Improved Simulation Tools: Accurate modeling of premise plumbing systems requires simultaneous estimation of hydraulic, thermal, chemical, and biological effects. The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a software package called EPAnet that has gained traction amongst the premise plumbing community, but a missing piece of this software is the inclusion of thermal effects. Since the development of pathogens and the estimation of energy performance need such information, NIST is working with the developers of EPAnet and other researchers to find ways to most effectively incorporate temperature modeling into these simulation tools. NIST is also using these tools to evaluate different plumbing configurations in its Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility to evaluate the impact of different setups in low energy and low water consuming homes.
Standardized Plumbing System Models: Premise plumbing systems, and the factors that affect water safety and energy and water use, vary greatly between buildings. Given the wide variation in buildings and their plumbing systems, reference building models are needed to support consistent analyses of plumbing system performance. These buildings models need to cover the wide range of residential buildings, as well as key commercial and institutional buildings such as schools and healthcare facilities. Prototype buildings and their associated plumbing systems are being defined to capture the range of U.S. building types to support simulation studies of the impacts of different technologies and design approaches. This approach has been very successful in building energy simulation and is used to support energy efficiency standards development and advancements in building codes. NIST’s experience with building prototypes in the energy and indoor air quality fields will be very helpful in duplicating this approach for premise plumbing system performance analysis.