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HiSim - Household Infrastructure and Building Simulator

HiSim is a Python package for simulation and analysis of household scenarios and building systems using modern components as alternative to fossil fuel based ones. This package integrates load profiles generation of electricity consumption, heating demand, electricity generation, and strategies of smart strategies of modern components, such as heat pump, battery, electric vehicle or thermal energy storage. HiSim is a package under development by Forschungszentrum Jülich und Hochschule Emden/Leer. For detailed documentation, please access ReadTheDocs of this repository.

Install Graphviz

If you want to use the feature that generates system charts, you need to install GraphViz in your system. If you don't have Graphviz installed, you will experience error messages about a missing dot.exe under Windows.

Follow the installation instructions from here:

(or simply disable the system charts)

Clone repository

To clone this repository, enter the following command to your terminal:

git clone

Virtual Environment

Before installing Hisim, it is recommended to set up a Python virtual environment. Let hisimvenv be the name of virtual environment to be created. For Windows users, setting the virtual environment in the path \Hisim is done with the command line:

python -m venv hisimvenv

After its creation, the virtual environment can be activated in the same directory:


For Linux/Mac users, the virtual environment is set up and activated as follows:

virtual hisimvenv source hisimvenv/bin/activate

Alternatively, Anaconda can be used to set up and activate the virtual environment:

conda create -n hisimvenv python=3.9
conda activate hisimvenv

With the successful activation, HiSim is ready to be locally installed.

Install package

After setting up the virtual environment, install the package to your local libraries:

pip install -e .

Optional: Set environment variables

Certain components might access APIs to retrieve data. In order to use them, you need to set the url and key as environment variables. This can be done with an .env file wihtin the HiSim root folder or with system tools. The environment variables are:


Run Simple System Setups

Run the python interpreter in the HiSim/system_setups directory with the following command:

python ../hisim/


python ../hisim/

This command executes on the setup function setup_function implemented in the files and that are stored in HiSim/system_setups. The results can be visualized under directory results created under the same directory where the script with the setup function is located.

Run Basic Household System setup

The directory HiSim/system_setups also contains a basic household configuration in the script It can be executed with the following command:

python ../hisim/

The system is set up with the following elements:

  • Occupancy (Residents' Demands)
  • Weather
  • Photovoltaic System
  • Building
  • Heat Pump

Hence, photovoltaic modules and the heat pump are responsible to cover the electricity the thermal energy demands as best as possible. As the name of the setup function says, the components are explicitly connected to each other, binding inputs correspondingly to its output sequentially. This is difference then automatically connecting inputs and outputs based its similarity. For a better understanding of explicit connection, proceed to session IO Connecting Functions.

Generic Setup Function Walkthrough

The basic structure of a setup function follows:

  1. Set the simulation parameters (See SimulationParameters class in hisim/hisim/
  2. Create a Component object and add it to Simulator object
    1. Create a Component object from one of the child classes implemented in hisim/hisim/components
      1. Check if Component class has been correctly imported
    2. If necessary, connect your object's inputs with previous created Component objects' outputs.
    3. Finally, add your Component object to Simulator object
  3. Repeat step 2 while all the necessary components have been created, connected and added to the Simulator object.

Once you are done, you can run the setup function according to the description in the simple system setup run.

Package Structure

The main program is executed from hisim/hisim/ The Simulator( object groups Component s declared and added from the setups functions. The ComponentWrapper( gathers together the Components inside an Simulator Object. The Simulator object performs the entire simulation under the function run_all_timesteps and stores the results in a Python pickle data.pkl in a subdirectory of hisim/hisim/results named after the executed setup function. Plots and the report are automatically generated from the pickle by the class PostProcessor (hisim/hisim/postprocessing/

Component Class

A child class inherits from the Component class in hisim/hisim/ and has to have the following methods implemented:

  • i_save_state: updates previous state variable with the current state variable
  • i_restore_state: updates current state variable with the previous state variable
  • i_simulate: performs a timestep iteration for the Component
  • i_doublecheck: checks if the values are expected throughout the iteration

These methods are used by Simulator to execute the simulation and generate the results.

List of Component children

Theses classes inherent from Component ( class and can be used in your setup function to customize different configurations. All Component class children are stored in hisim/hisim/components directory. Some of these classes are:

  • RandomNumbers (
  • SimpleController (
  • SimpleSotrage (
  • Transformer (
  • PVSystem (
  • CHPSystem (
  • Csvload (
  • SumBuilderForTwoInputs (
  • SumBuilderForThreeInputs (
  • ToDo: more components to be added

Connecting Input/Outputs

Let my_home_electricity_grid and my_appliance be Component objects used in the setup function. The object my_apppliance has an output ElectricityOutput that has to be connected to an object ElectricityGrid. The object my_home_electricity_grid has an input ElectricityInput, where this connection takes place. In the setup function, the connection is performed with the method connect_input from the Simulator class:


Configuration Automator

A configuration automator is under development and has the goal to reduce connections calls among similar components.

Post Processing

After the simulator runs all time steps, the post processing ( reads the persistent saved results, plots the data and generates a report.

Contributions and Collaborations

HiSim welcomes any kind of feedback, contributions, and collaborations. If you are interested in joining the project, adding new features, or providing valuable insights, feel free to reach out (email to and participate in our HiSim developer meetings held every second Monday. Additionally, we encourage you to utilize our Issue section to share feedback or report any bugs you encounter. We look forward to your contributions and to making meaningful improvements. Happy coding!


MIT License

Copyright (C) 2020-2021 Noah Pflugradt, Leander Kotzur, Detlef Stolten, Tjarko Tjaden, Kevin Knosala, Sebastian Dickler, Katharina Rieck, David Neuroth, Johanna Ganglbauer, Vitor Zago, Frank Burkard, Maximilian Hillen, Marwa Alfouly, Franz Oldopp, Markus Blasberg

You should have received a copy of the MIT License along with this program. If not, see

About Us

Institut TSA

We are the Institute of Energy and Climate Research - Techno-economic Systems Analysis (IEK-3) belonging to the Forschungszentrum Jülich. Our interdisciplinary institute's research is focusing on energy-related process and systems analyses. Data searches and system simulations are used to determine energy and mass balances, as well as to evaluate performance, emissions and costs of energy systems. The results are used for performing comparative assessment studies between the various systems. Our current priorities include the development of energy strategies, in accordance with the German Federal Government’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, by designing new infrastructures for sustainable and secure energy supply chains and by conducting cost analysis studies for integrating new technologies into future energy market frameworks.

Contributions and Users

Development Partners:

Hochschule Emden/Leer inside the project "Piegstrom".

4ward Energy inside the EU project "WHY"


This work was supported by the Helmholtz Association under the Joint Initiative "Energy System 2050 A Contribution of the Research Field Energy" .

For this work weather data is based on data from "German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst-DWD)" and "NREL National Solar Radiation Database" (License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License); individual values are averaged.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 891943.

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