout sessions.

To attend future Group 2 meetings, or keep in the loop in real-time, sign up for the WG3 mailing list.