Buildings account for about half of all of the energy consumed in the US, a fact
which is not lost on many of today's practicing architects. Many are using Google
SketchUp to make decisions early in the design process which will significantly
affect the way their buildings perform. From determining a project's overall massing
to optimizing fenestration patterns and siting for the position of the sun, SketchUp
helps architects explore options early enough to make a real difference.
SketchUp's powerful shadow engine allows professionals to understand how daylighting, shading and passive solar issues are impacted by their design decisions - in real time. Architects also use SketchUp to help clients visualize green features such as solar panels, rainwater catchment systems, sustainable landscaping and building material options that will serve to reduce the environment footprint of their buildings.
The Bowden Centre is a new educational and multipurpose resource building at Mount Annan Botanic Garden, Sydney NSW. The building’s primary purpose is to provide a teaching facility for the numerous school groups who visit the garden every year -- a place to learn about the garden and Australian flora. However, the facility has also been designed to accommodate a broad range of other activities, from seminars to weddings.
The brief for the project, the first permanent building at the Botanic Garden, was to set the benchmark for future buildings on the estate and to provide a unique multi-function facility that demonstrates high standards of ecological sustainability, within a very modest budget.
This was achieved through, amongst other things, siting the new building in the location of an existing structure, recycling the steel structure and aluminum windows from the earlier building, the use of low maintenance materials, the thermal management of the building via a ground coupled, water based air conditioning system and the inclusion of a series of plywood clad, vertical wall openings that act as alternatives to conventionally glazed windows.
What prompted us to spend the time building the SketchUp model was that we were preparing a talk about the building and wanted a method to explain concepts behind the building design. We set upon using the SketchUp animations as a way of bringing these concepts to life, particularly through the use of the sectional animations. We now regularly use SketchUp animations as a presentation tool to present models built in our CAD package.
Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) is a leading design/build firm that uses off-site modular technology to create contemporary eco-friendly homes. With SketchUp, Google Earth and the Google 3D Warehouse, Kaufmann can make sustainable design more accessible to everyone.
With SketchUp, the Google 3D Warehouse and Google Earth, clients can make a home their own and become even more inspired and educated about reducing their ecological footprint.
- Michelle Kaufmann, Michelle Kaufmann Designs
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Case Study: Alan Mascord Design Associates
At Alan Mascord Design Associates, Google SketchUp makes communicating design ideas easy and enables clients to visualize and explore their future homes before they are ever built. What's more, Google's intuitive 3D modeling tool accelerates design and architecture tasks, enabling architects to generate exceptional designs in the context of modest budgets.
I first got hooked on SketchUp about four or five years ago and, once I realized how easy it was to quickly generate an exterior model, I've been using it for most of my custom design projects. It's common for us to work with customers remotely via email, and then it's great to be able to email them PDF's of the preliminary floor plans and a copy of the SketchUp model for their review.
As an international leader in the green building industry, the Rocky Mountain Institute Built Environment Team is looking forward to a more sustainable world, and they're doing their part to create it. They collaborate with architectural design teams to develop sustainable design solutions related to environmental quality, materials, resource and energy efficiency, and climate-responsive design.
The RMI team uses SketchUp to evaluate daylighting and solar heat gain issues, to calculate area take-offs for energy analysis, and to present these recommendations in a lifelike, 3D model. They then import their SketchUp models into AGI, a powerful lighting analysis tool, to generate more detailed information about the levels and distribution of light in the spaces they've modeled.
A typical Daylight Analysis goes like this: