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Sefaira Introduces Real-time Energy Analysis for SketchUp and Support for Revit

By Michael Leighton Beaman
December 3, 2013
Image courtesy Sefaira
Sefaria's web-based service generates a profile of each building model's energy flow. 

Today, Sefaira, an energy analysis service for digital building models, launched support for Autodesk Revit. Following the release of their real time analysis plugin for SketchUp in November, Sefaira is intensifying its efforts to integrate energy analysis and performance visualization into the digital design workflow. These new products provide “early and frequent analysis, so analysis can shape design,” says CEO Mads Jensen.

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The SketchUp plugin is a fast, lightweight complement to Sefaira’s more robust web-based analysis service, which was introduced in 2012. The Sefaira for SketchUp plugin utilizes the same computational power as the Sefaira web application, to provide real-time feedback as changes are made to a three-dimensional model. Designers can quickly test massing, fenestration, shading, and orientation strategies early in the design stage by altering the model in SketchUp, and comparing results. Sefaira’s software relies on data describing the building’s location, program, and the digital model itself to derive performance predictions. Quick feedback is favored over depth of analysis and results mainly focus on heat transfer through the building envelope.

The web-based service provides a more comprehensive evaluation of both Revit and SketchUp models. It can handle denser, more sophisticated models, providing a detailed breakdown of building performance, including seasonal peak energy loads and water usage. It also allows designers to compare multiple building configurations simultaneously. Through the web-based application, material attributes can be set and designers can conduct optimization analysis for a variety of parameters such as insulation and solar orientation, generating what the company calls, “response curves.” These optimization studies provide designers a better understanding of how a building performs within a discrete set of variables without having to submit multiple models for testing. Analysis information can then be stored on-line or exported to project reports.

The web-based analysis and plugins are all part of an annual subscription service. Subscriptions cost $5,000 per year and cover an entire office, although there is a limit of three new projects per month. More information can be found at sefaira.com.

Disclosure: In an earlier version of this article, Sefaira’s Revit plug-in was described as providing real-time energy analysis. Real-time data is currently only available in the Sefaira for SketchUp plugin.

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