DesignBuilder Support Building Performance Analysis Software

DesignBuilder Support

Greenplan support policy

  • Annual licences include remote technical support by Greenplan during office hours, for matters inherent to the software, free of charge within reasonable limits.
  • Perpetual licences include remote technical support by Greenplan during office hours, for matters inherent to the software, free of charge for the first year after purchase within reasonable limits.
  • Exclusions: All student personal licences, Design Builder Version 3.x, perpetual licence after its first year, any project-related modelling assistance, software installation support beyond eight hours per licence, all other support beyond two hours of an incident or two hours per week per customer.
  • For all exclusions, an hourly fee of R 575/h (incl. VAT) applies.


DesignBuilder provides a powerful interface to the EnergyPlus building analysis tool, which allows users to design and analyse all aspects of a building including energy consumption, daylighting, HVAC, airflow and thermal comfort. Navigating through the interface and translating the occasional error codes could be daunting at times. Here we try to answer most of the common questions relating to the DesignBuilder interface.


  • How can I find out more about the DesignBuilder software and prices?
    Contact Greenplan Consultants to obtain the latest DesignBuilder prices or see our prices online for the most popular packages.

  • Where can I find information regarding technical issues in DesignBuilder?
    For a list of the most commonly found issues in DesignBuilder, please consult the Knowledgebase page on the DesignBuilder UK website.


  • What is the difference between a network licence and "single-user" packages?
    A network licence (site licence + module seat licences) has the site licence installed on a single server in the organisation, which manages the licence seats for each module. Seats of a module refers to the number of persons that can use that module simultaneously, each on their own computer.
  • How do I move an existing DesignBuilder single-user licence from an old to a new computer?
    First you need to deactivate your licence from the current computer before you uninstall the software. After you have completed this step, you can install DesignBuilder on the new computer and reactivate the licence.
  • I am using DesignBuilder v 4.7 for Part XA modelling. I want to upgrade to a newer version. You only sell V. 6 licences but the latest Agrement certified version is V. 5. Am I now stuck on V. 4 until Version 6 is certified?
    No. Version 6 licences also activate Version 5 software - so you can buy a V.6 licence, install V.5 and activate it with the V. 6 licence. When v.6 is certified in future, you can deactivate V. 5, uninstall V. 5 then install V. 6 and finally activate it. There is no upgrade fee since you would already own a V. 6 licence.
  • How do I deactivate my licence in version 4, 5 or 6?
    Note: Remote licence deactivation is not available after DesignBuilder Version 3!

    DesignBuilder V.4/5/6 licence deactivation can only be executed from within DesignBuilder’s License Manager dialog (Help->License) by selecting the activation code to be deactivated on the ‘Activation Code’ tab and pressing the ‘Deactivate’ button.

    If the code is not displayed, then the ‘Reset’ button should be used instead. An internet connection is required during the deactivation and activation process.

    Uninstalling DesignBuilder will not automatically deactivate the licence from the machine.

    If you have uninstalled DesignBuilder but need to release the activation code so it can be used on another machine, then you should first reinstall the same version of DesignBuilder as previously installed on the machine, then follow the deactivation process described above.


  • Where can I find help on how to model in DesignBuilder
    The DesignBuilder U.K. website has many online videos and tutorials available showing you how to do most of the things you need for creating models. Please consult the relevant section of the DesignBuilder help manual available from within your DesignBuilder software.
  • What do I need to do SANS 10400-XA rational assessment/design?
    In order to be capable of performing and signing-off SANS 10400-XA assessments, you will require:
    • A copy of the SANS 10400 standard.
    • A copy of the SANS 204 standard.
    • Attendance of an approved SANS 10400-XA training course.
    • Preferably attendance of a course in using the software package you choose to use.

    Note that DesignBuilder Version 5 is certified for SANS 10400 Part XA rational design (Agrément Certificate 2018/584).


  • Abnormal Termination error.

    "Abnormal EnergyPlus termination. Please contact DB support"

    This error is usually caused by small calculations errors during the transcription of the model into the EnergyPlus environment. The primary causes for this error include:

    • Holes in the floors which do not line up precisely with the corresponding hole in the ceiling below.
    • Windows that are too close to facade edges and risk exceeding the usable surface area.
    • Component blocks that interfere with each other or building blocks.
  • File Corruption
    Some DesignBuilder users have reported problems with .dsb files becoming corrupted. You may see a message like:

    "Error loading file
    This could be caused by trying to read a file created in a more recent version of the software or because the file is corrupt. If you think the file is corrupt you should be able to find incremental backups in the DesignBuilder Data\Backup folder."

    There are various possible reasons for this:

    • Removable flash drives (USB data sticks)
      Removing data sticks (flash drives) from the computer while a write operation is still in progress can cause files to be corrupted.

    • Error in file compression
      This can be checked for by opening the .dsb file in WinZip, WinRAR or other compression/decompression software. If it opens OK then compression is not the problem. Problems with compression may be caused by conflicts with other software installed on the system. If this is the cause then you can work with the .skh (uncompressed) format.

    • Bugs in some versions of the software can cause problems opening .dsb files
      It may be worth trying a later version of the software to see if it can read a corrupt file.

    If, having followed the above advice, you are still unable to open a file you could try sending it to DesignBuilder Support Desk to see if the developers are able to recover it.

    Learning resources

    For additional information on the software, you can also visit the DesignBuilder website. The site offers several free online tutorials, webinars and additional learning resources (including course material from MIT), explaining the software in more detail. There is also free access to the knowledgebase and public forums.

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