Software Tools for Architects

Rendering: Metalmoon


Design-stage tools for modeling the appearance and performance of projects are getting better all the time. They’re getting smarter, too, and more user-friendly for people without an engineering degree.

But there is no substitute for understanding how your building works, and being able to squint-test the results from any simulation. Knowing what each tool is good for—and how to leverage its strengths—is one key to effective performance simulation.

The other is knowing what questions to ask so you don’t waste time modeling scenarios that don’t matter.

  • Shoebox Energy Modeling: How to Do Quick, Early Simulations


    Most whole building energy simulations require a mechanical system design, making them unsuitable for early-design modeling. In response, architects and energy modelers are turning to shoebox models, with one or just a few zones.

    Not doing energy modeling yourself? This webcast will familiarize you with concepts that will help you get more out of your energy modeler, whether it is someone on your staff, or an outside consultant.

  • Whole-Building Life Cycle Assessment: Promises and Pitfalls


    Whole-building life-cycle assessment (WBLCA) promises improved performance with reduced environmental impacts. Yet in practice it can bog projects down with confusing or even conflicting priorities, complicated by mountains of data.

    BuildingGreen has arranged for four widely respected practitioners to share their LCA expertise, taking you from big-picture questions—Why should I worry about embodied impacts?—to practical details—How can I get good data on my building's concrete mix?