McDonald, Christopher Ernest (2007-08). Framework for a Visual Energy Use System. Master's Thesis.
The goals of this research include developing and identifying software technologies, which facilitate the use of buildings described in Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools in both a simulation and visualization. The study focused on the development of a tool to fulfill the visualization needs of a Visual Energy Use System. To accomplish this, the study identified an open BIM file standard, the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). The study also identified a video game based 3D virtual environment, the Doom 3 Engine. A tool developed during the study, IFCtoMAP, converts IFC data into the .MAP file format understood by the Doom 3 Engine. Finally, the study identified the IFCtoIDF utility, which translates IFC data into a format understood by the building energy simulation program EnergyPlus. Data from the Building Information Modeling tool Revit Building exports to the .IFC file format, which in turn drives the two conversion utilities IFCtoMAP and IFCtoIDF. The output of the IFCtoIDF tool consists of an .IDF file that EnergyPlus uses to perform an energy simulation. The output of the IFCtoMAP tool consists of a .MAP file, which the Doom 3 game engine uses to display three dimensional first person perspective visualization. The result of the study was the successful creation of an automated tool that converts building geometry found in .IFC files into the .MAP file format understood by Doom 3 game engine. This document details the methods employed by the IFCtoMAP software along with a brief discussion of the IFCtoIDF conversion utility.