A Great Week for Building Performance

Today has been a great day for building performance and simulation. There have been three exciting announcements in the past 48 hours, relating to Autodesk products:

  • The Solar Radiation add-in is now available for Revit through Autodesk Labs
  • Energy Analysis for Dynamo alpha version has been released 
  • EnergyPlus has been “Raised to the power of the cloud”

Solar Radiation add-in

After a few years of having the capability available in Vasari, solar radiation is now available in Revit via Autodesk Labs. Solar radiation is a first step to optimizing building performance by understanding self-shading and context shading for glazing, envelope and zone optimization. The ease of use and ability to quickly narrow in on different seasons from the weather file, make this great news.

Energy Analysis for Dynamo

This is another very exciting development. Energy Analysis for Dynamo (available through the Dynamo daily build, Package Manager) provides amazing promise to simplify the current iterative and tedious workflow of preparing a conceptual model for analysis in Vasari. 
A common problem has been that it takes too many clicks to customize things like window to wall ratios, glazing and shade depth for conceptual masses. Even using shortcuts like schedules and right click- Select Related Surfaces, once the building geometry is changed (or another design option is created), it’s back to square one. This is specially problematic when departing from the global Energy Settings template. Not anymore!
By using Dynamo and the new nodes, there are now powerful ways to automate the optimization of glazing, shading depth, space types and many more. This promises to greatly empower Vasari, which has been a somewhat stagnant product over the past year. We hope this leads to development of Climate analysis tools as well as other shortcomings of Autodesk Vasari like the placement of vertical shading for energy modeling.

EnergyPlus in the cloud

One would venture to guess that Autodesk is getting ready to switch out the DOE2 engine for EnergyPlus soon. A beta is now available to first “approved” 100 participants to try running energy models in the cloud. This is good news to those running complex simulations, as it allows energy modelers to surpass the limits of their physical hardware and tap into the power of the cloud to run as many simulations as they would like and get results back quickly.

These recent developments are welcome news and we hope they continue to build momentum to offer designers the very best workflows to design the best buildings.

Edwin Guerra is a Building Performance and Structural Consultant at Summit Technologies, a leading provider of BIM technology consulting services and software in Western Canada. You can find Summit Technologies on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Edwin Guerra


Edwin is a BIM Consultant focusing on Building Performance and Structural Design with Summit Technologies, a leading provider of BIM consulting services based in Vancouver, BC. Edwin’s extensive knowledge of Revit, Dynamo, Navisworks, Bluebeam, Ecotect, Green Building Studio and Autodesk Vasari, is complemented by a passion for Green Building Design.

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