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frads: Framework for Radiance matrix-based simulation control (WIP)

This is the repository for frads development. Radiance is a free and open-source, raytracing-based lighting engine that is used extensively by engineering firms for innovative solar control, lighting, and daylighting design to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. With matrix algebraic methods, climate-based annual simulations can now be conducted in less than two minutes. frads automates setup of these simulations by providing end users with an open-source, high-level abstraction of the Radiance command-line workflow (Unix toolbox model), helping to reduce the steep learning curve and associated user errors. frads also provides the necessary infrastructure needed for seamless integration of Radiance and other modeling tools, such as EnergyPlus.

Documentation

Contact/ Support

We welcome beta users of frads. Feel free to post questions and suggestions in the Discussion section of this GitHub site or contact the principal author at taoningwang@lbl.gov. Information about Radiance can be found at: https://www.radiance-online.org . The Radiance community is active and welcomes new users via the Radiance Discourse site or Unmet Hours.

Testing

frads uses Radiance tools in its implementation. Radiance models have been rigorously tested and validated using laboratory and outdoor field data, demonstrating its superior performance in delivering photometrically accurate, photorealistic results. Each Radiance commit and release is tested using the GitHub Action system. Unit tests were developed for most of the major Radiance programs. Tests are performed using Radiance radcompare, which was designed specifically to test Monte Carlo ray-tracing algorithms. Integration tests are the main type of test performed for frads commit and releases. These tests also use the GitHub Action system.

Releases

frads is a work in progress (see to-do list below). frads has been tested on the latest official release of Radiance (September 2020, v5.3) but may not have been tested on the latest HEAD release, which contains source code changes made as recently as yesterday. frads has also been tested on the latest official EnergyPlus release (> v9.3).

Installation

frads runs from the terminal prompt (command line) on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS. Radiance must be installed prior to use of frads. You can then install frads by entering the following command in your terminal/cmd/powershell:

pip install frads

You can also install frads from this Github repository using this command:

pip install git+https://github.com/LBNL-ETA/frads.git

To do

  • 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-phase methods implemented (image-based 5-phase works on Windows by aggressive sun-culling, 4-phase to be tested)
  • epJSON to Radiance workflow implemented (not fully tested), window puncher + wall thickener
  • EnergyPlus Radiance runtime interaction preliminarily implemented
  • Automated window subdivision analysis
  • Implement daylight metrics calculation with EnergyPlus integration
  • Implement thermal and visual comfort calculation with EnergyPlus integration
  • Link to global fenestration systems database and implement BSDF combination routines
  • Spawn of EnergyPlus integration, variable timestep detailed HVAC and control modeling

Reference

Wang, T., "Frads: A Python Library for Radiance Simulation Control", 2021 Radiance workshop, Bilbao, Spain, August 19, 2021, ppt , voice recording

Wang, T., Ward, G., and Lee, E.S. (2021), A Python Library for Radiance Matrix-based Simulation Control and EnergyPlus Integration, Proceedings of Building Simulation 2021, International Building Performance Simulation Association, Bruges, September 1-3, 2021. Publication to be posted: pdf

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