Thursday, February 28, 2008


The Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) together with the Digital Design Consortium in the School of Architecture and Computer Science at the University of Minnesota will hold the ACADIA 2008 conference in Minneapolis.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Energy Plus Plug-In for AutoCAD

EnergyPlugged is an Autodesk AutoCAD plug-in to create and edit EnergyPlus input files. EnergyPlugged was conceived to improve and speed up EnergyPlus model creation without loosing control of it, preserving EnergyPlus' flexibility and allowing errors to be found.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

AutoCAD Architecture 2009 - Green Again!

Without making the argument whether AutoCAD Architecture is a valid BIM platform, or is just “Better for architects”, with this new release one can not but acknowledge the return of the very useful ability to export an ACA based model into gbXML format. This time, unlike with the version 2006 and prior, this is not a third party developed plug-in but is part of this version core functionality.
So why is this a big deal, or is it? Well ACA has one very peculiar object type. The e-space object is probably unlike any other ACA object, in terms of its capacity to serve as a fully customizable data container, as well as in its ability to be shaped with an ease that very closely resembles the functionality of SketchUp or the ease of Ecotect’s zones. Its geometry can be chiseled into almost any conceivable shape, but what really makes it unique in this version is the ability to assign surface enumerator types (analytical surface tags) to any bounding surfaces, including opening types, windows and doors, and export them as such for analysis to Green Building Studio.

Unfortunately, as this platform is being marketed as just a better drafting tool for those architects that still did not cross over to the other side, most e-space features are being underutilized. Their suitability for program evaluation (a minimum BIM compliancy requirement by GSA), FM required data encapsulation, and now the ability to create quick schematic design energy evaluation models places them in the category of objects that have no true competition in any of Autodesk’s offered BIM platforms. Not to exaggerate, but one can literally make e-spaces talk to the user and report any programmed relationship within the BIM model! (This example will be posted soon.)

In the next few weeks I will attempt to evaluate the quality of ACA’s 2009 gbXML file and its compliancy to gbXML schema 0.35, both in the Green Building Studio environment and hopefully with the new release of highly anticipated Ecotect 5.60 that will be able to import gbXML compliant files.
So, for anyone that wants to get their feet wet and evaluate their schematic design energy models at the early stages of their design process, the 2009 line of Autodesk architectural products is bringing some rather interesting improvements.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Alternative approach to carbon footprint reduction

UCLA chemists report a major advance in reducing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Prototype power plant shatters solar record

Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25% net efficiency rate.
(read more)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ECOTECT - Finally

After almost an entire month of waiting for the updated Ecotect web site, it is finally on line again. Updated tutorials and the latest news on that coveted 5.60 release, are just some of the features that are now accessible through the revamped Square One web site.

BIM – methodology that is redefining the building industry

An interesting article posted in AECbytes, about the role that BIM has and will have on the future of building industry. Prof. Chuck Eastman is one of the coauthors, and he can be, without any exaggeration, regarded as the godfather of building information modeling methodology.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Autodesk - Green and Carbon Neutral !!!

It was bound to happen. Another strategic purchase by the well known giant from San Rafael. This time, like some five years ago when another acquisition redefined the software of choice for BIM from ADT to Revit, they are reinventing their commitment to sustainability by another, in my opinion even more revolutionary, move.

Starting today, Autodesk has become a major player in the arena of building performance analysis by acquiring Green Building Studio Inc. , and by doing so the “Factory” can finally stake their claim in green building beyond green marketing.

Green Building Studio, Inc. offers the only web-based solution that provides immediate whole building energy and carbon analysis on any building design scheme. Their product, based on interpretation of gbXML encoded building geometry, allows designers to share information at all stages of design.

If the quality of information contained within most “BIM compliant” datasets ever had to undergo scrutiny of its applicability for delivering better buildings, it would be hard pressed to live up to the hype. Now, the virtual representation of the physical world is one step closer to become a major part of one’s digital building, and the grammar and the vocabulary needed is what Green Building Studio brings to the house of AutoDesk.

When the late Louis Kahn metaphorized architecture as frozen music, he could not have envisioned the decades of CAD/BIM induced white noise. This move by Autodesk represents an enormous opportunity for architects to start composing in harmony with the world around us.

(read more...)

Autodesk Launches New and Improved Solutions for Building Information Modeling

According to the latest press release this year might prove to be the pivotal in the way Autodesk approaches Building Information Modeling in conjunction with Building Performance Analysis ...

Revit Architecture 2009

Increased sustainable design and energy analysis capabilities through easy exchange with partner applications

Improved visualization functionality with the new Mental Ray engine for rendering, improving speed, quality, and usability

Revit MEP 2009

Air handlers, commercial condensing units, packaged rooftop units, and high-efficiency water source heat pumps

(read more)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Green Building Studio and the Biofuel Use CO2 offset

If your Green Building Studio analysis suggests the potential for Biofuel use as one of the solutions for offsetting CO2 footprint, you should definitely reed this article in R&D magazine....

Monday, February 04, 2008

gbXML Project Location and Revit

Location, location, location! These days, even with the real-estate market in peril, this seller’s mantra should still be relevant for anyone that is serious about their energy modeling practice and Revit’s model translation. When exporting your model to a gbXML compliant file, according to the Revit Architecture manual, all you need is the ZIP code and the building type. Well, not quite so as unfortunately, even though the latitude and longitude data is exported to gbXML, it does not relate to the project’s zip code but to the location that is determined via the advanced model graphics settings. And since the DOE 2.2 manual clearly states that hourly loads are the function of a building’s longitude and latitude one should take that extra step of synchronizing the ZIP code and sun location within Revit before translating Revit’s building geometry. Or, we can just hope that in one of the next installments of Revit BIM platforms the sun data and energy data will be automatically synchronized. You can easily verify the inherit discrepancy that is described above by opening the newly created gbXML file and verifying the “Campus” entries of the ZIP code, longitude and latitude.