How 3d computer graphics could help preventing global warming?

One of the most commented subjects on the news this month is the COP15 meeting, where various nations are trying to find a way to stop or reduce global warming. How we as architects or visualization specialists could help preventing global warming? One of my students asked me this question last week, and the best thing we can do as architects is investing all our efforts to promote the so called green architecture. With builds that use rationally the energy, and a very low carbon footprint, we could help a lot.

How to do that?

The first step to start creating sustainable architecture is to start analyze our projects at the earlier stages, considering it to use less energy for heating, ventilation, cooling and more. Today, we have several options to start working on analysis based on 3d models, and that’s where 3d computer graphics could help us. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any tools that works with Blender 3D, but there are lots of scripts and tools that works with SketchUp, and most of them are free.

Of course, we also have proprietary solutions for this. I will point some of the solutions that I know and had the opportunity to test. The first two are aimed for SketchUp:

  • Energy Plus: This is a tool developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to work as a standalone software, which is able to run analysis on heating, cooling, lighting and much more. The downside is that Energy Plus doesn’t have a friendly UI to work with, and we need a script to integrate it with SketchUp.
  • VE-Ware: With this tool designed by a company called IESVE, we can do similar much of the analysis created by Energy Plus. I find VE-Ware plugin for SketchUp a lot easier to use than Energy Plus. The tool is also free to use, like Energy Plus.

And now, two proprietary tools that work in a similar way, running analysis of the environment, based on 3d models:

To finish this article, I would like to recommend you a video recorded at the SketchUp basecamp 2008, with a great demonstration on how to do green design with SketchUp for architecture:

The video has more than one hour length.

How about you? Do you know any other tools that could help in the process of creating green architecture?

Blender 3D Architect Pro


  • Edwina

    There’s a really great overview of energy analysis tools presented at AIA this year on AEC Bytes here…

  • 3D Models

    What about Blender. I am not sure about this software. Better ask someone who is working with it for long.


    Well, I am an 3d interior designer. Although I haven’t used Blender yet(I use Sketch Up and C4d),I often visit your blog. This is a great presentation about consider Green design. I also subscribe this to my blog! Thank you for post this article.

  • john

    i mistakenly came across your blog while searching for something else.but found this post useful hence decided to drop a line.very well done.i dont completely agree with you but still a good agrument.

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