October 9 2008

IES Sketchup Plugin: A Quick Tool for Building Performance Simulation

Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd (IES) has developed a building performance simulation plug-in linking 'Virtual Environment' to Google's Sketchup that 'empowers energy, carbon, daylight and solar analysis, and much more to be undertaken at the touch of a few buttons, right from the earliest stages of the design process, where the maximal difference to sustainable design can be achieved.' The product toolbars sit within the Sketchup application and allow 'direct access' to the entire suite of 'Virtual Environment' tools. Furthermore the software works with both the free and professional versions of Sketchup. The beauty of this software is that it allows for quick analysis of building masses using the simple drawing tools within Sketchup in lieu of more cumbersome modeling tools found in many building simulation software packages.

The IES Virtual Environment plugin is actually one component of a larger set of tools that make up the Virtual Environment suite. In addition to the plugin for Sketchup, IES has designed a plugin for Revit Architecture as well as a standalone interface. There is a free tool for newer users called VE-Ware that is designed specifically for yearly energy, carbon and Architecture 2030 Challenge Assessment. Upgrading to the full toolkit enables more advanced tools including thermal simulation shading and bulk airflow analysis to name a few.

VE is closely related to other building performance simulation software such as Ecotect, eQuest, EnergyPlus, and Green Building Studio. For more information please visit the product website.

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