Conceptual Energy Analysis in Autodesk Revit Architecture

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One of the arguments being levied today regarding sustainable design is whether appropriate consideration is given to site and energy analysis sooner rather than later. With green building codes being adopted nationally and the draft of LEED 2012 open for public comment, it would appear that this should now be considered a priority for project teams, sooner rather than later. In fact, LEED 2012 rating systems start with a brand new category – Integrated Process, awarding credit for project teams holding charrettes, team meetings and conducting a thorough site assessment. Additionally, the Sustainable Sites category is being split, with a reduction in the type of sites that can be considered and a more focused direction towards urban development and redevelopment.

Many professionals argue the inherent difficulties with assembling a project team as early as the preliminary design phase. Or they believe proper site and energy analysis merely involves proper orientation of the project on the site. Neither of these defenses are valid for sustainable projects. Many sites offer few or no options for site orientation, urban redevelopment being a prime example. With the available engineering options today, such as BIM software, there should be no excuse for not performing early site and energy analysis. Autodesk acquired Revit in 2002 from Revit Technology Corporation. Having purchased Revit prior to the Autodesk acquisition and being a member of Autodesk’s Revit Beta Testing Team, I’ve been witness to the maturation of the Revit family into one of the leading BIM solutions today. In a move to enable architects and engineers to design more sustainable projects, Autodesk acquired Ecotech and Green Building Studio in 2008. Certainly there are other solutions available today than the offerings from Autodesk, the point is there are solutions that allow intelligent site and energy assessment at the preliminary design phase.    

A building’s sustainability is largely determined by key decisions made at the early conceptual design stage. In fact, according to Autodesk, 80 percent of a project’s environmental impact is determined by decisions made in the design phase. That’s the motivation behind the new Revit Conceptual Energy Analysis tool for Autodesk Revit Architecture and Autodesk Revit MEP. This new capability allows architects and engineers to automatically convert architectural conceptual designs into analytical energy models. Available within Autodesk Revit Architecture and Autodesk Revit MEP, Revit Conceptual Energy Analysis helps architects and engineers gain insight into the energy consumption and costs of multiple design options at the early conceptual stage. 

With the new Revit Conceptual Energy Analysis tool, architects can quickly convert conceptual design models into rich analytical energy models, and conduct integrated whole building energy analysis within Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011. As an early design concept changes, the energy model and conceptual massing forms are updated accordingly. This makes it possible to continuously conduct energy and carbon analysis and compare design alternatives. Highly visual analysis reports make it easier to understand and communicate the impact of design changes to project stakeholders. These integrated early analyses help make more informed decisions in the conceptual design phase when changes are least expensive.

Autodesk recently released the Conceptual Energy Analysis in Revit Architecture Screencast, which consists of five (5) videos, also available in the video gallery located here.

  • Introduction to Conceptual Energy Analysis in Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Creating Settings for a Conceptual Energy Analysis in Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Conducting a Conceptual Energy Analysis in Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Modifying Masses to Optimize Energy Analysis Results in Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Comparing Conceptual Energy Analysis Results in Autodesk Revit Architecture

Key Features Include:

  • Integrated energy analysis – Automatically rationalize concept models into energy models for analysis. As the conceptual design evolves, the energy model updates automatically.
  • Cloud computing – Energy analysis is performed remotely through cloud computing, so a designer’s local PC is available to process design modifications and perform other work after initiating the analysis.
  • Graphical results – Evaluate design options side-by-side based on reports that compare energy use, life cycle costs and breakdowns of consumption and loads. Communicate and deliver easy-to-understand graphical and raw data results to project stakeholders.
  • Web-based climate data – Access a high-resolution global climate data set with more than 1.5 million weather data sets.
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