EnergyPlus training workshops.

Training Philosophy

EnergyPlus offers the state of the art in modeling capabilities with unprecedented accuracy and flexibility. Unfortunately, the trade off is that EnergyPlus is complicated engineering software and it’s difficult to learn. That’s why we have created our own unique philosophy for EnergyPlus training:

1. We teach you EnergyPlus from the ground up. We focus heavily on the syntax, relationships, and architecture of input objects–the building blocks of the text-based EnergyPlus input file. Whether you plan to work with OpenStudio, a commercial user interface, or just a text editor, the more you know about how EnergyPlus works at the text level, the more easily you will be able to unlock the power and flexibility of EnergyPlus. In fact, most user interfaces map very closely to the underlying EnergyPlus input objects. And as many modelers know from experience, the time inevitably comes when you need to move beyond the interface and work directly with the input file.

2. Hands-on exercises are essential. Most of the real learning happens when you try to use the software yourself. Our workshops are approximately 50% lectures and 50% exercises. The step-by-step exercises begin to build the “muscle memory” that helps you to retain your new skills for long-term use.

3. Mental models make it easier to learn. EnergyPlus encompasses a vast amount of stuff: input objects, input files, output files, documentation, software tools. Our workshops help you construct mental models to organize all of that information. Mental models provide structures, patterns, and best practices that bring order to the chaos.

4. We teach you how to teach yourself. At this point EnergyPlus is so large and complex that no one person knows all of EnergyPlus. Even experts don’t keep everything in their head at once. The most important skill we can teach you is how to teach yourself going forward–how to use the available resources to find the information you need after the workshop ends. As the cliche goes, “Teach an energy modeler to fish…”

5. We are there for you after the workshop ends. Even after completing our workshop, sometimes you still need a little help…or a lot of help. We offer comprehensive EnergyPlus support services so that you can be assured that you will never be stuck for long.

EnergyPlus for Practitioners

In this two-day workshop we focus on the needs of the energy modeling practitioner in order to get you up to speed and highly productive with EnergyPlus as quickly as possible. We cover the fundamentals of EnergyPlus such as geometry and internal loads while rapidly ramping up to advanced topics such as HVAC systems and controls. We guide you through the complexities of the EnergyPlus syntax, input/output files, documentation, and essential software tools including the OpenStudio (legacy) plugin for SketchUp. Most importantly, we teach you how to use the available resources to teach yourself going forward. Demonstrations and hands-on exercises are used extensively throughout. By the end of the workshop, you should be comfortable with creating, running, and debugging EnergyPlus models.

We have developed our training materials from scratch over a period of several years based on our extensive experience using EnergyPlus to model real-world projects and helping others to do the same. This workshop should be a prerequisite for anyone planning to work with EnergyPlus regardless of what user interface you choose.

         Peter Ellis Peter Ellis

is President of Big Ladder Software, a Denverbased company that provides services and software for building energy modelers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Carleton College and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Peter has been involved in developing building energy simulation software for more than eleven years. He joined the EnergyPlus development team in graduate school where he authored component models for Trombe walls, tubular daylighting devices, and light shelves. Before founding Big Ladder, he worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for nearly six years. While at NREL he developed more features for EnergyPlus including solar hot water systems, hot water heaters, and energy management systems. Peter was also the original creator of the OpenStudio “legacy” plugin that couples SketchUp to EnergyPlus. In addition to his work as a developer, Peter has been equally invested as a practitioner, applying the software to perform numerous whole-building energy analyses. He has successfully used EnergyPlus to model a variety of real-world projects ranging from an off-the-grid passive solar dormitory to the original Libeskind design for the World Trade Center Freedom Tower. For the past three years he has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop and maintain a collection of twelve prototypical EnergyPlus models for common Army facilities. He has also trained scores of new users in the intricacies of EnergyPlus in training workshops at US and international locations.


The registration page for the Seattle workshop is at