Skip to main content

3D Reality Energy Modeling Software

by Brett C Bass, Joshua R New, Drury Crawley
Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

The team will combine Bentley Systems’ ContextCapture and extend Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s building energy modeling capabilities in order to create digital twins of buildings that allow simulation-informed improvement for energy efficiency and demand response in the design and operation of the built environment.

Bentley Systems’ ContextCapture software processes data from 3D laser scanning and photographs (through photogrammetry) to create a photorealistic, 3D mesh with a scale of individual objects to building to city-sized. This capability easily provides city-level visualization models and platforms where sustainable design alternatives are readily evaluated.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) serves the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) as one of three core laboratories developing building energy modeling tools EnergyPlus and OpenStudio. ORNL’s AutoBEM software ( can process imagery (satellite, aerial, and street level), LiDAR, cartographic layers, tax assessor’s data, and other data sources to extract building footprints, height, window-to-wall ratio, building type, vintage, and other building properties. AutoBEM has created 178,368 building energy models that were empirically validated with 15-minute whole-building electrical data from a utility.