COMFEN 5 Beta
(
5.0.8 --May 17, 2013)

Release Notes
Updated: 05/17/13


New Features

Radiance Renderings for Electrochromic Glazing Systems
COMFEN can now generate a Radiance rendering of the Light and Dark state of a glazing system with an electrochromic glass layer. You can select which state you want the rendering to be generated for. 

Program Changes

Frame Library: Added Emissivity
There is now an input for Frame emissivity, which defaults to 0.9.

Radiance Renderings Now Saved
In previous versions of the program, the Radiance renderings were not saved between program sessions, or even between opening projects in the same session. COMFEN now saves the Radiance images so that you don't have to regenerate them if you close the program or open a new project.

The results are saved in

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\LBNL\COMFEN5\results\radiance\images_temp

List of Projects
The list of projects that appears in various situations (such as Project / Open Project), now shows the Location and the Building Type.

Fixed Bugs
(from COMFEN 5.0.5 Beta, January 1, 2013)

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.

Importing Project Using CSV files
In the previous version of COMFEN, when using a CSV file to import a set of project scenarios, the program would set the first scenario ID to 0, which would cause COMFEN to give an error message at the end of the simulation for that first record. This has been fixed in this version.

Frame Library: Default Frame Absorptance = 0.5
In previous versions, COMFEN defaulted the Frame Absorptance to 0.9, which is quite high. Now the program default is 0.5, and when the program opens old databases, this value will be migrated to 0.5. You can always change the value in the Frame Library if you determine that your frame should be defined with a different value. The program will put up a message when older databases are migrated, saying that the Absorptance will be changed.

Glazing System Library List: Too Many Decimal Points (!)
There were way too many decimal points displaying in the Glazing Library List view. This has been fixed.


COMFEN 5 Beta
(
5.0.5 -- January 1, 2013)


New Features

Electrochromics
COMFEN now has the ability to model electrochromic glazing systems. Click here for more details.

Scenario ID
Scenario IDs now start with ID # 1 for each different project. It is also now possible to edit the value of the Scenario ID, but the program will not sort on ID at this point (this will be fixed in subsequent versions).


Program Changes

Updating Database from COMFEN 4.0 or 4.1 to 5.0
COMFEN will automatically update your 4.0 or 4.1 database to be compatible with the 5 database structure the first time you open an older database in version 5. This includes adding all the cost fields to the new database, as well as default cost data. If you have any problems with updating an older COMFEN database to 5, please email COMFENHelp@lbl.gov

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 7
This version of COMFEN uses WINDOW 7 rather than WINDOW 6. All the necessary files to run the WINDOW 7 program are installed in the COMFEN subdirectory called W7, so it is no longer necessary to have WINDOW installed on your computer in order to calculate the glazing system properties or generate the BSDF file needed to run Radiance. The W7.mdb file used by COMFEN to calculate the glazing system properties are also updated to IGDB 25.4 so that all glass layers in COMFEN can be calculated.

Energy Plus 7.2
This version of COMFEN has been updated to use the latest version of Energy Plus, 7.2.

 


Tips


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.

Electrochromics

  • Glazing System: the program is currently only calculating the properties for the light state. This will be fixed in the next release.

  • Radiance Renderings: the program currently is not able to produce Radiance renderings for electrochromic glazing systems.


Fixed Bugs
(from COMFEN 4.1.25 Beta, October 4, 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.

Energy Plus Weather Files
Because this version of COMFEN uses Energy Plus 7.2, the new format Energy Plus weather files are included in the installation. Also, the weather files on the Energy Plus web site will now work with this version (while they won't work with COMFEN 4.0 or 4.1).


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


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.


COMFEN 4.0
(4.0.47 -- November 7, 2011)


New Features

Glazed Wall Assembly
In addition to modeling individual windows, COMFEN now has the capability of modeling "Glazed Wall Assemblies" which allow you to specify the number of horizontal and vertical framing members, as well as their spacing, and the program automatically generates the facade. Click here for more details.

Material Library

COMFEN now has a Material Library, which can be used in the Wall Construction and Spandrel Libraries. See the User Manual for more details.

Wall Library

COMFEN now has a Wall Library which can be used to build up layers from the Material Library to define a wall. See the User Manual for more details.

Spandrel Library

COMFEN now has a Spandrel Library which can be used to build up layers from the Material Library to define a spandrel, including glass and glazing systems as the outer-most layers. See the User Manual for more details.

Radiance Renderings -- Automatic Generation of  BSDF Files
It is no longer necessary to generate WINDOW 6 BSDF files "by hand" for the Radiance renderings. COMFEN now automatically generates those when it creates the renderings.

CSV Import Additions
Shading Systems and Glazed Wall Assembly components have been added to the CSV Import file options. Click here for a detailed description of how to create and use the CSV Import file features. There are two different formats for CSV files:

Double Click Adds Records to Glazing System Library
In addition to dragging Glass and Gas layers to a Glazing System, double clicking on the desired record will cause it to be added to the end of the Glazing System Construction list.

Hourly Report Option
There is now an option for specifying a series of hourly reports to be generated. See the User Manual for more details.

Economizer Added
An economizer mode has been added to the default Packaged Single Zone HVAC system, and the Economizer controls can be set in the Scenario Edit screen, under the Environment section.


Program Changes

Hospital Building Type Removed
Because of the complicated HVAC modeling assumptions for the Hospital building type, we have removed it from the program for now. We will add it back in when we have resolved the modeling issues.

Energy Plus Version 6.0
COMFEN has been updated to be using version 6.0 of Energy Plus

Peak Demand Calculation
The Peak Demand Calculation is now based on the co-incident peak demand for gas and electricity separately. The displayed results are now side-by-side bars rather than stacked bars. The program now ALWAYS includes the equipment (plug load) energy consumption in the peak demand calculations (there is no longer an option in Preferences/Energy Plus to include it or not).

Glass Library Updated to IGDB 19.0
The Glass Library in this version of COMFEN has been updated to the IGDB version 19.0

Site-To-Source Multiplier Default Changed to 1.0
The default Site-To-Source Multiplier in Preferences / Energy Plus has been changed from 3.18 to 1.0, as many users wanted to see the actual Site energy consumption for electricity rather than source. If you want to use a value other than 1.0, change it in Preferences / Energy Plus.

Frame Modeling for Frame U-values < or = 6.2 Watts/m2-K (1.1 Btu/h-ft2-F)
Right now, COMFEN has a maximum Frame U-factor value of 1.1 Btu/h-ft2-F. This is because of limitations in the Energy Plus calculation engine for highly conductive frames. We are working with the Energy Plus Development Team to resolve this issue, but it may be several months before a fix will be implemented in the Energy Plus program.


Fixed Bugs

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.

Fixed in 4.0.47

GWA Input Screen Scrollbars
For low resolution monitors (such as on laptops) the Glazed Wall Assembly input screen now has scroll bars so that you can get to the Done and Cancel buttons at the bottom. This has been fixed in 4.0.47

Radiance BSDF Problem with Windows XP Operating System
There was a problem generating the BSDF files for Radiance on the Windowx XP operating system, which has been fixed with version 4.0.47

Fixed in 4.0.45

Daylight Illuminance Map
The dimensions of the room/zone now display correctly on the Comparison / Summary screen.

Scroll Bar Slider on Shading System Library
In the Project Browser Libraries tab (left side of the screen) the Scroll Bar slider did not work. This has been fixed.

Overhang or Fin Does Not Display
If the Overhang or Fin was outside the exterior facade wall, it would not be displayed. This has been fixed.

Corrected CSV Export Units
There were bugs associated with the units being displayed in the CSV Export files. This has been fixed.


History of COMFEN 3.1 Releases