Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Coupling the multizone airflow and contaminant transport software CONTAM with EnergyPlus using co-simulation


building simulation, co-simulation, CONTAM, coupled thermal, airflow and contaminant modeling, EnergyPlus, multizone modeling


Building modelers need simulation tools capable of simultaneously considering building energy use, airflow and indoor air quality (IAQ) to design and evaluate the ability of buildings and their systems to meet today’s demanding energy efficiency and IAQ performance requirements. CONTAM is a widely-used multizone building airflow and contaminant transport simulation tool that requires indoor temperatures as input values. EnergyPlus is a prominent whole-building energy simulation program capable of performing heat transfer calculations that require interzone and infiltration airflows as input values. On their own, each tool is limited in its ability to account for thermal processes upon which building airflow may be significantly dependent and vice versa. This paper describes the initial phase of coupling of CONTAM with EnergyPlus to capture the interdependencies between airflow and heat transfer using co-simulation that allows for sharing of data between independently executing simulation tools. The coupling is accomplished based on the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) for Co-simulation specification that provides for integration between independently developed tools. A three-zone combined heat transfer/airflow analytical BESTEST case was simulated to verify the co-simulation is functioning as expected, and an investigation of a two-zone, natural ventilation case designed to challenge the coupled thermal/airflow solution methods was performed.


Tsinghua University Press