EnergyPlus simulations with the free OpenStudio plugin for Google SketchUp

Link via U.S. Department of Energy

OpenStudio is a free plugin for the Google SketchUp 3D drawing program. The plugin makes it easy to create and edit the building geometry in your EnergyPlus input files. The plugin also allows you to launch EnergyPlus simulations and view the results without leaving SketchUp.

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The Department of Energy just opened up $346 million in stimulus funds for boosting the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings — but ultimately the agency’s chief, Steven Chu, wants energy efficiency, and other elements of green building, to be incorporated into structure designs from the get-go by way of an open-source software platform.

This idea isn’t entirely new. The DOE already provides energy modeling software called EnergyPlus, which simulates building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation and other energy flows. The program and source code can be licensed at no charge or up to $2,500, depending on whether someone is the end user or planning to distribute the technology.

There’s also a free plug-in for Google’s 3D Sketchup drawing program, called OpenStudio, which helps integrate the program with EnergyPlus,

Google SketchUp Pro 7 is available at a student discount price of $49.

Google SketchUp Pro 7 is free for instructors.

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