AEC Tech News (#254)

6 Aug, 2009 By: Cadalyst Staff

A Guided Quest for Hidden Energy


The new VE-Gaia module in VE 6.0 from IES offers a simpler approach to building energy analysis.

By Kenneth Wong

Though software-based energy simulation has become a standard part of the conceptualization phase in architecture, sophisticated analyses — such as LEED accreditation, daylight and comfort assessment, heating and cooling loads, and water use — remain something of a black art, confined to specialists.

Over the years, Don McLean, managing director of the Glasgow-headquartered Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), has put considerable effort into simplifying building energy analysis. In 2008, he began distributing a free version (VE-Ware) of his company's Virtual Environment (VE) software, which simulates energy efficiency and carbon emissions. This month, he plans to introduce VE-Gaia, a new module debuting in the upcoming VE 6.0. The company let me preview the module in its beta version.

First, the Installation
The executable application for VE 6.0 is a small, 180-MB directory, but to take full advantage of VE, you'll also need to install the VE Shared Content folder, a 770-MB directory containing weather, texture, lighting (lumen and glare values for construction materials), and other databases needed to perform energy simulation. If you'd like to establish a direct link to VE from a modeling software program, you can install the Autodesk Revit plugin or Google SketchUp plugin, which creates an embedded IES VE menu in the chosen 3D modeling package.

You activate the VE-Gaia license by clicking on the wire frame globe icon, the first one from the left in VE 6.0's default interface setup. This reveals a series of expandable bullets nested in the margin, which serves as your step-by-step guide to the various tests and simulations you might perform to improve your building's energy efficiency. Simply put, the new module gives architects and analysts who are pursuing green architecture a logical workflow. Read more »

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Freelance writer Kenneth Wong explores the innovative use of technology
and its implications.



SIGGRAPH Urges Computer Graphics Community to Chip In

The SIGGRAPH Graphics Pioneers are asking the creative community to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina with monetary donations to the Make It Right Foundation. The SIGGRAPH Graphics Pioneers, an organization formed by scientists, engineers, artists, and industry professionals active in computer graphics since the inception of SIGGRAPH, have adopted a house being built by the Make It Right Foundation.

There is no minimum amount required; donors are asked to give what they can afford. You can donate directly to the Make it Right Foundation, The House That SIGGRAPH Pioneers Built.

Make It Right, a collaboration between actor Brad Pitt, Graft Architects, Cherokee Gives Back, and William McDonough + Partners, was founded in 2007 to help rebuild the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward, an area that was completely wiped out during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Make It Right Foundation is committed to building 150 energy-efficient, solar-powered, storm-resistant homes in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, and the SIGGRAPH Graphics Pioneers want to help.

Jon Peddie Research is an active supporter of this project and will recognize significant donors on their site. To kick off the donation drive, Jon Peddie Research will be donating $200 from every market report it sells during the month of August 2009.


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Webinars: Autodesk Architecture and Design Visualization
August 5-19, 2009
Various times
Autodesk is hosting Architecture and Design Visualization webinars, a series of free educational sessions designed to help improve productivity and deliver innovative design ideas. Read more »

BIM for Executives
August 7, 2009
12 p.m. ET
This webinar, part of Vico's BIM Master Series for General Contractors and Owners, helps executives better understand the cost and time outlay to acquire building information modeling skills. Read more »

Test Drive: Transportation with Autodesk Civil 3D
August 11, 2009
Portland, Oregon
Join Ideate's civil engineering team as the company walks attendees through a hands-on exercise where attendees will design a road that has been completed using the corridor model in Civil 3D. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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