By Peter Shi with Barry Tsai
Who is this for: Energy Analyst, Building Scientists, Energy Modeling Engineers and GBS users.
Takeaway: If you have experience in any real world building energy simulation, you would know synchronization of utility data and historical weather data is a very manual and labor extensive process. Green Button feature is designed to help user to automate and streamline this process. A step by step tutorial is provided in this article to show you how to use Green Button feature in Green Building Studio (GBS).
Follow up from an earlier posting from John Kennedy about GBS support of Green Button Initiative. In this article, we will take you through the steps to upload your Green Button XML file to GBS server to incorporate your utility bill data with a synchronized historical weather data. Green Building Studio’s utility upload feature, released in 2012, is based on a linked MS Excel spreadsheet. You can upload data (XML) in compliance with the Green Button initiative to your project so that you can compare your actual and as-modeled energy use. For more information about the Green Button initiative, go to http://www.greenbuttondata.org/.
The steps to use the feature:
1. Sign in https://gbs.autodesk.com/.
2. In the Project list, click any project name.
3. In the Run list, click the Utility Information tab.
4. In the Utility Information tab, click Utility Billing Data Sets.
5. Click Download Tools to install the data_utility_installer.exe. This executable will install a few pre-requisites library from MS so that the MS Excel based tool can function properly in Windows environment.
6. Click Download the Utility Data Set Template. The template is an Excel file format (.xlxs).
7. The Microsoft Office Document Customization dialog prompts you to add the document to your trusted locations list. Use a trusted location to store a file in order to bypass the Trust Center security feature when you open the file. Click OK.
To change the trusted location for this file, see the Create, remove, or change a trusted location for your files Microsoft support topic.
Now you can add billing data to the spreadsheet template.
8. In the ExistingBuildingUtilityUpload file, click Sign In and enter your Autodesk ID and password.
9. In the Microsoft Office Customization Installer dialog, you are asked to verify that you want to install the ExistingBuildingUtility (Green Button). Select Install. This is a one-time process. The next time you use this template, the Green Button data option is available.
10. For Project List, specify the project.
11. (Optional) You can import Green Button monthly utility data into the spreadsheet.
· Verify that your utility company or provider has adopted the Green Button initiative. Click the link as shown here to launch the Green Button Adopters website.
· In the Open dialog, browse to the Green Button data file on your machine and click Open.
Your data uploads to the spreadsheet and populates the corresponding column(s). You are notified if there are upload issues.
You can optionally add additional data files. When you are done, select Upload to upload the data to your project.
The following steps are necessary if you are manually entering your data.
12. Select This is an all electric building if you are only entering electrical data.
13. For units, select the billing data units.
14. Specify the Month and Year fields for the data time period.
15. Specify the utility data per month for Electricity Usage, Electric Demand, and Fuel Usage (natural gas).
16. When you are finished, click Upload. The data is uploaded to your project.
If you have done any real world building energy simulation before, you would know collecting utility data and synchronizing with historical weather data is a very labor intensive process. Green button feature in GBS is designed to streamline and simplify this process so save your precious time. It utilizes the VSTO MS Excel base interface to help user to learn and use this feature quickly. In the following session, we take you through the trouble shooting guide to manage this what used to be a complicated process. You should keep in mind that GBS only accepts the utility data in a standard XML format. MS Excel interface would help you to check the validation of data before importing. You would be notified with a message box with the error information for a mal-formed XML file. Here are the details of the limitations and the user can check and fix the XML file with the tool XML Notepad:
1. The Green Button utility file can only contain electricity or fuel usage data.
The element feed/entry/content/UsagePoint/ServiceCategory/kind indicates the kind of the utility data, 0 for electricity and 1 for gas.
2. The utility data in Green Button xml file needs to be a full year data organized on a monthly base. The time scope should exactly be 12 blocks representing 12 months respectively. All the readings in the block would be aggregated as the monthly usage value and cost.
3. The start of each block should be the first day of that month.
Though the first month in not required to be January, the first reading of each block should be the first day of the month. The value if represented by a “start” as the number of second from January 1st, 1970.
4. The time period of each block or reading should not overlap with any other, and there should not be any gap between two adjacent readings or blocks.
The time period is represented with the “start” mentioned above and the “duration” in second. The end of a time period which can be calculated by adding the duration to the start should be exactly the same as the start of the next block or reading.
5. The value and cost in the reading should not be negative.
6. The cost should be in US dollar.
The element feed/entry/content /ReadingType/currency contains the currency code for the cost. The only valid currency code, if specified, should be 840, which represents US dollar.
7. The unit of the usage value is indicated by a code in the element feed/entry/content /ReadingType/uom.
The supported codes are as follows:
Gas: 132(BTU), 31(Joule), 169(Therm)
Any failed import would result in the critical detailed raw data being exported to a new workbook in the Excel file. Any user with MS Excel experience should be able to manage this data and resume with your data import process.
Once utility data is uploaded to GBS server, it will automatically synchronize the historical weather data so that you can continue with your building energy simulation process. I hope this tutorial and trouble shooting guide is useful to you. You can also find other utility upload help document in our wiki help page. We would like to hear more from you. How do you like about this feature? Any feedback or input is always welcome. Please contact us or visit us at https://gbs.autodesk.com.