To create zone visualizations, Mr.Comfy must be provided with a data file – a comma-separated values file (*.csv) – as well as the so-called EnergyPlus Invariant Output (*.eio) file. With these two matching inputs, generated from the same simulation run, the tool finds zone names and corresponding variable names.
The CSV time step must be hourly and values provided for a full year (8760 hours), as Mr.Comfy internally calculates averages, sums or peaks for a schedule and frequency from this data. Hence, the time settings in your simulation tool must be properly selected.
Also, all thermal zones in your model must have unique names; as you will later pick visualization surfaces in Rhino based on them, they should make sense and be easily sortable (e.g., Floor1_Office_1 etc.).
Make sure that only outputs relating to zone data are present in the CSV – including surface outputs will break parsing. The tool you use further may or may not automatically generate *.csv files; refer to its documentation to find out whether it can auto-generate them and how to set the proper time step. However, it is relatively easy to create custom *.csvs from a successful EnergyPlus run:
1. Navigate to the folder containing the results of your simulation
2. In the folder, identify the files with the extensions *.eso & *.eio (commonly called eplusout.eso & eplusout.eio)
3. Copy these files to a new working folder
4. From your EnergyPlus software post process subdirectory (commonly C:\EnergyPlus_VERSION_\PostProcess), copy the file ReadVarsESO.exe to your working folder
5. In the working folder, make a new pure text file called my_csv_generator.rvi (do not forget to give it the proper *.rvi extension; the file name itself does not matter)
6. In the working folder, create a new pure text file called Run.bat
7. Open the *.rvi file, and on its first line, copy the full file name of the *.eso file (e.g., eplusout.eso)
8. On the file’s second line, state the name of the desired output *.csv (e.g., MyDesign_EnergyUse.csv)
9. Open the *.eso file in your text file processor (it is a large file) and identify the report variable names that are available. Now do not panic.
10. From the beginning of the file, start looking for the report variables that you are interested in having in the *.csv; a common line containing the name you are looking for will appear similar to this: “219,1,FLOOR1_OFFICE_1,Zone Mean Radiant Temperature [C] !Hourly,ON”. The report variable, you guessed it, is “Zone Mean Radiant Temperature”. Other commonly interesting ones are: “Zone/Sys Sensible Cooling Rate”, “Zone/Sys Sensible Heating Rate”, etc. See EnergyPlus input/ouput reference (link in the reference section) for a full list. You also do not need to scroll very far down into the *.eso file; zone/report variable declarations are only present in the relative beginning of a *.eso file.
11. Simply copy the report variable names, one per line, to the *.rvi file. You will end up with file contents similar to this:
Zone Mean Radiant Temperature
Zone/Sys Sensible Cooling Rate
Zone/Sys Sensible Heating Rate
I recommend that you do not overload this list with variables; parsing performance will suffer, though the calculation component doesn’t care and only loads the currently selected variable to retain speed.
12. Open the previously created Run.bat file in your text editor and input the single line: ReadVarsESO.exe my_csv_generator.rvi hourly nolimit (with your own rvi file name, of course)
(You can also directly launch a shell in your working directory and run that line from it, of course)
13. Save and double-click the *.bat file; ReadvarsESO.exe will launch and create your custom *.csv in your working folder
Et voilà, a CSV file is yours.
14. *.csv creation and *.eso parsing will be automated in future versions of Mr.Comfy.