The Value of Automated Modeling for Code Compliance

The Value of Automated Modeling for Code Compliance

Code Compliance Analysis

Building energy codes are a set of requirements that outline the minimum level of design standards to properly construct and operate a building throughout its lifetime. Energy codes are developed to inform the design of a building, so their timing is critical to a building’s overall efficiency, operation, and investment value.

Some equipment can be replaced and operational parameters optimized once a building is in use, however to minimize the cost and maximize the performance its best to make design and operational decisions during the design phases.

Automated energy modeling significantly reduces the design time and cost, while also eliminating the guesswork from the decision-making process. The result is a balance of cost effectiveness and energy efficiency.

Investment vs. Performance

Designing a building, managing the budget, and determining if the building is code compliant is complex to say the least. In addition, designers are tasked with needing to understand the many different energy codes and accurately translate them to an energy model. But what if doesn’t have to be so difficult?

With NEO, you don’t have to be an expert at everything—anyone on your team can run a powerful energy analysis that models, automates, and evaluates numerous ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC baselines and hundreds of design options in seconds. As you build your model, NEO lets you see —in real-time—how each design option effects cost, efficiency, and compliance.

Automated code compliance modeling makes it easy and saves you and your clients time and money. Reducing design modeling time by 100–150 hours can save thousands on design costs and buildings modeled in NEO typically see savings of 30% beyond code. The result is millions in utility cost savings over your building’s lifetime.

Compliance Reporting

NEO’s automated Results Report functionality now includes a Code Compliance appendix. Similar to the AIA 2030 and LEED appendix—you can download this report in Microsoft Word already formatted and ready to deliver. NEO appends the Code Compliance section to the back of the report and automatically populates the appendix to include the baseline and design building characteristics, energy, fuel types, and cost summary.

And true to all NEO functions our newest addition, adheres to our basic tenets:

■ Versatile: Seven automated ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC baselines to choose from.
■ Validated: Hundreds of proven energy efficiency options for comparison.
■ Fast: Run your model and Code Compliance Report in seconds, not hours or days.
■ Easy: Anyone on your team has the capability to perform a Code Compliance analysis.

Use our Code Compliance Reporting functionality on its own, or pair it with AIA 2030 and LEED functionality, the possibilities (and savings) are endless.


Submitting a LEED Model Just Got a Whole Lot Easier!

Submitting a LEED Model Just Got a Whole Lot Easier!

GBCI + NEO Partnership Update

Energy modeling is the most effective way to optimize energy efficiency for each unique building, yet it is severely underused. According to the AIA 2030 Commitment less than 50% of all reported projects received an energy model in 2018 and in 2019 only 61% of reported gross square footage was modeled. This is despite the fact that buildings are 32% more efficient when they are energy modeled; to put it into context that is the equivalent of planting an estimated 8.7 million trees each year!

The primary barriers that prohibit buildings from receiving the benefits of an energy model are project budget, lack of technical expertise, building size, and project schedule. To help overcome these barriers, GBCI and NEO have partnered to make energy modeling more accessible, accurate, and affordable.

Introducing the new LEED Point Appendix — a supplement to the NEO Results Report. The Appendix supports the Optimizing Energy Performance credit that addresses the energy and atmosphere, whole-building energy simulation. It simplifies the reporting process, eliminates reporting errors, streamlines the review process, and improves your bottom line — all with the click of a button.


NEO is a web-based energy modeling tool that uses advanced baseline automation. It allows modelers to choose from multiple ASHRAE 90.1 standards to simulate projects anywhere in the world and under any jurisdiction. The NEO Results Report and LEED Appendix are a downloadable Microsoft Word document that NEO automatically populates with the modeling inputs, end uses, and economics to describe the baseline and proposed energy models.


Think of NEO’s automation as a “modeler in a box.” It leverages technology to bridge the gap for small design teams without an in-house energy expert and eliminates inconsistent results applying best practices to all sizes of projects. NEO provides results for hundreds of proven energy efficiency options, giving you real-time energy results in seconds, not hours or days. The automated Results Report builder provides peace of mind – you can hand over your report to a client or submit it for a LEED review knowing that NEO has accurately reflected the information contained in your model.


NEO’s automation improves your bottom line. Traditional energy modeling requires the modeler to build two separate – often very different – energy models for the baseline and proposed model. As a NEO user you select the appropriate ASHRAE baseline and then build your proposed model – right off the bat NEO cuts your modeling time in half by automatically creating the correct baseline model, informed by your selections. The automated Results Report builder adds to this efficiency by saving you hours on every project. It eliminates writing and rewriting reports and onerous paperwork. What’s on tap? We are perfecting our modeling, submission, and review process by adding a “LEED widget” to the user interface. The widget will provide real-time feedback of project point estimates to make faster, more informed decisions to construct and maintain higher-performing buildings. GBCI is currently evaluating requests to use NEO for LEED documentation on a project-specific basis. Smaller buildings with relatively simple building envelopes, thermal zones, and mechanical systems, and low process loads will be prioritized for consideration. Project teams interested in using the NEO tool for their LEED project should contact GBCI for pre-approval.

NEO featured in ACHR News as 2021 AHR Innovation Award Winner

NEO featured in ACHR News as 2021 AHR Innovation Award Winner

NEO | Net Energy Optimizer Helps Building Owners, HVAC Contractors, and Energy Professionals Tackle Energy Modeling

The software solution can help show decision makers the value of upgrades to their buildings’ systems


To optimize energy modeling for buildings, since modeling is a valuable tool that is underused due to traditionally being time-consuming and complicated.


NEO leverages automation to make energy modeling easier, faster, and more accessible, regardless of building size or the contractor’s technical expertise. The NEO | Net Energy Optimizer provides an advanced technology solution that makes energy modeling more accessible, accurate, and affordable.

AHR Innovation Awards

2021 AHR Expo Innovation Award Winner – Software: NEO | Net Energy Optimizer

SOFTWARE SOLUTION: NEO automated modeling saves time and money by reducing the number of hours it takes perform an analysis.



Product Details:

NEO uses default inputs derived from industry standards (ASHRAE, COMNET, and RS Means) to inform and automate baseline models. NEO provides results in seconds, so its automated modeling saves time and money by reducing the number of hours it takes perform an analysis and makes the design and product selection process significantly more efficient.

NEO is a web-based energy modeling tool that utilizes the DOE-2 simulation engine and provides energy conservation measure rating analyses, energy audits for existing buildings, code compliance, and more. The energy modeling software streamlines whole building analyses of HVAC systems and energy conservation measures for commercial buildings with the versatility to support product comparisons, existing building energy audits, and new construction from early design through construction.

“With evolving construction technology, more stringent building codes, and limited project resources, the impact of design decisions continues to grow,” said Eric Flower, software account executive for Willdan. “NEO helps drive increased efficiency, reduces dependency on fossil fuels, and promotes new technologies by giving stakeholders performance-based answers to their complex product selection, building audit, or new construction design decisions.”

NEO graphically reports results, generates downloadable input/simulation files, and creates CSV and MS Word documents detailing key model inputs and outputs. NEO is web-based, touch friendly, and requires no software installation. Flower explained that NEO provides the actionable data needed to prove the energy, environmental, and financial value of a systems decision. This can help teams embrace new technologies that they may have initially dismissed due to an upfront cost.

“As the NEO user becomes a more educated consumer, supplier or consultant, a circular feedback loop influences: Designers to build more efficient buildings, operators to run them optimally, and equipment manufacturers to build more efficient systems to meet market demand,” said Flower.

“NEO has been very beneficial for the projects we’ve used it on. I’ve been able to perform early analyses and provide a professional looking report to clients, giving creditable information without a lot of upfront work. The efficiency of NEO has helped me remain profitable as it reduces the amount of work I have to do before pen hits paper.”

Brian D. Howell, PE, CxA
Farris Engineering


Finalists in the AHR Innovation Award Software category included Distech Controls’ Builder and Lennox International Inc.’s CORE Service App. Lennox’s CORE service app connects with its products’ CORE systems, allowing for diagnostic features that reduce service, installation, and maintenance costs.

By Gordon White

NEO Case Study: LEED BD+C New Construction – Miron Construction Regional Office

NEO Case Study: LEED BD+C New Construction – Miron Construction Regional Office


The project team utilized the NEO Net Energy Optimizer® energy analysis tool in order to establish the energy efficiency criteria for the proposed design using Option 1: Whole Building Energy Simulation under the LEED Energy and Atmosphere EAc2 Minimum Energy Performance credit. The project was awarded 16 Points under EAc2 and achieved LEED Silver certification.

The project includes an energy efficient geothermal system that serves water to air heat pumps and an energy recovery system. In addition to a high efficiency HVAC system the project team also incorporated an increased thermal resistance in the roof and walls paired with a high-performance vision and Kalwall fenestration system that allowed for a significant amount of natural daylighting. With daylight harvesting controls, occupancy sensors, and reduced lighting power densities, the energy model was able to quantify that these measures collectively saved over $13,000 per year in annual energy costs.

Key Strategies and Results

  • High efficiency geothermal heat pumps with an (ton weighted) efficiency of 21.1 EER and 4.1 COP, resulting in over 100,000 kWh of modeled savings.
  • Implemented a total heat recovery system with a 74% sensible and 70% latent effectiveness to recycle waste heat from the exhaust air stream.
  • High performance building envelope, lighting controls, and lighting design resulting in 25% of the modeled savings.


Project Background

Miron entered the Cedar Rapids market in 2003 as a general contractor for the $7.8 million Paramount Theatre renovation and expansion project, renting a small office space in a strip mall. Constructed to better serve the organization’s Iowa clients, the new office not only replaces the outgrown space, but demonstrates Miron’s commitment to continue to grow its presence within the Cedar Rapids community we call home.

In a developing business/industrial park in Cedar Rapids, Miron was able to consolidate their field, yard, and warehouse operations with their professional construction management services in this new facility on 5.27 acres, increasing operational efficiencies and allowing easier access to project sites. Additionally, the visible presence along the I-380 corridor helps to strengthen existing relationships and supports Miron’s desire to be an active part of the Cedar Rapids Community.

About Miron Construction CO., Inc.

Miron Construction Co., Inc. is a forward thinking, fast-growing private company headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with regional offices in Madison, Wausau, Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Miron has been providing professional construction services to clients throughout the Midwest, with an expanded geographic reach across the United States since 1918, and is listed among the top general contractors in the United States by the Engineering News Record. For more information, please visit

2030 Challenge Analysis

2030 Challenge Analysis

Quickly and Easily Meet Your Unique Energy Modeling Needs

The 2030 Challenge calls on the global building design community to take action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. To achieve the reduced emissions, fuel reduction targets have been set for all new buildings and major renovations with a goal of zero emissions by the year 2030.

However – given the range of building types, local codes, and more stringent annual fuel reduction targets – it can be a daunting task to design a building while keeping all these factors in mind and continue to satisfy your customers requirements and requests. To overcome these challenges, we have created a “2030 analysis” specifically designed to simplify the process of designing and reporting a building that can, cost effectively, meet and exceed the 2030 Challenge requirements.

Step 1. Start by Entering the Basic Parameters of Your Project.

To inform NEO of your buildings 2030 target EUI, select the 2030 reporting year for your building. Next, follow NEO’s guided process to enter your design characteristics – starting with the building definition – followed by defining your HVAC systems. Then, get your results with a simple click of a button – NEO performs the energy simulations and presents you with a bundled menu of common cost-effective measures that are customized for your building.

Step 2. Review the Initial Bundle of Measures.

If desired, simply refine your design by adding, removing, or editing the measures in order to explore the tradeoffs between energy, cost, and environmental factors as you work to achieve a high performing, low cost building that ensures you reach your 2030 target. The Results Dashboard in the user interface highlights NEO’s real-time modeling approach by allowing you to track how the building design is performing against the target as changes are made.

Step 3. Share the Results with the Building Owner.

Everyone likes a success story, and with NEO’s dynamic report building feature you can add a 2030 analysis appendix to the Results Report. Document the environmental contribution that is a direct result of the decisions that the building owner has made towards reducing their fossil fuel consumption and combating climate change.

Step 4. Share the Results with the Design Community.

Drive change and elevate the work of your firm by uploading your modeling details directly to your DDx account, NEO makes it easy. Let NEO help you fulfill your firm’s internal sustainability goals and make it easier for your future customers find you based on your success.

You don’t have to be a big firm to make a big difference. Whether you work on one building or one hundred buildings – let NEO help you fulfill your 2030 challenge commitment – keeping your New Year’s resolution has never been easier!