Pivotal Energy Solutions, LLC, based in the Phoenix Arizona metropolitan area, has announced a new simulation solution targeting the residential new construction market. APEX, a simulation solution that utilizes the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergyPlus simulation engine and OpenStudio-ERI calculation platform, enables the simulation of residential energy model data to generate energy rating index (ERI) and consumption results. APEX results may be used for a variety of purposes including eligibility for 45L tax credits, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed security offerings, performance-based energy code compliance, sustainability/ESG reporting, and incentive calculation for utility incentive programs.
APEX offers unique functionality for energy raters and modelers, utilities and other energy efficiency program sponsors, home builders, code officials, and downstream stakeholders to both validate energy models against specific program requirements and simulate those models using standard program reference homes and/or custom, program-specific user defined reference homes (UDRH’s). APEX’s input validation functionality – which can be run independently from simulation – performs automated checks on the energy model input values to ensure they not only fall within prescribed bounds but are also internally consistent with other home characteristics and specified values. This functionality enables energy raters and modelers to identify and correct issues with their energy models prior to simulation or submission to energy efficiency program administrators.
APEX supports the simulation of energy models using the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergyPlus and OpenStudio-ERI simulation engine and calculation platform. The EnergyPlus/OpenStudio-ERI solution is an open-source offering from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), meaning that the source code of the software is accessible to anyone to read, examine, and critique – proprietary simulators do not support the same level of transparency. The EnergyPlus/OpenStudio-ERI platform provides consistent, accurate results for an industry under increasing scrutiny due to the availability of 45L federal tax credits for homes meeting specific ERI targets and conforming to federal energy efficiency program requirements.
APEX’s support for standard reference homes and custom user defined reference homes (UDRH’s) also enables unique flexibility within the industry. Using a single energy model, APEX can perform simulations using any number of program-specific reference homes or custom UDRH’s. For example, eligibility for ENERGY STAR, DOE Zero Energy Ready, performance-based energy code compliance, and utility program incentives can all be determined through a single submission to APEX. Energy efficiency program developers and sponsors can also use APEX to enforce program requirements using the APEX input validation and custom UDRH capability to define energy efficiency targets and incentives as their programs evolve. APEX supports energy consumption and ERI calculation for ENERGY STAR, DOE ZERH, and virtually any utility and/or municipality performance-based program.
Bob Burns, co-founder of Pivotal, said, “We’re very excited to be offering this new solution to the industry. APEX enables utilities, builders, code officials, and downstream markets that rely on the modeled performance of homes to utilize a single, DOE-funded, open-source simulation engine, which we believe is a huge benefit to multiple stakeholders. APEX can serve as a ‘normalization tool’ to enable energy raters and modelers to use whichever modeling software they prefer while also providing a single, standard set of results generated by re-simulation of the original input data with EnergyPlus.”
The APEX simulation solution is currently integrated into Pivotal’s AXIS cloud-based platform used for the administration of and participation in a variety of “green” and energy efficient buildings programs. In the near future, APEX simulation and analysis solutions will also be offered as stand-alone cloud-based solution accessible through an application programming interface, or API, for easy integration into existing utility program infrastructure and back office applications.
Burns concluded, “APEX is a very powerful solution being introduced at exactly the right time to meet the residential new construction industry’s needs and support our country’s push toward a more sustainable future. We’re excited that we can play a role in the evolution of the industry.”
For more information about APEX, AXIS or other Pivotal software offerings, please click here to contact us.