Tips and Tricks for Using EnergyPlus — EnergyPlus 9.1

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Building Surface Dimensions – Inside, Outside or Centerline[LINK]

When describing the geometry of building surfaces in EnergyPlus, all surfaces are a thin plane without any thickness. The thickness property of the materials which are assigned to the building surface are only used for heat conduction and thermal mass calculations. Because EnegyPlus geometry is represented with a thin plane, which actual dimension is the proper one to use: inside, outside, or centerline dimensions. For most buildings, the difference is small, and the user may use whatever dimensions are most convenient. A suggested approach is to use outside dimensions for exterior surfaces, and centerline dimensions for interior surfaces. This produces fully connected geometry with an appropriate amount of floor area, zone volume, and thermal mass. If desired, zone volume and floor area may be overridden by entering values in the Zone object. For buildings with very thick walls, such as centuries-old masonry buildings, it is recommended that centerline dimensions be used for all surfaces (exterior and interior) so that the model will have the correct amount of thermal mass.