AEC Tech News (#166)

3 May, 2006 By: Michael Dakan

Earth-Friendly Initiatives

HOK puts sustainability ideas into action;
plus, some updates about Autodesk Revit

Coinciding with this year’s Earth Day celebration, HOK (Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum), one of the world's leading AE firms, announced it has purchased sufficient wind-generated energy to power its offices worldwide for the year.  Working with energy broker Renewable Choice Energy, HOK purchased more than 4 million kilowatt-hours of energy, reportedly making it the largest wind-power purchase ever by an architectural firm.

HOK has 1,600 employees in more than 20 offices throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm is consistently ranked at or near the top of AE firms in the U.S. in annual billings.

By purchasing renewable energy credits based exclusively on wind-generated energy, HOK reports it will be able to replace the entire 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity that all its offices consume annually. To learn more about purchasing energy credits, and to find out more about HOK’s efforts toward sustainability in architecture, visit the HOK Web site.Read more>>

Google Launches Free Version of SketchUp

by Sara Ferris

"It's a good day for 3D," says Google's Brad Schell. On April 26, Google launched Google SketchUp, a free version of the SketchUp 3D modeling product it acquired with its purchase of @Last Software last month. The move followed much speculation about whether Google's intention was to make SketchUp a free product -- a path it took with previous acquisitions of Keyhole (the predecessor to Google Earth), the Picasa photo organizer and a blogging tool from Pyra Labs.

Schell, who was cofounder of @Last Software, says the free version of SketchUp is not "some watered-down thing intended to frustrate users so they buy something else." Licensed for personal use only, it offers basic 3D modeling tools but lacks "workflow features," Schell says: support for export to different file formats (DWG, DXF, 3DS, OBJ, XSI, VRML and FBX), AVI and MOV export capability, and large-format printing.

SketchUp Pro, which Google is selling for $495, includes the Sandbox Tools for organic modeling of terrain and the Film & Stage Tools. SketchUp Pro customers also receive two years' free technical support via e-mail and can use the product for commercial purposes. Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Autodesk 2007 Technology Tour
Various dates through June 2006
Various locations
Avatech Solutions invites existing and prospective Autodesk product users to participate in free half-day introductory workshops. Read more

Autodesk 2007 Engineering Software Solutions Seminar
May 11, 2006

Atlanta, Georgia
The seminar is hosted by Applied Software and will be broken into three engineering fields including building solutions, infrastructure solutions and manufacturing solutions. Read more

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here>>

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Cadalyst Daily Update: For all the latest news and new products, subscribe to Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every issue includes a feature you won’t find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, AutoCAD tips and much more! Here’s a sample of what you missed in the past week:

Harry's Hot Tip Challenge 2006 Just Got Better: Cadalyst readers whose Hot Tip Harry tips are selected for publication in 2006 will each receive a Cadalyst t-shirt, and the author of the best tip each month will receive $100. Now sponsored by Autodesk, the Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2006 is offering even bigger prizes. All authors of published tips this year will be entered into random drawings for a copy of AutoCAD 2007 and a trip to Autodesk University 2006 in Las Vegas! So send Harry your favorite routines for AutoCAD and related products (AutoLISP, VBA and more) and you could be taking home a hot prize! Visit Harry on for details.

Solutions from Synergis (Tutorial): Autodesk Revit Building's options for exporting data make it easy to share.

ArchiCAD Insights (Tutorial): Don't fear change with Graphisoft's Change Manager.

Productivity Corner (MicroStation Tutorial): Learn what Design History is and how it can help you track your work.