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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Sefaira for Revit announced at Autodesk University

December 9th, 2013 by Susan Smith

In a conversation with Carl Sterner, senior product marketing manager for Sefaira, he talked about the recent announcement of Sefaira for Revit plug-in at Autodesk University 2013. The company had announced Sefaira for SketchUp in the past couple of months, which Sterner said is very different from Sefaira for Revit.

“Sefaira For SketchUp is about delivering immediate real time analysis for drawing,” said Sterner. “Revit is used less as a design tool and more of a documentation tool, although architects are trying to use it earlier and earlier in the process. At the moment the two tools are fairly different but our hope is they will converge long term.”

Sefaira’s web app for Revit provides performance and sustainability information in the form of integrated whole-building analysis of energy use, water use, carbon emissions, thermal comfort, and renewable energy. Its cloud-based analysis engine generates results in seconds with as few as three inputs – a massing, building location and building type – while providing the rapid feedback that architects need to drive performance-based decision-making.  Sefaira helps architects develop an intuition for building performance, allowing them to respond to performance requirements creatively.

Sterner gave a short demo of Sefaira for Revit, saying the product directly uploads the Revit model into the Sefaira web application where you can do a lot more detailed analysis and exploration than you can do in the SketchUp plug-in.

Once the Sefaira add-in is already installed, you click on it bring it in the window, upload as new project, and it will send you back a link that will automatically bring you back to the web application, and continue from there. “There is no export to GBXML, there is no having to define room boundaries, it’s taking your Revit model, automatically extracting what you need to do for energy analysis from it, so that the architect doesn’t have to worry about that piece, then bringing it directly into the web app,” said Sterner.

“There are a couple of inputs we need to have. We need to know where the project is located, so we can attach a weather file for energy analysis, but we do that by letting the architect draw out the site boundary, we automatically grab the nearest weather file. The SketchUp plug-in did ask for the primary use type of the building, whether office or residence, we need the same information here, and can select that. When you change this drop-down to residential, the other values on the screen automatically update. We’re also showing the defaults to the user and letting them adjust them if they want to. These are things that define more: the occupancy of the building and how the building is going to be used, like how much power is going to be used for the lighting, what do you expect the equipment loads to be, the healing/cooling subpoints, and the occupancy scheduling.”

“Once we define that information, that’s all the inputs that are required, now we can begin to do the analysis that the web application allows.”

Sefaira for Revit does not have real time feedback like Sefaira for SketchUp, although it may in the future. Currently Sefaira wanted to give Revit users a fairly quick and painless path to get analysis from Revit models they already have. A number of customers are doing the schematic phase in Sefaira for SketchUp as it is good for early, fast comparative modeling. Then they move to Sefaira to Revit when they need to document the design.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, engineering, infrastructure

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