Drury Crawley from the Department of Energy posted information to the Society of Building Science Educators list today, on the beta release of a new energy design tool. It is designed to work with Sketchup; you must also have EnergyPlus V2.1 before installing. Below is his posting, quoted with his permission.
"DOE and NREL are pleased to announce the public beta release of the Energy Design Plugin--an EnergyPlus plugin for Google SketchUp.
The plugin can be downloaded for free from the EnergyPlus web site at:
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.
Designed to integrate seamlessly with the SketchUp environment, the plugin allows you to use the standard SketchUp tools to create and edit EnergyPlus zones and surfaces. You can explore your EnergyPlus input files by using all of the native SketchUp 3D capabilities to view the geometry from any vantage point, apply different rendering styles, and perform accurate shadowing studies. The plugin allows you to mix EnergyPlus simulation content with decorative content such as background images, landscaping, people, and architectural finish details-all within the same SketchUp model.
The plugin adds the building energy simulation capabilities of EnergyPlus to the SketchUp environment. You can launch an EnergyPlus simulation of the model you are working on and view the results without leaving SketchUp.
Highlights of the beta version of the Energy Design Plugin include:
* The ability to create and edit EnergyPlus zones and surfaces
* The ability to launch EnergyPlus and view the results without leaving SketchUp
This plugin makes it easier to work with EnergyPlus. However, expertise in using EnergyPlus at the text level is highly recommended for performing successful and accurate simulations. The beta version of the plugin does not yet handle all critical input objects. Some editing of the input file will usually be required outside of SketchUp.
After installing, the help files should get you started. You might also try opening some of the input files that are included in the Examples directory to help get your feet wet. If you have any problems, please contact me at the support email: email@example.com
I would really appreciate any bug reports, suggestions, or other feedback from you.