The results are in! After an international panel of design professionals and academics reviewed the over 2,000 submissions to this year’s Vectorworks Design Scholarship, the winning projects have been selected. Benno Schmitz from the Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin received the Richard Diehl Award, the scholarship program’s $10,000 grand prize, for his design for The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn.

The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn design by Benno Schmitz, winner of the 2015 Richard Diehl Award

The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Bonn design by Benno Schmitz, winner of the 2015 Richard Diehl Award

“The creative potential we saw in this year’s entries is exciting, including inspiring submissions like Benno’s,” says Richard Diehl, founder and chairman of Vectorworks, Inc., and namesake of the grand prize. “We saw the number of entries over last year double and are thrilled to support students who represent the future of design innovation as they continue to pursue their degrees and launch their careers.”

Schmitz started his award-winning project as a class project where he was tasked with creating a cultural space. After researching case studies written about innovative museums for inspiration, Schmitz sought to design his own impactful space in his hometown.

“The site for the museum is marked by industrial ruins, as well as environmental damage from the mining of coal and stone,” says Schmitz. “The whole topography of the area has been changed by humans. The museum brings new culture to this place where I grew up and uses humankind’s impact on the environment to its advantage. Without the sheer rock face left behind from the stone quarry, the design wouldn’t be as visually impactful, and without the museum, this wasteland of space wouldn’t be as meaningful. Only together do they work perfectly.”

In addition to Schmitz winning the grand prize, the judges also recognized 15 other global projects as winners of $3,000 Vectorworks Design Scholarships across the architecture, landscape, and entertainment industries.

Check out the full list of winners:

  • Café Terminaal by Frédérique Windels and Yleni Bossu, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Flowing Time—The Industrial Landscape Restoration of 751 Locomotive Square by Xu Lin (林徐), Capital Normal University Beijing, China
  • Live Forever by Liu Xiang (刘翔刘), Central Academy of Drama Beijing, China
  • Mexico City BIGnature by Natasha Polozenko, Harvard Graduate School of Design, United States
  • Opportunity in Danger by Maham Tahir, Birmingham School of Architecture, United Kingdom
  • Räumlich Reimagined by Fatima Blötzer, Muttenz der Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Switzerland
  • Rosengarten Hotel by Brecht Casier, Sint Lucas, Belgium
  • The Center for Folktale Communication by Ryan Turner and Ronli Mak, University of Calgary, Canada
  • The Electra Project by Martha Carter and Morgan Price, University of California at Irvine, United States
  • “The Displacement” or “Revolt of Abandoned Architecture” by Anthony Chun Ming Ko, The University of Hong Kong, China
  • The Magic Flute by Neneh Lucia, Victorian College of the Arts, Australia
  • The Nature of Flutmulde by Nikolai Hein and Yumeng Zhang, University of Kassel, Germany
  • The Nest We Grow by Baxter Smith, Hsiu Wei Chang, Fanzheng Dong, Hsin-Yu Chen, Yan Huang and Max Edwards, University of California at Berkeley, United States
  • Vertical Metabolism by Matt Perotto, University of Toronto, Canada
  • What is Normal? by Isabelle Weydert, Sint Lucas, Belgium

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Vectorworks Design Scholarship program. Explore all of the winning projects at our Design Scholarship gallery, and sign up to receive updates about next year’s competition at or by following @Vectorworks on Twitter and searching #FundMyVision.

Design professionals from Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark recently gathered to share insights and forge lasting international connections at the inaugural Vectorworks Nordic Design Day. Held in Oslo, Norway, the event fostered a spirit of community among architects and designers, as well as reinforced Vectorworks’ commitment to supporting creative minds all over the world.

Basem Besada, CEO of BMV Studio, the Vectorworks distributor in Sweden, welcomes attendees.

“While each of the Nordic markets has distinct design industry traditions and standards, there is also a great opportunity for synergy among them,” said Scott Campbell, CEO of dakantus+ AS, the authorized Vectorworks software distributor in Norway. “It was also great for everyone to meet Vectorworks’ CEO Sean Flaherty, who addressed attendees, sharing the company’s 30-year history, strategic objectives, and product roadmap, as well as emphasizing how important the Nordic region is to the future of the design industry, particularly related to BIM workflows.”

Vectorworks, Inc. CEO Sean Flaherty inspires event attendees with his vision for the future of design and Vectorworks software.

While the Nordic countries have many sophisticated BIM users, they also have firms that work in a 2D workflow, so a large focus of the event was about implementing and improving BIM workflows. And, as the name of the event would suggest, design was also a major highlight of the event. As part of the spotlight on great design, the event was held at The Thief hotel, one of the most visually striking buildings in Oslo, which was designed with Vectorworks software. Featured speakers also included visionary architects like Nils Mjaaland of Blue Architecture Landscapes, who showcased his firm’s innovative projects and inspired attendees.

Scott Campbell, CEO of dakantus+ AS, the Norwegian Vectorworks distributor, explores the implementation of BIM workflows with Nordic Design Day attendees.

“The event was full of examples of great design while still touching on the nuts and bolts of the software,” Campbell said. “It was like the Vectorworks Design Summit on a smaller scale, and it was great to be able to bring content like that to a Nordic audience. It was a unique event for us, and the Vectorworks software distributors in the region have already begun arguing about who gets to host the Nordic Design Day next year.”

Recently, over 300 landscape architects and designers gathered in the heart of Berlin, Germany for the 12th German Landscape Architecture Awards. Selected by the Federation of German Landscape Architects, winning projects exemplify socially and ecologically oriented housing and landscape development, as well as contemporary open-space planning. The eight-member jury reviewed over 127 projects as part of this year’s competition, awarding two top prizes to firms that use Vectorworks Landmark software.

Lorsch Abbey Photo by Hanns Joosten

Lorsch Abbey photo by Hanns Joosten

TOPOTEK 1 Society of Landscape Architects was recognized for their project, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Abbey, a place of incredible importance to the history of Germany. The abbey is one of the few buildings from the Carolingian era whose original appearance remains intact, giving it both architectural and cultural significance. TOPOTEK 1’s design for the surrounding site used the natural relationships between the building and the landscape to help conserve the site’s heritage. The landscape features reflect the volumes of the buildings that used to surround the abbey in centuries past, a design approach that received high praise from the competition’s judges.

Gleisdreieck Park Photo by Julien Lanoo

Gleisdreieck Park photo by Julien Lanoo

Atelier LOIDL was also honored for its urban reclamation project in inner-city Berlin called Gleisdreieck Park. This area was formerly a train yard for the German state railway system, considered a wasteland since 1945. Atelier LOIDL’s comprehensive redevelopment plan incorporated the diverse needs of residents and stakeholders to reintegrate this area into the urban structure. The design’s simple, unadorned aesthetic melds with the site’s preexisting railway structures to create a poetic atmosphere.

Photo by Julien Lanoo

Gleisdreieck Park photo by Julien Lanoo

Congratulations to both firms on their awards.

As founders of the architecture practice LEVENBETTS, David Leven and Stella Betts recently deconstructed beachside living in the Hamptons into three spokes in its 36SML House in Amagansett, New York, creating distinct spaces and unique experiences for its owners and their guests.


Photo by Michael Moran

The 8,000-square-foot home rotates out from a central point into separate wings, each serving a different purpose. The first level divides the kitchen and dining area, the living space, and the garage, respectively, the later being separated even further from the main spaces by a driveway that cuts through one of the wings of the house. The second floor includes a wing containing the parents’ bedrooms, another wing for the children’s room, and another for guests.



By segmenting the building itself, the designers also reimagined the typical front yard/back yard paradigm. 36SML’s 1-1/4-acre square lot is portioned into areas for parking, a garden, and a pool, with each space clearly defined by the form of the home.


Photo by Michael Moran

Leven and Betts modeled the 36SML House with Vectorworks Architect software, keeping the notion of how the homeowners would experience the space in mind as they turned their inspiration into a realized design. “Strong connections to the outdoors, maximization of natural ventilation and minimization of air conditioning, lots of light, and the ability to have areas of intimacy within the open house were part and parcel of the charge for this project,” says Leven.


Photo by Michael Moran

This seemingly dichotomous desire for both openness and privacy resulted in a large but informal house where family and friends have the room to do anything they desire, encapsulated by an innovative floor plan that encourages them to examine the relationships between spaces from new perspectives.

By Martyn Horne, Group Product Development, Computers Unlimited

BIM Unlimited won the BEST USE OF BIM FOR SUSTAINABILITY OR CONSTRUCTABILITY award at the Build Earth Live event last week. This virtual, global design competition revolved around a site location in New York City. Like previous competitions such as Build London, Sydney, and Qatar, teams had just 48 hours to publish their proposals to Asite’s Adoddle cloud-based collaboration platform.

As the team’s BIM manager for the event, I led my international team members with a desire to create innovative architecture within an organized and collaborative BIM workflow. Tasked with a very demanding brief to reimagine the Hudson Yards site in lower west Manhattan and submit a proposal for both a 60-story residential tower AND a multisport community outreach arena adjacent to The High Line elevated urban park, lead architect Rubén Hernández Fontana and his team of architects at CAEDRO/Estudio Caribe created a sophisticated architectural concept with non-standard geometry, while the rest of the multidiscipline project team rose to the challenge of integrating that concept into their BIM workflow.

Truly demonstrating an interoperable BIM approach, the major disciplines within the team used their preferred software, while specializing in the fields of architecture, structural design and analysis, MEP design, and 4D construction scheduling, and exchanged their BIM models using IFC. Our team also welcomed for the first time new members including research students from the University of Tokyo and Tokyo University of Science with expertise in the area of external airflow led by Yasin Idris.

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FlowDesigner external airflow image courtesy of University of Tokyo students.

“The Build Earth Live events are a great example of what can be created in the short timeframe allowed when team disciplines work collaboratively and in parallel,” said the team’s BIM Validation and Analysis Manager David Oliveira. This sentiment was echoed by the judging panel, which commented on the impressive amount of detail that the BIM Unlimited team was able to present in the short time allowed.

Areas per Usage per Floor ITO BIM Unlimited Spaces Model

Solibri Model Checker ITO image courtesy of David Oliveira at Cadtec.

Our team’s response to the brief began with an analysis of site data available from the city planning department. When analyzing the site, Architect Rubén Hernández Fontana commented, “The outdoor green space harmoniously communicates the three areas of the project: the Sport Arena, the Residential Tower, and a pleasant spatial and visual connection with The High Line. The efficient connection between the areas and the good accessibility to the metro stations make an ideal community space for future urban development of the zone.”

With 796,000 square feet, the Hudson Yard Diagonals provides a particular connection with the different contextual elements found in the Hudson Yard area: first, a visual and operative connection to High Line Park; second the use of the planned site, maximizing, at the ground level the use of the public spaces; third, an elevated public and green space that connects the High Line Park, the view to the river and our proposal for the Sport Arena+Residential Tower, both visually and spatially.

The Residential Tower is conceived as a flexible structure, supported by an external diagrid. The diagram structure defines the composition of the façade, being integrated yet concealed by a curtain wall, which reflects a single angle in the diagrid. This forms a visual pattern that breaks with the usual diagrammatic design for diagrid structures, which is the main inspiration behind this building’s design and very simply changes the perception of a high-rise building.

architectural rendering BNYL[1]

This architectural rendering of design concept for the proposed Residential Tower and stadium was provided by Rubén Hernández Fontana and Jonathan Reeves.

The Sport Arena is idealized as a horizontal building that has direct relationship with public spaces, a relationship that is sometimes found in successful New York buildings as is the Lever House at 5th Avenue. This building, The Sport Arena, allocates a Multi-use Sport Hall for community use, while at the same time strengthening the project’s relationship with the ground level public space and the river front.

At the top of the Sport Arena is a green and open space that complements the High line, but at a higher level, producing different visuals of the site and the river. This space has a direct communication to the Residential Tower, making it an ideal space for the residents of the project.

Vectorworks Architect software was used to import SHP file geometry with embedded metadata to produce parametric visualizations of the “big data” or GIS data. This technology within the Architect platform creates an effective communication tool over and above trawling through lists of tabulated data. An airflow analysis of the site using FlowDesigner was also instrumental at this stage to simulate wind patterns over the localized site and existing buildings using weather data.

Early concepts utilizing a diagrid structure combined with volume massing and space layout objects allowed both the structural engineers (via Scia Engineer software) and the MEP engineers (via DDS-CAD) to begin working on IFC files exported out of Vectorworks Architect by the architectural team. David also carried out clash tests, evacuation escape route analyses, and room accessibility tests at this stage in Solibri Model Checker.

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Part of team BIM Unlimited with their award.

At the same time, the University of Tokyo team provided airflow analysis feedback of the massing studies, and this, in turn, led to the distinctive vertical louvered façade of the sports arena, the setback core of the ground floors of the residential tower, and the appropriate placement of trees in the landscape design to create an informed solution for the reduction of prevailing wind velocity at the corner of the buildings.

As another example of parallel working, UK Architect Jonathan Reeves and Architectural Technologist Samit Patel from Computers Unlimited were able to create a series of visuals, which communicated and documented the constant refinement of the proposals as the project evolved using Vectorworks’ rendering application, Renderworks. As Jonathan explained, “I was able to federate the existing site buildings and engineers’ IFC models with the native Vectorworks Architect files and render them in a single solution.”

Synchro PRO was used to create a schedule and a 4D animation, demonstrating the construction sequence and timeline for the proposal. With the architecture and structure IFC files created separately by different team members, Shaohua Guan from Synchro Software was able to integrate these separate files into one model and bring 3D BIM to another level – 4D.

And finally, the team’s presentation was completed by a series of plans, sections, and elevations generated directly from the BIM within Vectorworks Architect.

From my perspective, the BIM allowed the architectural team to interact with all the project disciplines, gaining genuine feedback, which allowed our team to create a more innovative and informed proposal. And of course, it’s in 3D, so it provides for the construction documentation in a shortened timeframe, which allowed us to hit the extremely challenging deadline.

In summary, both veterans and newcomers to the team all agree they took away a lot from their involvement in the competition and will look to apply their new knowledge back to their respective workplaces. Everyone also unanimously agrees that they can’t wait until the next Build Earth Live event – wherever it turns up next in the world.

By Frank Brault, Entertainment Industry Product Specialist at Vectorworks, Inc.

Whether you’re designing an indoor space for a concert venue, an auditorium, or even a large industrial, it’s important to make sure that your site looks like what the client envisions. But it’s also equally important to model what the people experiencing those spaces will be hearing. The location of the listener, the shape of the room, and the sources of the sound all impact the environment you’re creating. This is an issue that many of designers face while working in the entertainment industry, which is why I recently tested the workflow between Vectorworks Spotlight and ODEON software, an acoustics simulation program that analyzes and predicts how sound will move based on a building model.

First, I opened an existing theatre model in Spotlight that I had made for another project. ODEON’s Managing Director Claus Lynge Christensen recommended adding the necessary detail to make the room leak-proof, so I went through the model and closed up some gaps in the walls, under stairs, and behind seating risers.

Theatre model prior to export to OdeonNext, I exported my Spotlight model in STL format. ODEON works with STL files, as well as with DXF and SketchUp. Once my model was in ODEON, Claus used the Convert to Surfaces function to create the objects that ODEON uses. At first, my model had over 35,000 surfaces, which Claus noted was not optimal and could affect the accuracy of my results. After a short talk to figure out how to minimize the amount of surfaces, we realized that removing the lighting instruments in my model wouldn’t have a noticeable effect on the sound, so we turned them off and got the surface count down to an efficient number of around 5,000 surfaces.

Now, it was time to get into the sound work by setting up point sources and receivers, which indicate the origin of the sound and desired test points in various places in the room. They’re created in a similar way to how I usually place lighting devices, hanging positions, and focus points in Spotlight. And since I could set multiple receivers, I could compare the sound quality for people sitting in the orchestra with those in the balcony, which was really cool.

From there, I could start to analyze the room. ODEON has quite a few ways to explore sound, like its fascinating auralization feature, where you can upload a prerecorded sound file and hear the clip in a room’s various listening locations. Also, since ODEON can assign material properties to surfaces, you can predict the effect of various surface treatments on the anticipated sound quality. That way, you can be as accurate as possible with your room setup before you arrive onsite.

Here is an unprocessed, dry-sound sample of a cello solo before using ODEON’s auralization feature:


And here is the same sound sample, derived from a specific receiver position and source within the theatre test model:


In addition to the auralization function, ODEON calculates simulated reverberation times and can also produce many kinds of graphical representations of sound, like color diagrams based on frequency, loudness, scattering, and absorption. It can even produce graphs and charts of individual audio parameters at specific points in the room. You can use the results detailing the projected sound quality to improve your Spotlight model. Now, you can ensure your designs both look and sound their best. Learn more about ODEON on our Industry Partners page.

If the thought of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is keeping you up at night, you don’t have to worry. You’ve already taken the first step toward implementing a BIM workflow by using design software. The second step is attending BIM Camp, a seminar we’re offering in cities across the United States over the next few months.

15_VW00278_BIM_camp_image[1]DesiAIA LUgned to help those who are ready to take their designs to the next level but may be unsure of how to use BIM technology to its fullest potential, BIM Camps are intensive, four-hour programs that walk designers from simple sketch to a finished BIM model, all while they earn 3 AIA LUs and 1 HSW credit.  Each BIM Camp is broken down into three sections that focus on aspects of a BIM workflow, which include:

Sketch to BIM: A Design Workflow Philosophy (1 AIA LU)

Based on a standing-room-only presentation at the 2015 AIA National Convention, Sketch to BIM examines how digital technologies impact design decisions and overcome the perceived separation between BIM and creativity.

Building Information Modeling as a Design Process: Part 1 (1 AIA HSW)

Explore the varied roles that architects assume and the ways design technologies affect how they engage with building owners and other professionals throughout the journey from inspiration to execution.

Building Information Modeling as a Design Process: Part 2 (2 AIA LUs)

The successful implementation of a BIM workflow is a matter of understanding some basic rules and principles behind the extraction of information. This session outlines the various tools available for BIM and leads you through an example workflow for the design, analysis, and documentation of your model.

bim_eventbrite_header_982x350Check out the cities BIM Camp will be traveling to in the next three months:

  • October 6 at Boston Society of Architects in Boston, MA
  • October 8 at AIA NY’s Center for Architecture in New York, NY
  • October 28 at AIA Chicago in Chicago, IL
  • November 10 at AIA New Orleans in New Orleans, LA
  • December 8 at AIA Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA
  • December 10 at AIA San Francisco in San Francisco, CA

Admission is only $25, with all proceeds going to the Vectorworks Design Scholarship, an international design competition that supports the next generation of creative visionaries. Save your seat today and start reimagining your workflows with BIM.

There are a lot of exciting new features in Vectorworks 2016, and we know you want to start incorporating them into your design workflow right away. That’s why we asked three designers who’ve been using these features to share some insight on what they’ve found to be best practices when it come to the latest release of Vectorworks software.

Project Sharing

“When starting a project file, it is important for team members to understand what level of permission they will have and what they will or will not be able to do. One member of the team should be assigned as the administrator of the project file, which will give this person control of the workflow. Carefully assign other team members with the proper level of permission, aligning his/her role on the project.”

-Luc Lefebvre, RA, OAQ, LEED AP, Project Manager and BIM Manager at King + King Architects

Learn more about how to use Project Sharing with these step-by-step how-to videos.



“The best way to get the most out of Energos is to start using it early in design. Start with basic propositions like orientation and wall assembly R-value, then test them. As the design matures, get incrementally more detailed in your energy assumptions as your confidence in the validity of the model grows. Mostly, have fun with it!”

-François Lévy, AIA, Author and Partner, Lévy Kohlhaas Architecture



“Keep it simple at first. Learn to break up scripts into pieces so that you just deal with one operation at a time. Then, create an array and connect them. If you try to create a big array from the start, you can get lost very quickly, and it’s hard to troubleshoot if it’s too big and you’re unsure of where the mistake could be.”

-Stanley Rostas, AIA, LEED, BD&C, IIA, CNU, Principal at Shook Kelley


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at or tweet at us @VectorworksHelp. And check out the Vectorworks 2016 page for more information about the over 100 new features now available to help you transform the world.

Pack your bags! You’re invited to join us for a revitalizing three days of workflow-enhancing fun at our annual global conference! In its second year, the 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit is taking Illinois’ Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park hotel by storm from April 25 to April 27. With keynote presentations by Vectorworks executives and industry leaders, a sneak peek into the future of our software, and networking opportunities with product engineers, power users, and third-party partners, attendees will leave feeling inspired to solve their next design challenge.


“The conference brings together a community of creative minds who rely on Vectorworks design software to conceptualize and transform their ideas into real experiences that can be shared with the world,” says Vectorworks’ Chief Marketing Officer Stewart Rom. “At our 2015 Design Summit, it was exciting to see so many people who share a passion for creative design, exchanging ideas, exploring concepts that give them a competitive edge and truly having a great time together. I know that our 2016 Design Summit will surpass expectations and deliver a meaningful three days.”

The standard registration fee for the event is $499, but with our “Get the Worm” special, fees are reduced to $199 for early registrants through October 31. Design students and instructors who register before October 31 may also take advantage of early registration discounts, paying $49 rather than the standard $99 rate. Register online to lock in these savings, as well as to book a discounted stay at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, situated minutes from many of Chicago’s historic attractions.

Call for Presentations is Now Open 

Your experiences give you a distinct story to tell, so we’re inviting you to share it at the Design Summit. As a speaker at our flagship event, you’ll offer your insights and empower a worldwide community of Vectorworks designers. Topics addressing emerging trends, innovative design solutions, award-winning projects, workflow strategies, and efficiency gains with Vectorworks software are highly valued. If you’re interested in inspiring others with your design insight, be sure to submit a proposal before the October 31 deadline. Selected speakers will be notified by November 30, and will receive complimentary travel, event registration, and hotel accommodations.


2015 Design Summit closing speaker Adrian McGregor, FAILA, RLA, MAIH, MPIA, managing director of McGregor Coxall

Exhibit Your Product

If you’re looking to showcase your company’s products and services to hundreds of professionals in the AEC, landscape, and entertainment design industries, then take advantage of a valuable, free opportunity to get face-time with our users. Space in the expo hall is limited, so interested companies should apply now. Selection is based on company relevance to attendees, any existing partnership with Vectorworks, and application date. Companies wishing to sponsor the event should reach out to


2015 Design Summit exhibitor Synchro Software and an attendee engaged in conversation.

Follow #VectorworksDesignSummit or bookmark to stay in the loop about impending speakers, sessions, and other conference news!


By François Lévy, AIA, Author and Partner, Lévy Kohlhaas Architecture

One of the cornerstones of my architectural design philosophy is taking cues from the climate. Whenever I start a new project, I explore the surrounding environment to determine a building’s best possible orientation, aspect ratio, and how to maximize shade. Many of the decisions I make are based on the quantitative validation of my own qualitative experience and training. With the Energos module in Vectorworks 2016 software, I have a new, powerful, active tool that gives me feedback on my design’s energy efficiency in real-time as I evolve the project model.

Energos 2The passive and active energy strategies appropriate to an architectural design are expressions of the climate it inhabits. The most direct way to determine the effectiveness of a given strategy or which design approach to use is to pull data from your model. Information-rich 3D models inherently contain data that can inform your design decisions. Vectorworks software, in particular, is useful for this thanks to its advanced suite of standard and customizable tools: worksheets, dynamic site modeling, and Heliodon sun/shade studies, to name a few. Custom worksheets are especially helpful for things like rainwater harvesting and passive ventilation calculations because they take the information for the formulas straight from your design. In previous versions of the software, I would take this data that I collected and use my own experience and intuition to take a first pass at climate-sensitive design. Energos adds a whole new layer to this design process. Instead of estimating the energy efficiency of my designs, Energos provides quantitative feedback about my model in the form of a color-coded gradient, from most energy-efficient (green) to least (red).

The real benefit of Energos is that it is responsive. With every update or change to your model, you know quantitatively whether or not that shift in orientation or additional shading improved your project’s energy performance. The building envelope calculations in Energos are great, too, and were very helpful on the project that I’ve completed with Energos so far: Hope House. This non-profit started decades ago as a home for children born with serious mental and physical disabilities. Fast forward to today, when medical advances enable residents to lead longer lives, and there’s a need for adult housing. The team at Hope House commissioned a residential duplex for their adult residents, and after meeting with the employees and the residents and learning about the organization’s mission, I was absolutely on board to design this project.

Energos 1One thing I’ve learned over the years about nonprofits is that it’s much easier for them to fundraise for capital improvements like a new facility, but it’s harder to sustain that flow of money to pay for day-to-day operations, like maintenance, lighting, and air conditioning, once the structure is built. That’s why Energos was so helpful; it helped me to ensure that the building envelope is as efficient as possible, so Hope House can spend more of its money on caring for its residents rather than worrying about paying the electric bill. After several design iterations, I used Energos to more closely investigate alternative design solutions for the building envelope. By modeling some cost-effective, insulated sheathing, my Energos rating improved for both overall insulation and thermal bridging, which will save Hope House money down the line.

In my experience, the Energos module has been easy to use. You can adjust the settings for detailed or streamlined energy modeling based on your familiarity with energy analysis. It’s important to note that entering flawed data will yield incorrect results, so avoid getting too detailed if you don’t understand the underlying science behind energy modeling as you might not even notice that your results are off. Another important distinction is that Energos is a design tool, not a certification process. The data you get from it won’t get you a LEED certification, but it can assist in designing more energy efficiently, which at the end of the day is the real goal. The value of Energos is that it lets you check your design decisions as you make them throughout the design process, validating your ideas or helping you to refine them. Just like the other great tools in Vectorworks software, Energos helps me make informed choices about my options as I’m exploring my design.