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VectorWorks ->gbXML -> DesignBuilder


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I want to use Vectorworks Architect "with-BIM-support" to export my models to DesignBuilder. DesignBuilder offers me the best way to simulate my passive solar design (Energy, comfort perfomance, CO2, lighting)

My question : Is there any plan to implement gbXML export into VectorWorks?

What kind of workflow are actual VW users using to export building models to hourly thermal simulation software?


Santiago Ribas

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I don't use any energy reporting (DOE-2, etc.). While Archicad, Bentley and Revit do export to gbXML, it looks like Vectorworks depends on DOE-2, and the freeware eQuest (http://www.doe2.com/), which does not depend on a subscription to Autodesk.

Also, I did find a blog that might interest you concerning Autodesk's Green Building Studio:


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Thanks for your advice about eQuest. I have it downloaded and installed it.

But........it works only in imperial units......???

I have exported a model from VW using DOE-2 export, but eQuest can?t open it.

I need passive solar components like trombe walls and active air solar panels to be quantified, and I need to work in metric units.

DesignBuilder is $$$ but gives me much more flexibility and detail.

Regarding Revit, it was very interesting reading that blog :-)

The history is repeating again and again, regarding mediocre tools and solutions being market standards.

Autocad was a standard (stone age tool), and now Revit for BIM.

But our VW is not interfacing with simulation tools yet.......and the information how to do it correctly from scratch is not yet usable .

Many BIM manuals about 3D. BIM is not just 3D, it?s a progressive workflow since the beginning of a project.

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It seams you are using VW for mechanical engineering. Maple (mathematics) and FEA tools (Finite Elements Analysis) are ok for mechanical engineering.

Building comfort and thermal analysis use a different approach, directly related with the geometry and components of a building.

Thanks also for your input.


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Even Sketchup tries to make this easy for users. Check here.

Has anyone tried exporting a VW building model to Sketchup and using Energyplus Open Studio? The apparent silence from NNA in this regard is very frustrating to me. Given the current and future importance of this type of functionality, perhaps NNA could research and share info regarding the best solutions that currently work starting with a VW BIM. In my view, being able to model solar and energy efficiency is the most valuable potential for using BIM. Where is the support from NNA for this?

Edited by J Lucas
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I tried Sketchup with it?s EnergyPlus plug-in last year, and I didn?t understand how someone can really send a correct description model to EnergyPlus engine.

EnergyPlus is a simulation engine, and it needs a serious graphical interface, with serious thermal descriptions, weather data, lighting and ventilation setups etc etc. that are not part of Sketchup.

VectorWorks works with IFC descriptions from scratch (There is no written tutorials about it?s workflow yet..but), being possible to exporting DOE-2, it would be "natural" to have the possibility to export in gbXML, like the other BIM players did.....to work with "THE" thermal simulation tool like DesignBuilder.

It?s ridiculous after creating my BIM model with VectorWorks, I have to create another BIM model of the same project inside DesignBuilder........ using exported 2D DXF files.

This was standard practice 20 years ago, when I first started using a PC based simulation program called Suncode (using text input), but it?s ridiculous this days with our "Super-Vectorworks-Architect-with-BIM-support"......:-(

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I am still using VW Designer 2009. It has features enough for me and my practice. I really don?t need 2010. There are other priorities inside Vectorworks.....for example to really describe each layer of a wall, and also for floors and roofs.....to have a database descriptions of each of these materials. etc.etc.

I will not buy any kind of upgrade, till the day I can really make use of all this BIM information it takes so long to create, and being able to do serious thermal simulations of my Sustainable designs, using Passive Solar design technics.

And if NNA will take to long to solve it, I will probably have to move to ArchiCAD.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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For EMA, what designers (not engineers) really need is a tool that gives them a comparative workflow between a data baseline (code or minimum standard) and multiple design options (including simple data factor and/or formal iterations). And this tool should be able to suck in relatively simple model geometry from any source, using IFC, NOT gbXML.

NV seems ideologically opposed to the use of gbXML for the IFC standard. We cannot have both export formats for some reason.

In the absence of equivalent IFC solutions, NV's opposition to the established Green Buildings exchange format is by default becoming opposition to Green Buildings. Restricting access to the existing available tools for design development and for assessment purposes is making NV's format agenda a gross inefficiency in itself.

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For a product with small market share, it would seem to me that Nemetschek would want to maximize VW's interoperability with other programs, particularly with 'industry standard' products like DesignBuilder.

VW will need to provide a solution to communicate with an industry recognized energy modeler, and preferably one of the user's choice, or fall behind. Energy code changes in my area make this pressing for me. Being able to leverage the information in an accurate 3D model to an energy modeling/analysis program quickly and accurately would allow for real-time evaluation of design strategies (and demonstrate code compliance.)

Isn't that what BIM is all about, not semantics about file format?

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I am soooo not surprised that there is no response from NNA on this matter. More puzzling is the fact that our big sister (Archicad) makes use of such features. I would hope that NNA is taking note that Autodesk has stepped into the Mac arena with it's release of Autocad 2011 for Mac. It is not far from possible to think that a Mac version of Revit to be far behind. WAKE UP already! I am also really tired of registering for these so-called BIM webnairs that are basically filled with product hype rather than the "real" issue at hand; how to get the job done without drawing twice.


Hello??? NNA???


Edited by d1solution
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