COMFEN 4.1 Beta
(
4.1.25 -- October 4, 2012)

Release Notes
Updated: 10/29/12

COMFEN 4.0 Release Notes

History of COMFEN 3.1 Releases


New Features

Natural Ventilation Model

COMFEN now has the ability to model natural ventilation as a replacement for a mechanical cooling system. Click here for more details.

Cost Data

COMFEN now has a simple Cost module, with default costs that can be over-ridden with user data. Click here for more details.

Radiance Rendering Additions

There are additional Radiance Renderings available, including Illuminance Maps. Click here for more details.


Program Changes

Updating Database from COMFEN 4.0 to 4.1
COMFEN will automatically update your 4.0 database to be compatible with the 4.1 database structure the first time you open a 4.0 database in version 4.1. This includes adding all the cost fields to the new database, as well as default cost data. If you have any problems with updating a COMFEN 4.0 database to 4.1, please email COMFENHelp@lbl.gov

  • Glass Library:
    The program will automatically update the glass tables with any IGDB 23 version records that have been added or updated. (See the IGDB release notes for a detailed list of all the glass records that are added or changed). If you used any glass layers that were updated in IGDB 23, you may want to recalculate the results, based on what the release notes indicate the changes were. Any records in IGDB 23 that were deleted will REMAIN in the COMFEN Glass Library.
    NOTE: Glass cost data is based on 6 mm glass:
    The default glass cost data provided in this version does not distinguish between glass thicknesses, and is based on 6 mm clear glass.
     

  • Frame Library:
    The program will automatically update the default Frame Library records with the default cost data from COMFEN 4.1 for frames. However, it will not know how to update the costs for any new records that you have made. The program will indicate this issue the first time you open a 4.0 database with version 4.1, and you should go through the Frame Library and make any needed changes to your custom Frame Library records.
     

  • Location Library:
    The default database for COMFEN 4.0 contained some locations that used the California CTZ weather files, which we have removed from the default Location Library in COMFEN 4.1 (due to issues with getting design day information for these weather files). If you open a 4.0 database with 4.1, those CTZ locations (and their associated weather files)  will still be in your database.

Energy Plus Version 7.0
COMFEN has been updated to be using version 7.0 of Energy Plus. This version of Energy Plus runs the simulation significantly faster than previous versions, so it should take less time to calculate scenarios in COMFEN 4.1

Glass Library Updated to IGDB 25.4
The Glass Library in this version of COMFEN has been updated to the IGDB version 25.4

WINDOW 6 Program Completely Installed
All the necessary files to run the WINDOW 6 program are installed in the COMFEN subdirectory called W6, so it is no longer necessary to have WINDOW 6 also installed on your computer in order to calculate the glazing system properties or generate the BSDF file needed to run Radiance. The W6.mdb file used by COMFEN to calculate the glazing system properties is also updated to IGDB 25.4 so that all glass layers in COMFEN can be calculated.

Glare Control Checkbox Moved to Shading Systems Controls
In COMFEN 4.0, the Scenario Edit screen contained a "Glare Control" checkbox. This was not really the correct place for it. It has been moved to the Shading System Library, in the Shading Control pulldown, and is called "On If High Glare", i.e., the program will deploy the Shading System if "high glare" is detected, ie, Glare Index > 22.

CSV Text Input File Changes
There are a few changes to the CSV Text input file from COMFEN 4.0. See the Knowledge Base article for more details.

  • Scenario definition: 14th field added to define Natural Ventilation (TRUE or FALSE)

  • Glazed Wall Assembly Definition: 8th field added to define Operating Type for the GWA.


Tips

New Location Utility Costs Equal to Zero
When you make a new location in the Location Library, the program will not automatically enter a utility cost for gas and electricity, so you need to input those values yourself if you want the Cost features in the program to work properly.


Known Bugs

If you find bugs, or if you think these have not been fixed, please do not hesitate to send an email to COMFENHelp@lbl.gov to report your findings. Getting feedback from users is how we improve the program.


Fixed Bugs
(from COMFEN 4.1.23 Beta, August 5, 2012)

If you find bugs, or if you think these have not been fixed, please do not hesitate to send an email to RDMitchell@lbl.gov to report your findings. Getting feedback from users is how we improve the program.

Comparison > Daylight > Plan Contour & 3D Contour
The units in the color legend showing the values of each contour line now correctly show the correct values for both and IP -- Lux (SI) and footcandles (IP).

Shading System Control -- On If High Glare
Shading Control type = On If High Glare no longer produces an Energy Plus error message.