Two benchmark model sets were used for testing the performance of the ENSIMS computers and comparing them to typical desktop and laptop PCs. The first set comprises selected example models shipped with EnergyPlus. More details can be found on the website.

The second benchmark set is based on the type of building models that practitioners create using DesignBuilder software. It aims to represent more realistic use cases, where simulation times and simulation output levels can vary widely. 24 models from the Design Optimisation Competition (DOC2012) were included in this benchmark set. They represent a good range of simulation complexity. PCMs, natural ventilation calculations and daylight-based lighting controls are known time consuming design options in terms of simulation. They are represented in the model set. The models use a number of different construction types, built forms, and glazing arrangements. Unfortunately, detailed HVAC has not been represented in the set. More details on the models included in this benchmark set can be found in Table 1 below.

Table 1 DOC 2012 models

ModelFormGlazing ratioRoof lightsConstructionSystemVentilationDaylight
018 L shaped, 6 floors 50% No PCM LTHW radiator heating Mixed Yes
050 Square, 5 floors 50% No Medium GSHP Mixed Yes
054 Mainly square, 2 floors 70% Yes Medium LTHW Mixed Yes
060 Sloping double skin south wall, 6 floors 20%-50% variable No Medium GSHP Mixed No
077 Square, 2 floors of different sizes 35% Yes Heavy LTHW Mixed Yes
094 Rectangular with wings, 5 floors Variable Yes Light VRF Mechanical Yes
100 Circular with a square top, 3 floors 36% Yes Medium ASHP Natural Yes
109 Rectangular with curved wall, 4 floors Low % No Medium Fan Coil Mechanical No
116 Square with overhangs, 4 floors 50% Yes Medium LTHW Mixed Yes
128 Distorted ‘H’ shape, 5 floors Mostly 35% No Medium LTHW Natural No
130 Rectangular, 6 floors 0%- 25% variable No Light LTHW & chilled beams Mechanical Yes
140 Rectangular, 5 floors 30%-46% variable No Medium GSHP Natural Yes
158 Rectangular, 4 floors 60%-100% variable Yes PCM, light VRF Mixed Yes
173 Irregular rectangle, 5 floors High% S, Low% E/W/N No Medium ASHP Natural Yes
182 Rectangular “stepped”, 4 floors 50% S, low % E/W/N Yes Medium VRF Mechanical Yes
185 Irregular rectangular polygon, 4 floors 90% No Medium GSHP Mixed Yes
204 Circular tower, 5 floors 50% No Medium VRF Mechanical Yes
207 Irregular U shap, 4 floors 50% No Light LTHW Natural Yes
209 Wide rectangular, 6 floors 40% No Medium VRF Mechanical Yes
210 H shaped, 4 floors 85% S/N, 0% E/W No Medium VRF Mechanical Yes
213 L shaped, 4 floors 70% No Medium VRF Mixed Yes
214 L shaped, 4 floors 37% No Medium LTHW Natural Yes
216 H shaped, 4 floors 50% No Medium Fan Coil Mechanical


222 Rectangular with courtyard, 4 floors 40% No Light LTHW Natural Yes


The EnergyPlus models were exported from DesignBuilder, and then converted to E+ version 8. Orientation was added as an additional parameter, to create more simulation cases. A UK (London) weather file was used in all tests. The chart below shows the distribution of the average simulation time of each model, when executed on X3290 using 8 parallel threads. The simulations were done with no output files generated. Further tests also include three different output levels: no output, DesginBuilder's default output setting at hourly level, and DesignBuilder's all output setting at hourly level. These were used to test the impact of disc I/O on simulation performance.

Figure 1 Typical simulation time of the benchmark models