So, you’ve managed to build some cool masses of your early design. What now? While this is not fresh news, it just makes sense to highlight some of the things you can now do with a Revit to study your designs from an energy performance perspective.

It has been said that nearly 60% of the possible energy reductions possible as compared to a base design can be achieved by decisions made in the first two weeks of form finding. This is before the architect has even begun to thing about glazing types, or involved an engineer to approach the problem with systems.

There are really two easy approaches to getting at this data. They involve place, and of course orientation. For example, there’s the sun, which can make or break a design, and then there’s other climate factors and the cost of energy for your region.

Starting first with orientation, depending on the climate, you will want to either avoid or capture direct incident solar radiation – insolation for short. This can be accomplished with the Solar Radiation tool. This freely available tool, found through Autodesk Labs will let you understand the hotpots based on daily peaks, hourly, or averages over a period of time. So for LasVegas, it would be good to look at the summer. You’ll want to avoid situations like this: Death Ray.

Climate data, now readily accessible through Revit using the subscription advantage pack for Revit Architecture and Revit MEP 2011 connects you to over 5TB (yes as in terabytes) of worldwide climate data from weather stations. You can place your building on the Earth, make some basic assumptions about percentage of glazing, shading devices, and use. Waving a magic wand (OK, starting the Analyze Model tool) pushes your design to the cloud, it will be analyzed in Green Building Studio and you can get real comparative analysis. Yes, this supports the Revit design options. This report also, of course includes costs and potential for on-site renewables and passive strategies.

Where it all comes together

So, you say you are not on subscription, well have no fear, because for a time, these are all available for the low, low price of FREE in a standalone package, with the bonus of massing and rendering. Vasari, is a preview of a Revit Lite if you will, allowing designers to have the early tools without all the other project overhead associated with a full-featured documentation tool. So, if you haven’t tried Revit or Green Building Studio, now’s your chance. You’ll never look back. But don’t take my word…

Go to: http://labs.autodesk.com/utilities/vasari/

Additional reading:

http://insidethefactory.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/11/weve-been-busy.html

Revit Subscription – More Tools for Sustainable Design – The Sustainable Design Toolbox.

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