Running simulations in the early stages of your design process provides feedback that can inform many of your decisions. These decisions can greatly affect the way your building performs: How will my building's performance change if I rotate it by 30 degrees on the site? What if I add another set of windows on the south elevation? Third-party energy analysis applications can help you answer these questions, and the ones listed below have developed plugins for SketchUp.
The IES VE SketchUp plug-in (which is available for Windows users) is a building performance analysis plugin for SketchUp developed by IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions). The SketchUp plugin works within SketchUp as a toolbar and then connects to IES's tools: IES VE-Ware (free), IES VE-Toolkits, and the full "Virtual Environment".
The plugin allows you to assign important sustainable design information like location, building and room type, construction types and HVAC systems to their SketchUp model and then import it directly into their chosen IES analysis tool, without having to re-build any geometry.
EnergyPlus OpenStudio Plugin
OpenStudio, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, adds the building energy simulation capabilities of EnergyPlus to the SketchUp environment. OpenStudio is a free, open source, cross platform suite of tools that allows users to easily create the building geometry, open and edit existing EnergyPlus input files, run EnergyPlus (and Radiance), and view the results. Once the user has developed the building geometry using SketchUp and the OpenStudio plug-in, the user can use other OpenStudio applications such as the ResultsViewer, ModelEditor, and SystemOutliner to further modify and analyze the building energy model.
EnergyPlus is a whole-building energy simulation software program created and maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy. It models heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, and other energy flows in buildings.
GreenspaceLive gModeller Plugin
gModeller is an energy analysis plugin for SketchUp from GreenspaceLive. Based on the gbXML standard for designing resource efficient buildings and specifying associated equipment, gModeller enables building designers to decorate 3D SketchUp building models with gbXML surfaces and openings, to identify and label gbXML spaces, and to import and export gbXML models.
Using gModeller, models can be quickly exported to gEnergyEPC, GreenBuildingStudio and other tools for energy analysis and certification.