Big Ladder Software Training

EnergyPlus and OpenStudio Training

Summer 2019

Target Audience:

Engineers, Architects, & Simulationists –


Date and Time:

Summer 2019 – 08:00 to 5:00 p.m. MT


Boise, ID Integrated Design Lab Classroom 306 S. 6th Street


Please take our survey, click here.


Three years ago the Integrated Design Lab hosted an energy modeling workshop series led by Big Ladder Software, where over three days participants learned the basics of OpenStudio and EnergyPlus as well as more advanced energy modeling techniques and workflows. The IDL is interested in hosting a Big Ladder Software workshop series again but would first like to gauge interest. Please click the link above to fill out our survey if you would like to attend.

The cost for participants is $475 for a one-day workshop, and $895 for a two-day workshop. They also offer "package" discounts, where people save if they attend multiple workshop topics. For example, in their upcoming San Francisco workshops, people who attend three days of EnergyPlus topics pay $1275 instead of $1370 ($475 + $895).


We (Big Ladder Software) are a Denver-based company dedicated to providing software and services for the building energy modeling industry. The company name reflects our mission to “help our clients reach new heights”. As a software company we handle all phases of software development: design, implementation, testing, documentation, support, and training. We have a special passion for open-source software. Our current open-source projects include Elements, Kiva, Modelkit/Params, Euclid, and an Atom package for EnergyPlus.

Potential Sessions To Be Offered

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 Euclid extension 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.

EnergyPlus EMS Controls:
This one-day workshop covers the Energy Management System (EMS) capability of EnergyPlus, which allows implementation of custom control strategies and calculation routines that override standard modeling processes within EnergyPlus. We cover the EnergyPlus Runtime Language (Erl) that is used to describe the custom control programs, how to create EMS components (sensors, actuators, output variables, etc.), and how to debug execution of EMS programs. Lecture topics include how to create advanced HVAC control sequences, how to override default HVAC operation (flow rate, setpoint temperature, capacity, etc.), how to abort a simulation when operational faults occur, and how to use outputs to generate trend data. Demonstrations and hands-on exercises are used extensively throughout.

OpenStudio Launch Pad:
This one-day workshop aims to quickly launch you into the world of the OpenStudio graphical user interface for EnergyPlus. We cover the major features and capabilities of the interface including creating and editing geometry using the full OpenStudio extension for SketchUp, managing space types and internal loads, and configuring HVAC systems and controls. (OpenStudio measure writing is not covered.) Demonstrations and hands-on exercises are used extensively throughout.

Advanced OpenStudio:
This one-day workshop covers advanced modeling topics related to the OpenStudio interface. We cover how to add custom library data (HVAC, building types, etc.), model “bulk” air flow (infiltration, ventilation, inter-zone mixing, transfer air), configure layout and controls for advanced plant systems, use best practices for debugging energy models, and include thermal bridging effects in energy models. OpenStudio measure writing is not covered. Demonstrations and hands-on exercises are used extensively throughout.

OpenStudio Measure Writing:
This one-day workshop focuses on teaching you how to write your own measures for OpenStudio’s powerful scripting and automation framework. We cover the essentials of the OpenStudio API, the Ruby programming language, and the OpenStudio Software Development Kit documentation. We explore all three categories of measures: OpenStudio, EnergyPlus, and Reporting. We will also show how to use a measure to automatically generate a baseline building model for ASHRAE Standard 90.1 compliance. Demonstrations and hands-on exercises are used extensively throughout.