We’ve introduced a new dashboard for Sefaira for SketchUp that gives architects a quick snapshot of energy and daylight performance as they design.

Sefaira for SketchUp real time energy and daylight dashboard

Our aim with the new interface is to make the results clear, intuitive, and actionable. Designers can see at a glance:

  • Whether performance is good or bad
  • What can be done to improve performance
  • Whether their changes move the needle in the right direction

Is performance good or bad? Energy Use Intensity is shown relative to a 2030 Challenge benchmark. The number is green if the design is better than this goal, and red if it performs worse. A single daylight dial shows whether the design is under-lit, well-lit or suffering from glare.

What can be done to improve performance? The new dashboard calls out the dominant energy use in the building (cooling, heating, lighting or appliances). The “Element Performance” chart ties heating and cooling loads to specific building elements like windows or walls—providing actionable feedback for the designer. And our daylight visualization feature can be used to see the daylight distribution across floorplates, allowing architects to quickly identify problem areas.

Am I heading in the right direction? The “History” graph tracks changes to energy and daylight metrics over time. It’s also a great way to see how to balance the two goals.

Like our previous iterations of the interface, the feedback is real-time, updating automatically as you design. It also uses a “results-first” paradigm—focusing on providing the results architects needs, rather than first asking for dozens of inputs.

How do we work that magic? High-quality inputs can be derived from some basic project data: building type, location, and a baseline such as ASHRAE 90.1. In addition, Sefaira for SketchUp automatically interprets the model (understanding walls, roof, glazing, etc.) behind the scenes. These “invisible” features free architects to do what they do best: design great buildings.

As Ed Mazria put it when we first launched Sefaira for SketchUp last year: “Architects–we’re like kids. We want to design buildings. … You give us a real-time box in the corner, and we’ll get under the 2030 Challenge target every single time.” We agree.

How can designers use this information to improve their designs? Take a look at an example in our post Three Simple Steps to Better Performance.