Running your first simulation

This chapter aims to give a quick glimpse on the steps needed to conduct a quick and successful simulation.


Main simulation steps

To create a successful simulation using the CEA, keep the following steps in mind, it is necessary to get familiar with them in the first phase of using the tool:

  1. Running the "Radiation" component.
  2. Analysis:
  • Data helper
  • Demand
  • Embodied Energy
  • Emissions Operation
  • Emissions Mobility

     3. Visualisation and data plots:

  • Demand Graphs
  • Heat Maps
  • Benchmark Graphs
  • Scenario Plots

In the following chapters, we will show more complex cases, where we will be able to use all the features of this version of the software.

Radiation

If this is the first time you run a simulation, the first step in running the CEA Toolbox simulations would be to calculate the solar irradiation for the simulation model. You will also need to run the radiation calculation in the following cases:

  • Changing Geometries.
  • Changing weather files.

For this example, we will calculate the solar irradiation for the city of Zurich. The simulation model used here contains an area in the city center called Hochschulquartier.

  • First, double-click on Radiation in the toolset. As follows:
  • The following window should appear:
  • Click on the Folder icon, and choose the path to the main scenario. In this case, you would choose (only one click) the baseline folder > Then you can choose a weather file from the drop-down menu > Choose the year > Make sure the latitude and longitude are the same as the ones in the weather file. After filling in all the blanks, you should have something similar to the following:
  • Click OK.
  • This operation takes a while. After a successful run, you should see the following window:

Data Helper

Based on the acquired data (e.g. buildings age, occupancy, etc.), the “Data helper” function helps match buildings with the statistical archetypes stored in the tool database and generate the building’s energy-related properties. In order to use this function:

  • Double-click on "Data helper" in the toolset, the following window will appear:
 
  • Click on the Folder icon, and choose the path to the main scenario. In this case, you would choose (only one click) the baseline folder, as follows:
  • Make sure the path to the scenario is correct, in this case it's C:\reference-case\baseline
  • Click OK, the "Data helper" will take a few seconds to make the necessary calculations. After a successfull calculation, you should get the following window:
  • If you go now to the input folder, and check "building-properties", you will notice the addition of a number of extra shape files, as follows:

Demand forecast

  • Double-click on "Demand" in the toolset, the following window will appear:
  • As in the `Data helper`, select the scenario path (one click), and make sure the path name is also correct.

  • In the drop down-menu below the `scenario path`, users are able to choose the weather file (in .epw format). For this specific simulation, we will use the Zurich weather file. The radiation file for this scenario has already been prepared.

  • Click OK. After a successful calculation run for the sample file (in this case,the Hochschulquartier in the city center of Zurich), the following window should appear:

The simulation time varies, in this case it took 23 minutes. However, with an eight core PC, the running time could take up to two minutes only.

  • To check the data results of each building or the entire complex, refer to the scenario folder (in this case, called `baseline`) > outputs > data > demand, as seen in the following image:

If you scroll down, you can find a `.csv` file with the total demand of all the buildings in the study zone, as follows:


Buildings life-cycle

Embodied energy and emissions

  • Double-click on "Embodied Energy" in the toolset, As follows:

The following window will appear:

  • Select the year which you would like to calculate the embodied energy at, for the sake of this exercise we chose the year 2015. Then as in the previous steps, select the scenario path (one click), and make sure the path name is also correct.
  • Click "OK" and the simulation will start.
  • You should find the output file in the following destination:

Building operation: Primary energy and emissions

  • Double-click on "Emissions operation" in the toolset, As follows:
  • As in the previous steps, select the scenario path (one click), and make sure the path name is also correct.
  • For this case, we will check all the options below to create separate result files as well as the total. Click "OK" and the simulation will start.
  • You should find the output file in the following destination:

Mobility: Primary energy and emissions

  • Double-click on "Emissions Mobility" in the toolset, as follows:

The following window will appear:

  • As in the previous steps, select the scenario path (one click), and make sure the path name is also correct.
  • Click "OK" and the simulation will start.
  • You should find the output file in the following destination: