The U.S. Department of Energy has released updated versions of its popular EnergyPlus simulation software for modeling heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other building energy flows, as well as its OpenStudio plug-in for Google’s SketchUp program.

openstudio2Available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems, EnergyPlus 4.0 also includes two new application guides: “Energy Management System Application Guide” and “Using EnergyPlus for Compliance.”

The total number of downloads indicates the popularity of EnergyPlus’ software:

  • 22,000 downloads in 2008
  • Over 11,000 downloads since the previous version was released in April 2009
  • 100,000 downloads since the program was first released in April 2001

Version 4.0 has many new features as well as updated and extended capabilities throughout the existing building envelope, day-lighting, and equipment and systems portions of the program.

Key new features include:

  • Energy management system Large horizontal openings added to Natural Ventilation
  • Walk-in refrigeration and refrigeration secondary loop
  • Evaporative fluid cooler

There is no charge to install and use EnergyPlus. Download EnergyPlus 4.0. The next version is scheduled for release in April 2010.

Key new features in OpenStudio include updates for EnergyPlus 4.0, improved parsing and caching of input and output files, support for HVAC templates, and SQLite output option. As with EnergyPlus, there is no charge to install and use this plug-in. Download OpenStudio.

EnergyPlus is a resource of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Program. This stand-alone simulation software is just a part of DOE’s mission to help reach energy efficiency and renewable energy goals for the construction industry. For more information, visit the Building Technologies Program Web site.