A woman at a computer using sketchup predesign (Amy Hirschi/Unsplash)

Sketchup launches PreDesign for built-in environmental modeling

In the fall of 2020 in Sunnyvale, California, Trimble, Sketchup’s parent company, announced PreDesign: A service that allows architects and designers to test design strategies and understand the effects of climate and lighting on a building from the outset.

The Sketchup feature permits the designer to get the valuable data needed to weave contextual insights into projects.

Andrew Corney, Trimble’s product director said that “With PreDesign, we’re providing designers with the insights they need to take a truly holistic approach to creating suitable design strategies and communicate value to their clients.” As architects continue to understand the importance of climate responsiveness in the design phase, especially as BIM integration becomes ever more prevalent and important. PreDesign was conceived to ensure that from the beginning architects and designers are taking full advantage of the available data to incorporate environmental design into the early stages of projects and maximize building energy performance and efficiency.

PreDesign was created to empowers architects and designers to test proposals against the site’s climate, environmental, and light-related impacts in the conceptual phase, and provide the data and graphics to communicate a narrative around early-stage climate-related design decisions. Adam Osterhoff, principal architect at Heartwood Studio testified that, “Its compelling visual outputs and intelligent talking points also help us clearly communicate the value of our proposals to clients,” providing the “useful information that we need to position our projects for better design outcomes from the very start.”

By using site location and building type, PreDesign enables Sketchup users to find design strategies, get inspiration for narratives and generate graphics. It also suggests design responses with regards to openings, shading, or heating to suit the context, as well as potential outdoor space extensions (in the given example on their website, the size and orientation of potential pergolas is used). PreDesign simplifies design research by providing the climate statistics and insights designers need to quantify climate-related design constraints and propose the most practical solutions.

The cloud-based feature allows users to connect the dots between climate and building type and is available in Sketchup Pro 2021, Studio, or Enterprise subscriptions.