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BEopt, Quick & Free Energy Modeling Software From DOE

BEopt is an energy modeling software that measures the expected annual energy consumption for any type of home design, and it is also an optimization software that finds the least expensive way to build the envelope of a net-zero energy home. The program has a list of user- adjustable construction cost statistics. This characteristic enables BEopt to verify (i.e) whether a house with 3-inch-thick foam sheathing, 2×6 walls, and triple-glazed windows will cost more or less than a house with 10-inch-thick double-stud walls and double-glazed windows. It will also conclude which of these selections will execute a better result.

BEopt guides designers of zero-energy homes how to have a better envelope specifications, and allows them identify the right place to quit making envelope enhancements. Nevertheless, incorporating energy-efficiency calculations in a new home cuts down the overall cost to the homeowner for the mortgage payments and utilities as opposed to the code-minimum house up to a level. Energy costs become less, as more enhancements are taken into account in the design, until a point is attained that is optimal from a cost standpoint. The designer may be capable to attain additional energy savings, but the monthly cost to the homeowner for utilities and the mortgage starts to go up beyond this optimal point.

Once envelope enhancements start costing more than a photovoltaic (PV) array, they turn into a not so successful investment. Most homeowners would not like to pay $3,000 for additional insulation if the investment yields inferior annual savings than a $3,000 PV structure. BEopt assists designers to get to the lowest-cost envelope for a zero-energy house by finding the point at which envelope enhancements stop making sense.

BEopt can still be valuable even if one isn’t concerned in including a PV structure. After all, it always logical to design a house with the lowest arrangement of utility bills and mortgage payments even if it isn’t a zero-energy house.

If you believe that energy prices are expected to go up precipitously in the future, you can input your suppositions about energy price inflation into BEopt. It’s likely to enter different rates of inflation for four different categories of fuel: electricity, natural gas, propane, and fuel oil. Designers who believe energy prices will go up precipitously will be designing homes with additional insulation than designers who believe that energy prices will stay stable.

BEopt has three input displays: site, geometry and options and one output display. On the geometry display, user puts in information on the form of the house and its orientation. It’s also likely to specify the position of neighboring homes that can influence shading. On the options display, the user enters the wall specifications, the glazing specifications, the HVAC system specifications, the appliance specifications, the ceiling insulation type and thickness and some other similar inputs. On the site screen, the user inputs the physical location of the house, the mortgage interval, the mortgage interest rate, local fuel costs, the assumed inflation rate for fuel costs, and the analysis time frame.

Economics input screen

The output screen includes three areas. One area has a line graph. The line graph demonstrates the percentage of energy savings on the X-axis and monthly homeowner costs (utility bills plus the part of mortgage payments related to energy-efficiency improvements) on the Y-axis. The next area has two bar graphs, with the Y-axis showing energy consumption in MBtu per year. The first bar graph represents the energy consumption of the home as designed by the software user, as the second bar graph illustrates the energy consumption of a home with optimized specifications. The third area illustrates the specifications of the envelope assessments of the iteration emphasized by the user

Output screen for single optimization case

In conclusion the BEopt computer program uses modeling and optimization to find best possible and near-optimal building designs along the way to zero net energy. The BEopt user interface has the following features in order to assist in efficient use of optimizations:

• A main input display that lets the user to pick, from many predefined selections, those to be applied in the optimization

•An output display that lets the user to view detailed outcomes for many optimal and near-optimal building designs

•An options library spreadsheet that lets a user to evaluate and revise detailed information on all existing options

•Energy savings that are computed relative to a reference: either a user defined base case building or a climate specific Building America Benchmark building

• Combined graphs that let assessment of results from multiple cases.

If you are interested in using an energy modeling software to measure the annual energy consumption for your next Atlanta custom home or Atlanta home renovation, contact Eco Custom Homes at 404 303 7280 or email to, and we can model your next home for you to help you determine the least expensive way to build the envelope of your next net-zero energy home.

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Costs of Custom Homes

The first thing most people want to know is: What does it costs to build a 3000 sqft custom home in the Atlanta, GA. market?  The first thing you have to calculate is the square footage you want.  Once you have that, the numbers below give you a good starting point.

Adjusted Square Foot Calculation:

New Construction: