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3-D Modeling Software with Energy Analysis

KKlouzal | Posted in General Questions on

I am searching for home modeling architecture software that wont break the bank.

I’m not looking to make a career out of architectural design and will most likely only use it to design my house and nothing more, that being said, all the software I can find cost thousands of dollars or have a high monthly subscription fee to obtain use.

As it stands I’ve been using which has worked extremely well in allowing me to flesh out a multitude of different designs and finally settling on one I like most. Sadly there are a few limitations such as no intuitive way to design multiple floors, no ability to plan out electrical/hvac/plumbing, and obviously no energy analysis.

Can anyone recommend software that can allow me to add a little more detail to my designs? I would really like to properly plan out a building that incorporates a basement. Lay out details for electrical, hvac, and plumbing. As well as do energy analysis on the final result.

Viewing 3D output is nice but not required, visualizing everything in 2D is more than adequate. The possibility of incorporating BIM files for individual “components” is very enticing since many manufacturers (especially HVAC) provide BIM for their products and would simplify the design process in many areas. Again BIM is most likely something that would justify a heavy price tag and not necessarily a requirement.

I understand energy analysis is most likely a premium feature that would justify a heavy price tag therefore is not necessarily a requirement.

I’m also highly technical so learning new software will not be an issue.

If I am going to spend money on a product of this nature I would really like to take my final design and export/print the required documents needed to actually obtain permits and build the structure.

Thank you everyone for your help, I really appreciate it!

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  1. Expert Member
    Akos | | #1

    For DIY, can't beat Sketchup. It is quick to learn (best is to go through a couple of tutorials) and quick to do basic design with.

    For energy modeling, there are a number of internet options that are pretty straight forward. I use Hot2000 (free), a bit more involved to set up.

  2. ethan_TFGStudio | | #2

    Would Hot2000 be OK to use in the USofA? For me, there is a lot of value if I can create an energy model and also use if for the client to prove code compliance.

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