[Sbse] Alternative to Safaira

Haglund, Bruce (bhaglund@uidaho.edu) bhaglund at uidaho.edu
Sun Oct 4 12:54:31 PDT 2020

Nice news on the school sketch-up license.
How can we access the version 3 beta?

From: SBSE <sbse-bounces at uidaho.edu> on behalf of Stefano Schiavon <schiavon at berkeley.edu>
Sent: Friday, October 2, 2020 4:04 PM
To: sbse <sbse at uidaho.edu>
Subject: Re: [Sbse] Alternative to Safaira

Dear All,

thank you very much for the valuable feedback and suggestions. I was also unaware of EDGE and Design Explorer.
Since I wrote this morning, I learned that if your university has a SketchUp license in your department or another one, then you can still get Safaira for free.

Have a nice weekend,


On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 12:07 PM Smita Chandra Thomas <bluroc at gmail.com<mailto:bluroc at gmail.com>> wrote:
Most welcome. Also, as a student of Murra Milne (in the 90s), I'm happy to hear you are using HEED, which is his baby.

On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 2:52 PM James Erickson <jperick1 at asu.edu<mailto:jperick1 at asu.edu>> wrote:
Stefano --

For a class with minimal 3D modeling skills, I have often used BeOpt (beopt.nrel.gov/home<https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://beopt.nrel.gov/home__;!!JYXjzlvb!xkBUWPD1S7Sq_2_mQfeAkgwQp7fw5aXzO1vQPhbBVRPd_NFQPMx4VMKEOER0Bg$>) and/or HEED (www.energy-design-tools.aud.ucla.edu/heed/<https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.energy-design-tools.aud.ucla.edu/heed/__;!!JYXjzlvb!xkBUWPD1S7Sq_2_mQfeAkgwQp7fw5aXzO1vQPhbBVRPd_NFQPMx4VMIs_fby7Q$>) for simple, preliminary energy analysis and introducing the concept to students and novice architects.

Unlike other options, these tools do not have any monetary obstacles to their use (both are free) and are from reputable institutions.  Modeling in these programs is simplistic, best for providing analysis of preliminary residential forms however, there are abundant options for testing different environmental, construction assemblies, orientation, and equipment scenarios.  Enough to keep a class occupied and complete a range of introductory assignments.  BeOpt can provide a means to test all of the subjects you list for your class.

For an instructor and TAs, there is little time to set up files and demonstrate the tools to a class.  Students can quickly start simulating results and testing hypotheses within minutes of installing.  EnergyPlus is used by BeOpt (not sure about HEED) as the simulation engine making the program well suited for energy and resource usage analysis but limited on daylighting.   Data visualization is limited to simplistic graphics however, you can export an IDF file to be run in other software such as a grasshopper HB/LB script or even EnergyPlus(!) and display output data in your prefered data viewer.

BeOpt provides the means to run individual, parametric, and optimization scenarios with little set up time.

Smita -- I was unaware of the EDGE software by the IFC.  Thank you for bringing this tool to our attention.

Cheers -- James


On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 11:15 AM Smita Chandra Thomas <thomas at energy-shrink.com<mailto:thomas at energy-shrink.com>> wrote:
The IFC (World Bank) software EDGE might work well for your purposes. It calculates Energy, Water and Materials efficiency. It is FREE, and will always be, available online, and cloud-based — no need to download.
app. edgebuildings.com<https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://edgebuildings.com__;!!JYXjzlvb!xkBUWPD1S7Sq_2_mQfeAkgwQp7fw5aXzO1vQPhbBVRPd_NFQPMx4VMJxlOG7TQ$>

I use it to illustrate passive design concepts and such in my seminars. It does live calculations using quasi steady-state calcs at the back-end based on ISO standards.

I work with the team as a consultant. We are working on version 3 which will include an ASHRAE 2016 baseline and US locations. We will release a Beta in one or two weeks, and the full version in December. In the meantime, I use Beijing to model DC, for example.

Hope that helps.

Smita Chandra Thomas
Energy Shrink, LLC

On Oct 2, 2020, at 12:53 PM, Collins, Tom <tdcollins at bsu.edu<mailto:tdcollins at bsu.edu>> wrote:


Bob Koester and I at Ball State encountered the same issue this semester. It appears that the educational licenses are not being renewed and that students will now need to buy an annual license for $55. This is disappointing because I agree with you that Sefaira was a great way to get students with limited modeling skills to explore simple energy use estimates. I would be curious to hear from the SBSE cohort about other software being used for simple energy modeling. I like Sefaira for its user interface. Some suggestions I’ve received from colleagues and students are Open Studio, Insight in Revit, and Grasshopper with Ladybug and Honeybee. All seem less user friendly or useful for beginners.



From: SBSE <sbse-bounces at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse-bounces at uidaho.edu>> on behalf of Stefano Schiavon <schiavon at berkeley.edu<mailto:schiavon at berkeley.edu>>
Date: Friday, October 2, 2020 at 12:27 PM
To: "sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>" <sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>>
Subject: [Sbse] Alternative to Safaira

Hi All,

Gail and I teach an introduction to energy and environment for undergraduate students. It is not a professional architectural program, and ~1/3 of the students do not have 3D software skills. Topics include climate analysis, energy flows in buildings, thermal properties of building materials, thermal comfort, solar shading, daylighting, passive heating and cooling, indoor air quality, acoustics, and mechanical systems.

In the past, we used Safaira during lab time and for the final design project to perform some simple energy estimations. We explored the effects of building rotation, changes in the wall assembly, shading devices, windows property, and infiltration rate). It seems that Safaira is not free anymore. Do you know when this change happened and if exceptions are allowed?

Do you have any suggestions for alternative software?



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