Autodesk Unveils New Sustainable Design Applications at Greenbuild

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At the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this week in New Orleans, Autodesk unveiled several new sustainable design applications on Autodesk Labs, the AEC and media software company’s testing site.

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The new releases include 3 new apps that help building and infrastructure project teams cost-justify sustainability strategies and 2 new apps that bring tighter integration between Building Performance Analysis (BPA) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows for Autodesk Revit and Autodesk FormIt, a mobile conceptual design application.

“Autodesk’s aim is to empower architects and engineers to design and build the highest performing buildings possible by delivering solutions that are intuitive to use and trustworthy,” said Emile Kfouri, Director of Building Performance Analysis.

Autodesk unveiled 3 new applications that help building and infrastructure project teams explore the cost implications of more efficient designs:

Energy Cost Range (ECR), available here on Autodesk Labs, is a single, simple indicator of a project’s overall potential energy use range, including comparison to the Architecture 2030 sustainability benchmark, and the key factors that influence it. A flexible new dashboard interface within Revit, called Project Solon (available on Autodesk Labs), allows users to more easily see and better understand the complex interplay of various design factors that affect building performance. Using the stock dashboards provided by Autodesk, a designer’s work will be informed by results using a range of predefined building features (wall/roof insulation, glazing, daylight controls) and defaults based on American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers’ standards. When more detailed work is required, the designer or an experienced analyst can easily customize the automated simulation settings and deploy custom dashboards for company Revit users.

The Energy Cost Range tool shown here indicates total energy costs per sq. ft. per year in US dollars for a particular building design. Changes in the ECR due to design alterations are revealed in real-time. - See more at:

The Energy Cost Range tool shown here indicates total energy costs per sq. ft. per year in US dollars for a particular building design. Changes in the ECR due to design alterations are revealed in real-time.

Autodesk previously introduced ECR based on preliminary building size and geographic location in the Autodesk FormIt mobile app; now that ECR is passed through and refined within the Revit BIM design platform,.ECR now combines DOE2 simulations from the building model along with multiple pre-computed DOE2 whole-building energy simulations to provide more robust results.

This new way to collaborate, experiment and present results in terms of an Energy Cost Range allows for more meaningful conversations between architectural and engineering design teams and buiilding owners. Since it’s a range, designers can have confidence in the analysis and manage the risk of discrepancies which invariably arise from a building’s ultimate operational use. And since it starts in FormIt and continues in Revit, ECR establishes a basis for continuous, iterative decision-making to drive improved energy performance from the earliest stages and throughout the design process.

Project ECMFin is a technology preview, available here on Autodesk Labs, that allows users to conduct financial analyses on desired energy conservation measures (or ECMs). Project ECMFin enables users to compare scenarios across financial metrics such as Net Present Value, energy savings payback period, internal rate of return, return on investment, and many others, thereby helping users to create a business case for retrofit measures and other building costs.

AutoTBL, a new app coming soon here on Autodesk Labs, automates triple bottom line cost-benefit analyses for low-impact storm water strategies inside AutoCAD Civil 3D and Autodesk InfraWorks 360.

A new Solar Analysis plugin for Revit: Solar analysis is another important factor that is closely related to energy and daylighting analysis and is critical for designers to consider at all stages of a project. The new Solar Analysis plugin for Revit, available on Autodesk Labs, calculates solar exposure on surfaces using the specific annual hourly climate data from Autodesk’s Climate Server, which pulls in data from weather stations around the world. This is useful for building envelope and shading optimization as well as maximizing the use of silicon crystalline photovoltaics.

EnergyPlus Cloud Service: EnergyPlus is the world’s most advanced energy simulation engine, but computational requirements for large and complex models can be prohibitively time-consuming. Autodesk is announcing the forthcoming availability of an EnergyPlus cloud service, which based on initial Autodesk internal testing, can process EnergyPlus models 5x-10x faster than desktop processing.

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