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Fall 2022 Activities

Updated each Spring and Fall

Group 1: Creating a Streamlined BEM Process

The spring’s Complexity of Compliance webinar series brought two problem statements into focus for Working Group 1:

  1. Getting involved in the development and review process could be easier, and what is done with stakeholder input, and the implications of those changes, could be more transparent.
  2. On certain projects, practitioners can feel shoehorned into a compliance path instead of choosing it based on the balance of complexity and flexibility they want.

The Co-Chairs of this group are lining up speakers and discussions for breakout sessions at CalBEM 2022 in November to identify next steps on these issues. You can view presentations from earlier WG1 Complexity of Compliance webinars here, which get everyone up to speed on the code development and adoption processes and describe current code compliance infrastructure, considerations, and popular streamlining options.

Additionally, there are two new topics in the early stages of development. First, the Co-Chairs are meeting with the relevant CEC staff to learn more about the context and boundaries that would be relevant to any proposed centralized Title 24 review resources. Second, a submitted proposal has entered the review process, aiming to produce case studies comparing the workflows and rulesets of Title 24 ACM and ASHRAE 90.1 PRM as they would apply to real design projects.

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. Building definitions for this set of new, unified prototypes have been drafted and are currently being refined by the TAG group.

Group 2: Developing BEM Education and Resources

A huge thank-you to those who submitted feedback on the prioritized projects from this group! As a result, this group is moving forward with the following projects:

  • A project proposal has been submitted based on the findings of the Recommendations for BEM Education in California report, designing a “community of practice” among educators across the state to enable educators to better include BEM in their curriculum. This proposal has entered the review process.
  • A draft whitepaper expanding BEM roles is under development by Erik Kolderup.
  • An idea to provide a platform to share quality assurance & quality control (QA/QC) processes is in the early stages of development. Please reach out to info@calbem.org if you are interested in getting involved.

Bonus: Materials from the Recommendations for BEM Education in California report have made their way to serve as a resource on these new BEMcyclopedia pages (in beta)! Many thanks to Dimitri Contoyannis for making this happen.

Group 3: Advancing BEM Capabilities and Metrics

At this group’s meeting on September 1st, three topics of interest were fielded as top priorities for the group in November: New hydronic heat pump functionality in the ACM, the development of the new ASHRAE 205 Standard (Representation of Performance Simulation Data for HVAC&R and other Facility Equipment) and identifying new components needing addition to the current Title 24 performance compliance pathway. Folks also expressed interest in discussing the need for additional clarity in the 2022 AMC’s MF baseline assumptions.

The Co-Chairs are following up on a submission to the Software Efficiency Intake ideas form, with the intent of taking the items to the Title 24 CASE team.

If you haven’t done so yet: CalBEM 2022 registration is open for physical or digital attendance. You can register here!

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.


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, and software application interoperability.

Co-Chairs: Supriya Goel (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Neal Kruis (Big Ladder Software)

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 Brian Selby (Selby Energy)

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 Capabilities, Accuracy, & Metrics

Group 3 focuses on increasing the accuracy of software and advancing capabilities to address evolving policy objectives in the short-term and long-term. Sub-topics reflect immediate technical challenges for software and the need to identify short and long term solutions to address them.

Co-chairs: Neil Bulger (Red Car Analytics) and Haile Bucaneg (California Energy Commission)

Key Sub-topics:

    1. Advancing Metrics – Status on the future of carbon metrics and other metrics being developed, including T24-TDV and other carbon accounting.
    2. All-Electric Buildings and Technology Gaps – With more projects aiming to reduce carbon emissions and state long term goals energy modeling simulation tools must be able to represent the technologies being used in all electric buildings today. What technologies and capabilities are most important to this effort
    3. Developing Interim Calculation Methods for Key Technologies – Alternative calculations and methods for code compliance in CA require a technical submission and public engagement process. As a process is determined for ways to engage with the CEC, what information can be gathered for key technology gaps today to provide specifications, supporting documentation such as new physics-based models, laboratory testing, and field installation verifications.

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.

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.