Visualizing Results

This chapter introduces users to a number of options to visualize their results, whether using built-in features from the CEA Toolbox, or using ArcScene-aided features.

In this topic:

CEA built-in graphs

Demand graphs

This section will show how users can create time-series graphs based on the demand calculations within the CEA simulations. To create these graphs, follow these steps:

  • Double click on “Demand graphs” in the toolset:
  • The following window will appear:
  • Select the path to scenario, in this example case C:\reference-case-zurich\baseline:
  • Tick the variable(s) to analyze. Make sure not to choose more than 4 variables, otherwise, an error will occur. In this example, the variables chosen are the heating and cooling demand:
  • Click “Ok”:
  • The tool will create the graphs and store the results. You may find the results under the folder “\baseline\outputs\plots\timeseries”:
  • If you go to the folder location, you should find the results for each building, as follows:

Box Plots

  • Double Click on Scenario Plots in the toolset:
  • The following window will appear:
  • Select the folder main path, then repeat the process to add more variables for comparison.
  • Finally, define the path where you would like to have the output PDF file, and click OK. The following window will appear:
  • When opening the output PDF file, you can see the comparison between the cases in terms of the total heating, cooling and electricity demand, as well as the primary energy and ghg emissions due to operation or embodied energy, as follows:

Benchmark graphs

  • Double click on Benchmark graphs in the toolset:
  • The following window will appear:
  • Select a scenario folder main path, then click on the + sign to add it to the list.
  • Repeat this process if you wish to add more scenarios for comparison. However, it is recommended not to add more than 3 scenarios, in order to be able to analyze and compare them easily.
  • Finally, define the path where you would like to have the output PDF file, and click OK.
  • A similar window to the following should appear (in this case we added two cases to compare):
  • Click OK. The following window should appear:
  • When opening the output PDF file in the location you specified previously, you can see the comparison between the cases in relation to the 2000 Watt society benchmark. The comparison includes the embodied, operation, mobility and total primary energy and ghg emissions, as follows:

ArcScene-aided visualizations


  • Double click on Heatmap in the toolset:
  • The following window will appear:
  • In this example, the path to the main simulation folder was added in the Path to the scenario section (similar to previous steps). Then, under Choose the file to analyze, the total demand .csv file has been selected (refer to the Demand chapter, under the Running your first simulation section).
  • After this step, you will be able to choose what type of information to show on the heatmaps. You are allowed to analyze a maximum of 4 cases each time. For the sake of simplicity, we will run the analysis for the final heating demand (which includes space and water heating) QHf_MWhyr.
  • After choosing the desired analysis, click OK. The following window should appear:
  • After a successful completion, you should see the following:
  • Click OK. You will be able to see the result in the catalog panel in the following location:
  • Drag and drop the qhf_mwhyr from the catalog panel and drop it in the canvas. The following raster image should appear:
  • The next few steps will all revolve around manipulating the results visualization using some ArcScene built-in techniques. In order to do so, double-click on the qhf_mwhyr layer in the Table of Contents panel on ArcScnene.
  • After double-clicking the aforementioned lyer, the following window should appear:
  • Click on the Symbology tab, and choose Classified from the Show list on the left hand side of the window.
  • In order to change the color scheme of the raster image, click on the grey-scale gradient tab (the one with the drop-down list) located under the Color Ramp title. Then choose your preferred color scheme. Try to choose one that represents the resulting analysis. In this case, we chose a red-gradient color scheme.
  • After clicking OK, the result may appear as follows:

3D mapping

This section will showcase a method of visualizing demand in 3D using ArcScene. This is particularly helpful when showing the demand results to decision makers, clients, or non-experts in the field of urban energy simulation.

  • First, drag and drop zone.shp into the canvas. You will find it in the Catalog panel, in the following location:
  • A similar screen to the following should appear:
  • From the Table of Contents panel, double click on the zone layer. This will open the Layer properties window.

Extrude geometries evenly

  • Tick on the first checkbox that starts with Extrude features in layer., then add a value (in meters). This will extrude all the shapes in the zone layer to the same value. In this example, we used 20m.
  • The following change should appear:

Extrude geometries according to the listed buildings height values

  • If you wish to extrude the shape files according to their real heights (above ground) in the CEA Toolbox. Then instead of entering a fixed value of 20 in the empty box. Click on the calculator icon on the right hand of that box. The following window should open:
  • Choose height_ag, which means buildings height above ground. Click OK. You should have a change similar to the following:

Extrude geometries according to demand/consumption values

  • In order to relate consumption/demand values to the extrusion values, double-click again on the zone layer in the Table of Contents panel. Then click on the Join & Relates tab.
  • The following window should appear:
  • Similar to the following image. Choose Name in the first drop-down menu. Then choose the Total_demand.csv from the second drop-down menu (if you cannot find it, you should locate the file from the output folder. Refer to the Demand chapter, under the Running your first simulation section).

  • [This means that you will join the total demand results (after you've completer one full simulation run) to the data existing in the zone.shpshape file layer (which contains data on the geometry of the buildings in the simulation model), using the name of the buildings as the common denominator in the data table. This allows the user to use the results data as extrusion values to the geometries of this shape file].

  • The following window should appear:
  • Choose the Extrusion tab again, and click on the calculator icon on the right-hand of the Extrusion value or expression empty box. You will notice that the list under the Fields section increased, and now it contains all the values in the Total_demand.csv file. In this example, we will choose the space heating results to project on the 3D model. To do so, choose the title Total_demand.csv.Qhsf_MWhyr. The Qhsf stands for final space heating demand. You will instantly notice that this value was added to the Expression section below as [Total_demand.csv.Qhsf_MWhyr]. However, you will notice that we added a /20 to the demand type as in the following:
  • This basically reduces the extrusion heights, in order to have visually acceptable comparable results. This of course depends on the preference of the user. After clicking OK, a similar window to the following should appear:

Choosing different color palettes

  • If you wish to change the color legend, go back to the Layer Properties window, then click on the Symbology tab. Then, under the Fields section, choose Qhsf_MWhyr from the Value drop-down menu. Finally, choose your preferred color palette from the Color Ramp drop-down menu, as follows:
  • You should have a result similar to the following:
  • In order to change the legend values. From the Symbology tab, you should find a Classification section on the right-hand side of the window. From the Classes drop-down menu, you can choose the preferred legend segments, in this example. we chose 10. Then if you click on the Classify button, the following window will appear:
  • Notice the Classification Method in the top part of the window.

  • Under the Break Values section, you will find the legend values. Click on each of the values, and change them according to your preference. Note that if the number did not change to your desired value, it might be due to the fact that the following value is less than the one specified, while in a normal situation, it should be larger. In this example, we changed the legend values as follows:

  • Notice that the Classification Method in the top part of the window has changed.

  • In the Table of Contents, the new legend should look similar to the following: