building simulation 2017
august 8, 2017


Student competition | Practitioner competition | Competition FAQs

Student Competition
As part of the 2017 Building Simulation Conference, IBPSA is organizing a student modeling competition. The aim is to facilitate wider participation in the conference and to provide a competitive forum for student members of the building simulation community. It is expected that several tutors of relevant courses in universities around the world will use this as part of their teaching material.

This year's competition involves using computer simulation to design and test a laboratory building with mixed uses including labs, offices and classroom spaces located in downtown San Francisco, CA, USA.

Note that a supporting letter from the organization (e.g. course tutor, TA/RA, or module leader at your institute) is requested with each submission. This should include a brief statement including the course that you are enrolled in which you may receive credit while completing the competition requirements.

Two finalists will be notified by May 5, 2017 and will receive free registration to the conference plus up to $2000 in reimbursed travel expenses. The two finalists will be expected to attend the Building Simulation 2017 conference and to prepare a short presentation and produce a poster for display at BS2017. Poster requirements and travel/registration information for the finalists will be provided at that time. Based on the conference presentation and poster, an overall winner will be selected and announced at the conference.

Please download the competition brief for more information. We look forward to your participation!

Key dates:

February 06, 2017:     Entrants to notify Christina Hopfe (IBPSA England) of their intent to submit an entry via email. Note that the final submission document must be accompanied by an institutional letter to confirm that the candidate is enrolled on a university’s program.
March 31, 2017: Deadline for completed entries. These should be sent via email in word AND pdf to Christina Hopfe (C.J.Hopfe, IBPSA England).
May 05, 2017: Winners informed
August 7-9, 2017:     BS2017 Conference in San Francisco, USA

Practitioner Competition
The IBPSA-USA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter is organizing a practitioner modeling competition, which is a modified version of the student modeling competition. The aim is to facilitate wider participation in the conference and to provide a competitive forum for non-student members of the building simulation community. The practitioner competition is new to the Building Simulation conference for 2017. The winning entry will receive a USD$1,500 cash prize, sponsored by IES Ltd.


A competition entry can consist of either a single team member or a team of practitioners.
Registration is USD $20 and must be submitted by February 06, 2017.

Please contact (IBPSA-USA San Francisco Bay Area) if you have any questions.

Key dates:
February 06, 2017: Register intent to submit
March 31, 2017: Deadline for completed entries. These should be sent via email in word AND pdf to
May 05, 2017: Winners informed
August 7-9, 2017:       BS2017 Conference in San Francisco, USA
USD $1,500 Cash prize awarded.

Competition FAQs

Q1: Can undergraduate and graduate level students participate in the student competition?
A1: Yes, all categories are eligible to apply and participate

Q2: What is the maximum student team size for each group entry?
A2: We suggest a maximum team size of 5 students, but do not limit the team size. One member should be selected from the team to be the point of contact with the IBPSA 2017 Student Competition coordinator(s).

Q3: Can I still register for the student modelling competition?
A3: The deadline for notification of entrant’s registration has already passed.

Q4: Could you advise me as to how you can accept payment for the registration fee?
A4: The student modeling competition is for free.

Q5: Can we install PV panels or Micro turbine CHP? Using the gas to create electricity on the site? Are there any landfills bio gas suppliers?
A5: Renewable energy generating systems of any kind may not be used. This includes photovoltaics, wind, fuel cells, solar hot water, geothermal or ground source systems (due to the fact that sufficient site details are not available), etc. 
The intention of this competition is to reduce the load of the building as much as possible, and so net zero energy performance is not expected.

Q6: Based on the information, renewable energy generating systems of any kind may not to be included in energy savings calculations, if we use the geothermal system for cooling and heating does it affect on the judges’ decision?
A6: Yes, it would affect the judges’ decision as renewable energy generating systems of any kind may not be used including geothermal or ground source systems.

Q7: Is green roof included in the renewable energy?
A7: No, a green roof does not produce energy so it’s not a renewable energy system, i.e. you are ok to use this

Q8: Is there any limitation for making shading devices?
A8: There is no limit to building/site shading in the design, though you can’t assume any buildings or other nearby items that will shade.

Q9: Can you confirm that we can use skylights/solartubes on the envelope (no restrictions mentioned). Does skylight count as glazing and if so do they have to be accounted for the window /wall ratio?
A9: Skylights and all glazing geometry is unrestricted, as long as it meets the general requirements in the brief for WWR minimums. Skylights count as glazing, but they have no minimum areas so, no they shouldn’t be included in the WWR.

Q10: In section C-C, it appears that the handrails continue from open seating area till beneath staircases while in the floor plan of level 2, the handrails are only shown for the open area. Can you verify which one is correct?
A10: The handrails continue to the end of the staircases. Handrails should not be consequential in your energy model.

Q11: I assume that we can decide where to have internal doors and external doors, except for some instances, such as the classroom (50 occupancy) at level 1 where there is a discontinued area (of the wall) for the door?
A11: Yes, that is correct.

Q12: In given schedules, there are warehouse and assembly, which correspond to equipment room and open area. Is this correct?
A12: Your assumption is correct.

Q13: Lastly, the shaft between the toilets in the plan, we think that it looks more like a technical shaft (HVAC line, etc). Is that correct? Also the walls of it and toilets seem to be double the size of other internal walls. Is it so?
A13: Yes, for plumbing and HVAC. Correct, dark (internal) walls depicted darker are doubled in thickness.

Q14: What about U-values and R-values? I cannot find any information on this in the brief?
A14: The constructions are intentionally left without U/R values (because this is typical in real life), so it’s up to the modelers to find appropriate values. However, the judges will take it into account if unreasonable values are used.

Q15: There are some rooms without specified occupancy. What should I assume?
A15: If any rooms do not have things specified like occupancy, then it should be assumed there are no occupants during typical operation.

Q16: Does the building have an elevator? If yes what kind? What is the load ? And if it doesn't have an elevator then what is the space between the bathrooms?
A16: There is an elevator shaft depicted, but not explicitly stated. We do not think the elevator information is needed or relevant for the brief - it can just be a multilevel open, unconditioned space

Q17: Can you provide the domestic hot water consumption schedule?
A17: The DHW follows occupancy schedule and is provided in the brief.

Q18: Do you want us to compare the design building with basic ASHRAE 2010 or 2013?
A18: No baseline model is needed. That isn’t part of the judging criteria.

Q19: About the building construction, the main entrance of the building is not shown in the drawing and the partition walls are not complete (especially for the labs on 3rd to 5th floor), can we include these content in our design, or will we receive more information about these, since the construction is not allowed us to touch according to the brief.
A19: You do not need to include the main entrance in your model. We do not see that the partition walls are incomplete in L3-5; please assume for your energy model that opaque walls are interior walls, and those with black outlines are exterior walls.

Q20: About the urban environment, could you please provide more information about the context of the site & building, since the shading is not able to be calculated from the material provided.
A20: You are given site information on page 7 of the brief, including height of the surrounding buildings. You should be able to compute shading on to the lab building with the provided information.

Q21: Could you please provide more information about the experiment type in each laboratories? (What gas is exhausted…explosive, hazardous)
A21: This is not relevant for the purposes of the competition.

Q22: What does it mean, an institutional letter mean? Could you give me an example?
A22: We do not hand out any examples as your university or student support office will usually have a template. It is important however that the letter is on institutionally letterhead, i.e. incl. the logo, address, and stamp of your university and includes all student names and student numbers that want to participate in the competition.

Q23: What are the minimum illuminance levels for the open plan office design and the classrooms/conference?
A23: Open plan 300 lux. Classroom/ conference 400 lux