OpenStudio (formerly known as the Energy Design Plugin) is a free plugin for Google’s SketchUp 3D drawing program. The plugin makes it easy to create and edit the building geometry in EnergyPlus input files and to run simulations directly within SketchUp. OpenStudio was created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for DOE and can be downloaded for free here.

openstudio

OpenStudio provides users with access to all the standard SketchUp tools and capabilities while creating and editing EnergyPlus input files. Users can add as much extra detail as needed to zones and surfaces, view the building geometry from any vantage point, apply different rendering styles, and perform accurate shadowing studies. Users also can mix EnergyPlus simulation content with decorative content such as background images, landscaping, people, and architectural finish details—all within the same SketchUp model.

EnergyPlus Version 3.0, released in November, is available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems, and includes several new features such as new datasets, input syntax changes, updated zone and ventilation controls and models, enhanced cost calculations and economic reporting, and extended documentation and guides.

The OpenStudio plugin is compatible with both the Free and the Pro versions of Google SketchUp 6 & 7 for Windows. A version for Mac OS X is currently in development. OpenStudio will have full access to all of the plugin functionality once both EnergyPlus and SketchUp are installed on your computer.

More information, along with a form to register for a free download of the OpenStudio plugin and EnergyPlus, is available at the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program website.