A conceptual framework to support solar PV simulation using an open-BIM data exchange standard

A. Gupta, A. Cemesova, C.J. Hopfe, Y. Rezgui, T. Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the construction industry moving rapidly towards Building Information Modelling (BIM), it is essential that various analysis tools used in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) domain are interoperable with a non-proprietary open BIM schema such as the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). The UK government will be requiring fully-collaborative BIM in all public sector projects by 2016 and is also chasing the target of achieving zero-carbon buildings by 2019. This dual target will require the use of renewable energy analysis tools in the early stages of the building design process and establish the need for these tools to be IFC-compliant. This paper presents a conceptual framework for developing IFC-compliant renewable energy simulation tools using a multi-model concept in which the IFC data model provides partial input data required to run simulation models. A prototype has been developed as a ‘proof-of-concept’ for an IFC-compliant solar PV simulation tool. The prototype has been validated against other solar PV simulation tools such as PV*Sol, RETScreen® and HOMER to provide credibility to the simulation model. The developed conceptual framework is applicable not only to solar PV simulation but other renewable energy simulation models as well, thereby making an IFC-compliant renewable energy modelling tool capable of conducting, energy, carbon emissions and financial analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-181
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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