ARCH 464 
Environmental Control Systems

Computer Software

Use of computer programs to represent and analyze buildings can substantially increase your understanding of environmental interactions with architectural space. Software that is particularly useful includes:


AUTOCAD, Revit, Sketch-Up, and 3D Studio MAX for building and site modeling
Photoshop and Freehand for page layout
Powerpoint and Adobe Acrobat for case study presentation

General Analysis:

Spreadsheets, like Excel for calculations, replace hand calculation.

Daylighting and Electric Lighting:

Two powerful daylighting and electric lighting prediction programs, AGi32 and its Revit plug-in Elum Tools (both) and Sefaira (daylighting only), are available to you. You may download a free AGi32 educational use version (same as the professional version, except it expires in June). For download instructions, see the student user letter from AGi32. You may download Sefaira for free if you have Sketch-Up Pro.

SkyCalc and its maual, Skylighting Guidelines, is available for free from Heschong-Mahone Group. An updated version of SkyCalc that includes climate files for 48 U.S. cities is available from the Heschong-Mahone Group <>.

A lighting energy savings spreadsheet, LBL Nomograph, and a glare analysis program, Culplite, will be made available to the class (linked to the lab web page).

SPOT Pro V5.03+(free 30-day trial download) models daylight and electric light integration as well as analyzes glare.

CoveTool (thermal/lighting analysis of buildings) The free educational license has been applied to our uidaho account. Students who want to use the software, will be added to the same account as long as they sign up with a email address. To sign up go to <>.

A free illuminance meter app for IOS: Lux light meter by Marina Polyanskaya; Link: (Lux Light Meter Pro on the App Store (; for Android,  Lux light meter by Doggo AppsLink: (Lux Light Meter Free Apps on Google Play).

 You can use these for Case Study #1.


The on-line PV calculator PVWatts <> is free and fun to use!

Acoustic Design:

Armstrong Ceilings' free Sound Level Meter app for your smart phone or ipad (<>)

SoundScape, a freeware program developed by Rob Bullen an experienced acoustics consultant and acoustics instructor in Sydney, Australia. You can download the program from <>.
It works only in Windows.

Climate and Building Analysis:

Climate Consultant (climate analysis)
HEED or SBEED (thermal analysis of buildings)

These programs are available for no charge from UCLA and can be downloaded from  <>.

Weather Data: 

The EnergyPlus web site <> also has free .epw weather files for stations worldwide that can be used without conversion in HEED and Climate Consultant. EnergyPlus also has a free Sketch-Up plug-in that performs energy analyses from Sketch-Up models. Read about it and download it at <>.