The industry is in the process of making a steady shift towards connected databases and web technologies for the design, analysis, and operation of built environments. Consequently, the end-user must work with a multitude of unrelated data dictionaries, schemas, and file formats to represent building information for simulation. Although some efforts have been made in the recent past to standardize data models, most practitioners (and programmers), developers, vendors, manufacturers, and performance testing organizations have their own data structures resulting in tremendous market fragmentation. This fragmentation is detrimental to overall productivity because tools and workflows become incompatible, resulting in duplication of effort and inefficient use of project funding.
In the larger interest of the industry and to truly bridge the gap between owners, architects, engineers, modelers, software vendors, AHJs, and other related stakeholders, it is recommended that a consensus-based engine-neutral data dictionary and schema be developed to enable building data exchange.
Addressing current barriers to data exchange, and if needed, facilitating the development of standard data models will help overcome some of the key barriers to greater adoption of building performance modeling outlined in USDOE BTO’s Emerging Technologies Research and Development document, namely – improving value proposition, increasing accuracy, making time available to develop core modeling capabilities, and facilitating end-to-end workflow automation.