Introduction

What is Necada

NECADA is an optimization software designed to find optimal designs in compliance with the rules of sustainability, minimizing the environmental, economic and social impacts throughout the entire life cycle of the building. Its computing power derives from the possibility of running simulations in cloud, cluster or desktop environments. The objective of this infrastructure is to find optimal values for various construction parameters and their associated impacts that reduce the demand or energy consumption of the building or urban area.

Public and private content

On NECADA we take care of your privacy. all the material that you are going to upload will be private. this means that novody but selected users will be able to access to this iinformation.

If you want to make any information public for the comunity you ca also do this. Be aware that making something public is irreversible, since we cannot control what happens with your data once is released.

Types of users

There are three types of users in Necada:
  • Not logged users
  • Company users
  • Results Viewer users

Not logged users

No loged users can see only the public NECADA features, being IDF files, projects, experiments or materials.

They will not be able to see the content that NECADA users have marked as private.

Company users

They can see the content marked as public by any user and all the private content created by themselves.

They can upload IDF files, create experiments, run them and see the results of those experiments.

They can create "Results Viewer" users and assign them to certain projects, so that they can consult the results of the experiments that contain those projects.

Results Viewer users

They can see the content marked as public of any user.

They can see the private content of projects whose owner has given them read permissions, but they can not modify anything.

How to obtain an account

To obtain a Necada account you can complete this form:
Get a Necada account

Necada Tour

Introduction

This section describes the basic elements needed in order to execute an experiment on the NECADA infraestructure for registered Company type users .

To obtain a Necada account follow the instructions described in the section How to obtain an account.

We will see:

  • How to upload an IDF Model file (Energy Plus Input Data File)
  • How to create a Project
  • How to create an Experiment
  • How to create a Permutation
  • How to execute an Experiment
  • How to view the results of an Experiment
  • How to create a Results Viewer user and assign it to the Project

Login

If it is not logged, the initial NECADA screen will look like this:

Necada Homescreen

You must enter your username and password. If it is correct, you will see the NECADA Dashboard:

Necada Dashboard Empty for loggined user

The name of the user appears in the upper right corner, in this example Company1.

If the user already had experiments executed, he would see them listed, and the result of the last experiment:

Necada with an executed experiment

Uploading an IDF Model file

In the previous step we logged into Optisim. If this is the first time we have entered the application, we will have no data to work with. So the first thing we will do is to upload a model of the building to Optimize it, using a file Energy Plus Input Data File (IDF) . Several programs allows to export to this format.

From the menu BIM Models we select the option Building Models:

Menu Building Models

Here the list with our uploaded IDF models will be shown:

Building Models List Not Empty

In our case, since there is no IDF model, the list will be empty:

Building Models List Empty

Hence, we click on the button 'Upload a new one'. the next form will be opened:

Import a new Building Model Empty Form

You must fill in the fields Name and Description. On Model file You must navigate to the folder where you have saved your model file (IDF file) and select it. The form, once filled in will look like this:

Import a new Building Model Filled Form

Is important to consider the last field Make this model public. If it is disabled, the model will be private, i.e. only visible to the user. If enabled, the model will be public, that is, visible to all users (whether they are registered in Necada or entered anonymously).

Public or Private Content

A later, the user will be able to change this field from private to public if he wishes. But the reverse process, ie, from public to private, will not be possible (you should contact the administrator of Necada).

If you now click the button Upload Model The IDF model will be added to the Necada system. The process can take a few seconds. Meanwhile, the application will be blocked and a message will be displayed::

Operation in Course

If the load ends correctly, a message will be displayed indicating:

Building Model Created in Necada

Two new fields appears: Test status y Validated. To be able to use the IDF model in experiments, it must be Validated. Next we are going to detail this.

Not tested nor validated

If we return to the list of IDF models we will see the model that we have just imported:

Building Models List Not Tested and Not Validated

IDF Model tested and validated

As has been said, in order to use the IDF model in projects and experiments, the IDF model must be in state Validated. NECADA takes care of the validation process automatically.

Each time the user raises a new IDF model, NECADA creates a validation experiment. All validation experiments are grouped together in the same project called BIM Validation Reports.

The projects are displayed by clicking on the menu option Projects:

Projects Menu

Since we have not yet created any project, only the project will be shown BIM Validation Reports:

BIM Validation Reports Project

If you click on the link marked in blue, we will see the detail of this project:

BIM Validation Reports Detail

Now click on the tab Experiments Where we will see the validation experiment that NECADA has created for the IDF model that we have uploaded:

BIM Validation Reports Experiments

We are interested in the column Status. There may be three states: Running, Completed Ok or Completed Error.

BIM Validation Reports Experiments Status

If you see the state in Running, you'll have to wait a few minutes for that experiment finish its run.

If you see the state Completed Error Is that the IDF model is not correct from NECADA's point of view. Cannot be used to create experiments.

If you see the state Completed Ok then the IDF model is correct and can be used to create experiments in NECADA. In this case, if you go back to the IDF model list you will see that the status of your IDF has changed:

Building Models List Tested and Validated

How to create a Project

now we have an IDF file, we can create a Proyecto, from it we can generate Experimentos. To do so we must click on the menu Projects:

Projects Menu

This shows a list of projects. At moment only one exists, BIM Validation Project, created by NECADA to perform the BIM validation process:

Projects List

We can add one with the button Create a new one:

Create a Project's empty form

We must fill the fields Name, Description y Public/Private:

Create a Project's filled form

Remember that once the project has been created, the user will only be able to change the public/private field from private to public. Once it is public, it can no longer be changed to private. And all that is public is visible by any user, even if it is not registered in NECADA.

Checkbox to create a Public/Private project

In this example we have left it as private (disabled), so that this project will only be visible to the user who created it (and for users of type Results Viewer) that we will create in the last step of this tutorial.

If you click the Create Project button, the project will be created and will show you the detail of that project, as well as a message indicating that it has been created correctly:

Project created ok

If we return to the list of projects, we will see two projects, the BIM validation project created automatically by NECADA, and the project that we have created:

Project List with two projects

Once the project has been created, before creating experiments, it is necessary to associate the experiment with an IDF model, with a Weather and add some constructive solution.

To add an IDF model, click on the Building modelstab. As we see, there are none:

Empty Building Models List of this Project

Click on the Assign a new Building Model button.

Choose one building model

Since we only have one building model (which we named IDF), we choose it and click the Associatebutton. It will show a message that everything went well and will show the model IDF added to the project:

Building Models List of this Project with one model

Now we add a constructive solution, clicking on the Constructing Solutionstab. Will show us a line up with the constructive solutions of the model IDF chosen in the tab Building models:

Associate a Constructing Solution for this Project

In this example we choose Fachada Aislamiento Exterior[127]. the text Fachada Aislamiento Exterior is the name of the constructive solution in the IDF file. The text [127] is the identifier on NECADA's system related with the IDF file. This identifier makes it possible to distinguish two constructive solutions with the same name, but which belong to two different IDF models.

If you click the button Associate we will see the chosen constructive solution added to the Project:

Constructing Solution associated to the Project

Then we will associate a climate file, clicking on weather Data. As we see, the list is empty:

Empty Weather Data list for this Project

The Weather data are files with data from weather. The user can upload his own files, although the administrator of NECADA has already uploaded files from several regions of the world. It is enough to choose one that corresponds to the climatic zone where the building would be located to simulate.

To do this click on Assign a new Weather Data and choose Barcelona.

Associate a existing Weather Data

The list of Weather Datas now shows a line:

Not empty Weather Data list for this Project

Once assigned these three elements (IDF model, constructing Solution and Weather Data), we can create an experiment. We'll do that in the next step.

How to create an Experiment

To create an experiment, we'll go to the tab Experiments:

Experiments list empty

As we see, there is no experiment.

To create one we will press the button Create a New Experiment.

New Experiment empty

We must give you a Name and Description. Decide whether it is public or private, and choose the IDF model that will serve as the basis for the experiments. The completed form would look like this:

New Experiment filled

Do we remember the Building models tab of the Project?

Building models of this project

In the model Name field We will be able to choose one of the models available in the previous list. In our example there is only one model, called IDF, so we select it.

If we press Create Experiment will create the experiment and see the detail:

Experiment detail

If we look again at the project's list of experiments, we will see that now there is a new line:

Project's Experiments list Not empty

The next step will be to create permutations.

How to create an Stage (or Permutation)

From the detail of an experiment:

Experiment detail

Press the Tab Permutations:

Experiment Permutations

This form is quite complex, in appearance.

Consists of four parts:

a) Loading a permutation file:

Upload Perm file

b) Download the permutations file:

Download Perm file

c) Optimization parameters

Optimization parameters

d) Definition of scenarios (also called Permutations):

Permutations

In this tutorial we will focus only on the last point, creating scenarios.

First of all, we have to add the IDF model to the Experiment (remember that it was first added to the Project). To do this press the button New Model

Add a model file to the experiment

Will only show us the models that have been added to the Project (tab Building Models).

In our case, we will choose the only available model, IDF, and press the Addbutton. It will show us a message that has been added correctly:

New Model added to the Experiment:  message

And we can see the new Grouppermutation. If we click on Group It expands to detail, showing the name of the IDF model:

Permutation detail

Then add a file of Weather (from those available in the Project):

Add new Weather

In our case, we choose the only available value, Barcelona.

NECADA will show us a message that it has been added correctly:

New Weather Data added

And we will see the new permutation as a second Group, on which we can click and see the detail:

Not empty

So far we have repeated the steps made with the Project. We need to add the constructive solution.

The goal of NECADA is to allow you to choose which constructive solution is most appropriate in terms of energy, social and economic impacts. Therefore, we are interested in comparing the constructive solution that was chosen when creating the Projectwith other constructive solutions (whether imported from an IDF model or created by the user or public of any user) so that we see what is more efficient.

In fact Necada allows to compare any of the available items. For example, you could rotate the building to see if another orientation would be more efficient (for example, because it receives more sun hours in your windows), or you could change the weather to check if that building is better behaved in a humid or dry environment.

In that example, however, we will focus only on swapping the chosen constructive solution in the project, swapping the solutions with two other existing constructive solutions.

Therefore, click the New Solutionbutton. The following form appears to us:

First Constructing Solution

As we see, in the first fold only a constructive solution Fachada Aislamiento Exterior[127]. It is the same constructive solution that was chosen when creating the Project ( Constructing Solutionstab). So we chose that constructive solution.

Now we open the second dropdown. It shows all the constructive solutions of the user (both public and private) and the public solutions of the rest of users:

Second Constructing Solution

We choose any one, for example Fachada doble hoja[127].

Not empty

With this we want to know what energy savings we would have if change Fachada Aislamiento Exterior[127] by Fachada doble hoja[127] in the building defined in the IDF model, for the climate zone chosen.

If we click on Add it will show us a message that has been added correctly, but with a warning about undefined sustainability parameters. This message can be quite long, in the image has been shortened. The important thing is that the swap has been added correctly.

New Construction Solution added

And we will see the new permutation as a third Group, on which we can click and see the detail:

Not empty

We see that there are other elements, headers, Sustainability Solutions and Sustainability Materials that are advanced topics.

Let's add another type of constructive solution, for example Fachada Aislamiento Exterior[127] by Fachada entramado madera[127].

New Constructing Solution Permutation

Now we can see two things. First, the number of permutations has increased to 2. Second, there is no new Group , but if we see the detail of the third (the constructive solutions), we see a new line for the Fachada entramado madera[127], the last permutation we added to the constructive solution Fachada Aislamiento exterior[127].

Two permutations

Each permutation (or scenario) has a cost of execution that the user will have to pay before running the experiment. The more permutations the experiment has, the more it will cost to execute.

In the next step we will see how to run in an experiment.

How to execute an Experiment

If you click on the Execution tab we will see the next screen:

Execute an Experiment

We can see that the experiment has two permutations. If you want to run it, simply click the Execute this experimentbutton, and NECADA will display a confirmation message:

Execute an Experiment: confirmation

Clicking Execute shows the total cost of the experiment:

Execute an Experiment: payment

If you click on Buy Now it will take us to the PayPal payment page. If we pay, we will return to the NECADA application and the experiment will begin to run.

Execute an Experiment: Queued

From there it will change state (it may take quite a while if the simulation is costly in time):

Execute an Experiment: Queued Execute an Experiment: Executing Execute an Experiment: Retrieving Results

And now or ends correctly:

Execute an Experiment: Ended ok

or (with a low probability) ends with errors:

Execute an Experiment: Ended with errors

In this example we will assume that it ended correctly. So the next step will be to see the results.

How to view the results of an Experiment

Since the experiment finished its execution correctly, let's see the results. To do this we will go to the Results tab of the Experiment:

Execute an Experiment: Results

Here we have the files generated by plotly (HTML graphics):

Execute an Experiment: Results as HTML Plotly files

Here we have the files with data in format R that can be downloaded:

Execute an Experiment: Results as R files

Finally, the list of scenarios (or permutations):

Execute an Experiment: Permutation list

In next updates of this manual we will describe in detail the different charts that can be obtained. just to mention that since the used can donwload the R files with all the data, there is no limitation of the analysis one can do.

How to create a Results Viewer user and assign it to the Project

It may be appropriate for the customer to allow other people to consult the results of their experiment. If the experiment is public, any user can consult (although not registered in NECADA).

But if the experiment is private, the only user who can see it is the owner. And since the user's account is personal and non-transferable, it is necessary that the owner can create users who will only be able to see the results of the experiments that the user wants to give access to.

These users who can only query data are called Results Viewers. Let's see how to create a user of this type.

In the user menu (Company1) choose My Users option:

The list of users cretated by the user (Company1 in our example) of type Results Viewer will be displayed :

As you can see, there is no user defined yet. Let's create one, by pressing the Create a new onebutton. The form will be displayed:

A Username and an emailmust be entered. In that email, the future user results Viewer will receive a link that will take she or he to NECADA, she or he you must enter the password to be used to grant the to access NECADA.

For example, we put as Username the value ResultsViewer1, and as the email of the future user:

If you press the Create Userbutton, the new user will be shown:

Note that the email appears in red. This is because the new user Results Viewer has received an email similar to this:

The future user results Viewer just has to click on the link and will see a screen similar to this:

Once the new user results Viewer enters the password she or he wants to use, will be shown this screen like this:

Now the new user Results Viewer can already login.

Returning to the list of users results Viewer, now the email has changed to green, indicating that the new user can already enter NECADA:

A newly created user Results Viewer is not assigned to any project. If you login, you can only see the public content (and that you could see even if you did not login). So in order to assure taht she or he can see the experiments you need to give them permission.

To do this, from the user list, click the Assignations button and this form is shown :

If we look at the columns, the first shows the first project, BIM Validation reports, which is a project that creates NECADA to validate each IDF file that is uploaded to the system. You can assign a results Viewer to this project, but it has no utility.

The rest of the columns are the projects that the user created. In our example there is only one project created, My First Project.

If we look at the rows, we have a row for each user results Viewer that the user created. In our case there is only one user, ResultsViewer1.

If you click on the second box, we assign the user ResultsViewer1 with the project My First Project:

If you click on the second box, we assign the user ResultsViewer1 with the project My First Project.

To save the changes you have to click on the button Assign users to projects

Now the ResultsViewer1 user can view all the experiments in the My First Project project.

And here ends the tutorial.