News Brief

SketchUp 8 Opens Up New Green Possibilities

SketchUp 8 introduces new features that will make it easier to run energy models and put buildings in their geophysical context.

Photo: Google

Google released SketchUp 8 on September 1, 2010, with a number of notable enhancements, many of which will make SketchUp more useful as a sustainable design tool. Environmentally speaking, the two big innovations with this release are volumes and geographical context. As with past versions, most of these features are available in the free product, but improved tools are reserved for SketchUp Pro.

SketchUp 8 improves support for defined volumes, which are needed to create accurate energy models, among other things. Volumes can now intersect and combine without losing their boundaries. In the past, to run EnergyPlus on a SketchUp model users had to trace over the model’s images to define the volumes for the energy calculations. Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) has improved on that recently with an energy modeling plug-in for SketchUp 7; this new version should further improve that workflow.

In SketchUp 8 users have direct access to geospatial data from Google Earth and Google Maps. “Models in SketchUp 8 can be built on top of high-res aerial photography, with terrain data from Google Earth,” explained Google’s Chris Cronin. Modelers can pull in street view images from Google Maps and even pull in models of adjacent buildings, including those built using Google’s online Building Maker application. All these features help connect digital models to their geophysical location. “Buildings thought about in context are better buildings,” noted Cronin.

SketchUp 8 also moves incrementally closer to being a stand-alone project delivery tool, with improved layout capabilities for design documents, and the ability to export DWG and DXF files from layouts.

For more information:

Google SketchUp


Published September 1, 2010

Malin, N. (2010, September 1). SketchUp 8 Opens Up New Green Possibilities. Retrieved from

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