I have been wanting to share my personal observations regarding a question that I’ve heard about conceptual design and energy analysis: Which is better, Autodesk’s Project Vasari or IES’ Virtual Environment (VE)?
|Vasari output could be more useful|
In a nutshell:
- Depth and Breadth of Analysis: Hands down IES VE allows much more advanced analysis and simulations. I’m not sure how you can explore radiant floor heating in Vasari or seriously explore daylighting impacts on annual energy consumption.
- Usability: Vasari may be limited but it offers a much more intuitive and user-friendly environment. For example, something simple like setting your project location is done through latitude and longitudes in IES VE while in Vasari you get an interactive Google Map where you just type a street address.
- Weather Files: The climate is a major driver of energy analysis results. Vasari has access to Autodesk’s Climate Server, which offers an incredible number of weather files that are more likely to be closer to your project location and thus more representative of the actual site’s climate.
- Reports: IES VE’s reports are better. Divided in three columns, reports provide an easy to understand visual summary of analysis, the middle column provides numerical representation of results and the last column suggests strategies. Vasari energy reports, on the other hand, really only give you the middle column but nothing more.
- Workflow: Project Vasari uses the same conceptual engine as Revit, and as such presents a direct path between analysis and documentation. IES VE ties to Trelligence Affinity and as such requires you to learn two different tools.
|IES reports are better laid out and more useful|
So what is my veredict? In terms of conceptual stage energy analysis, Project Vasari offers an intuitive and valuable design tool to explore design options early and easily create and run energy simulations. The reports that are generated by Vasari, could learn a trick or two from those generated by IES VE and daylighting tools should be developed for Vasari to offer more reliable insights into the trade-offs between window sizes, associated heat loss and daylighting energy savings. As pointed out, IES VE has some notable strengths, but as I see it, will remain in the realm of the energy modeler, not the architect.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am employed by a company that is a reseller for both Autodesk and Trelligence software. I emphasize that these are my personal impressions, not the views from my employer. Learn more about Autodesk Lab’s Project Vasari or IES Virtual Environment and feel free to add to this conversation if you have tried both tools.