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What software can generate an energy model from CAD or BIM?

asked 2014-09-24 04:25:00 -0500

updated 2015-11-07 17:39:22 -0500

I'm looking for a list of software applications, tools, or workflows that can automatically generate an energy model from an existing CAD or BIM file. It could include CAD/BIM software that exports an energy model, or energy modeling software that imports a CAD/BIM file, or some kind of middleware. I'm not picky about which energy modeling engine is the target output. You can consider the question from the perspective of a consumer looking at all of the available options for selecting a CAD-to-energy-modeling workflow without regard to engine. I would also be interested in remarks on the completeness and robustness of the resulting energy model and the efficiency and usability of the whole process.

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@PeterEllis. You may want to clarify this question a little bit.

For one thing, are you only talking about (3D) geometry? Or also about constructions? Or about everything?

For another, this is actually several different questions in one. Are you interested in which design software can generate standard BIM (i.e., IFC) files and which analysis can read those files? In which software can generate gbXML and which software can read it? In plug-ins from design software to specific engines? In all of the above?

Finally, what do you consider BIM software? Are SketchUp and Rhino BIM?

__AmirRoth__'s avatar __AmirRoth__  ( 2014-09-24 10:11:57 -0500 )edit

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answered 2014-09-24 07:16:46 -0500

updated 2014-09-24 07:22:18 -0500

This cannot be a comprehensive list, and maybe I've included somewhat outdated information (use the comment box below if this is the case), but I'll do my best.


Capable of exporting IFC

Capable of exporting both IFC and gbXML

An example in a picture from 2009

IFC/gbXML read/write, dates back to 2009


Energy Simulation software/Importing

Capable of reading IFC

  • RIUSKA (DOE-2 based, Import/Export)
  • IDF Generator > EnergyPlus (see (1))
  • IES VE (see this flyer regarding IES VE and VectorWorks IFC connection)

Capable of Importing gbXML

Partial visualization

Importing BIM to BEM

Source: This presentation from Benjamin Welle at Stanford

References and further information


  • Khee Poh Lam et al., 2012, Identification and Analysis of Interoperability Gaps between Nbims/Open Standards and Building Performance Simulation tools
  • Granlund et al, 2008, Energy Analysis Software Evaluation - BIM interface and Interoperability.


  • For a complete list of softwares claiming IFC support, see BuldingSMART's website
  • (1) Bazjanac, 2008, IFC BIM-Based Methodology for Semi-Automated Building Energy Performance Simulation.
  • Kim, 2013, Energy Modeling System Using BIM Open Standards. Has a great literature review section where you'll find more.
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@JulienMarrec. This is the best and most comprehensive answer I have seen to any question thus far.

__AmirRoth__'s avatar __AmirRoth__  ( 2014-09-24 07:38:16 -0500 )edit

Wow, amazing answer!

Peter Ellis's avatar Peter Ellis  ( 2014-09-24 07:47:34 -0500 )edit

Well, thanks a lot guys! Unfortunately, I won't write one like that everyday, a 2 hour lunch break isn't in my habits (anymore... working in the US has altered my frenchness) :)

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2014-09-24 08:41:53 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-09-25 05:09:37 -0500

I can add Honeybee and Diva to the list. They are both developed on top of Rhino/Grasshopper.

Honeybee can export models to EnergyPlus, OpenStudio, and also generate gbXML. Check this presentation for more information.

DIVA is also capable of exporting a single zone to EnergyPlus.

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answered 2014-09-28 02:44:36 -0500

fla_for's avatar

Our software Lesosai ( can import a gbXML file, but it is for certification/dimensionning in Switzerland, Luxembourg and France more than for simulation.

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answered 2018-09-24 06:31:56 -0500

Bárbara Torregrosa's avatar

updated 2018-09-25 01:30:14 -0500

I can add to the Importing list CYPETHERM EPlus, an energy simulation software which is a BIM user interface of EnergyPlus v8.9. CYPETHERM EPlus can import ifc and gbXML files containing the 3D model of the building as well as other information such as the HVAC systems or the lights power. The building energy model can be fully defined in the program, which also runs the simulation in EnergyPlus v8.9 and shows the results. Finally, it can export an ifc file containing the simulation results.

In the Exporting list for 3D modeling software, I can add IFC Builder. This is a free software that produces an ifc file with the 3D geometry of the building.

Regarding the workflow, the CYPETHERM software package is able to produce ifc files that cover the complete the BIM workflow for HVAC systems design and energy simulation. Once you have an ifc file with the 3D geometry, this can be imported into CYPETHERM LOADS for thermal load calculation and CYPETHERM HVAC for HVAC systems design and sizing. These programs are also able to produce an ifc file with their results, which enrich the building model. As I said above, these results can be read by CYPETHERM EPlus, which runs the simulation of the building in EnergyPlus v8.9 and creates an ifc file with these results. Finally, this file can be imported into CYPETHERM Improvements to compare different hypotheses for the same building.

This video is a demonstration of the BIM workflow with this software.

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answered 2018-09-23 15:29:49 -0500

updated 2018-10-09 09:00:11 -0500

Tas can also re-import and merge new gbXML files from amended models. Along with merging 3D CAD data, for context/shading geometry for example. Tas also exports IDF files that can be read by EnergyPlus/EnergyPlus based tools.

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Asked: 2014-09-24 04:25:00 -0500

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Last updated: Oct 09 '18