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Autodesk FormIt: Validation of the Energy Cost Range

June 26, 2014

Takeaway: Autodesk FormIt for iOS is an App that incorporates building performance analysis from the very earliest stages of the design process. Validation of the Energy Cost Range involved more than 171,000 energy simulations, which were carefully reviewed by our QA and building science expert’s team.

When you first create a new sketch in FormIt, a graph of the Energy Cost Range is immediately returned. Please visit our blog postings: Autodesk FormIt v6.0 available: Incorporates BPA for Early Stage Design; and Formit Weather Stations on iPad is here! Let’s take a first look …, for more details. This Building Performance Analysis feedback shows the probable range of energy cost for all buildings in all climates.




As you progress with your sketch by defining a location, building size, and/or building use type, the energy cost range is narrowed, based upon these inputs.




The data behind FormIt’s Energy Cost Range results comes from an Autodesk Green Building Studio (GBS) dataset of more than 171,000 energy simulations. These pre-computed DOE2.2 whole building energy simulations cover 16 climate locations, representative of all worldwide climates, 34 building type functions, 4 conceptual building sizes and forms, and a wide range of energy efficiency measures covered by 37 parameters (representing new construction standards and beyond) . Visit our help topic for more details of the simulation parameters: Alternative Runs (Details). The utility costs currently assume $0.10 USD/kWh of electricity and $1.00 USD/therm of fuel.

These simulations were performed and validated for the Potential Energy Analysis (PES) feature. Visit this blog posting for more information about the validation process: Autodesk Green Building Studio’s Potential Energy Savings Feature, Validation Study, as well as this Help Topic: Potential Energy Savings Chart Validation Study (which includes the full set of our PES validation runs for download).

The locations used for the simulations:

Location ASHRAE Climate Zone
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1A
Caracas, Venezuela 1B
Brasilia, Brazil 2A
Cairo, Egypt 2B
Sydney, Australia 3A
Crete, Greece 3B
Addis Abada, Ethiopia 3C
Nantes, France 4A
Albuquerque, NM 4B
Seattle, WA 4C
Glasgow, Scotland 5A
Uyrgur, Xinjiang, China 5B
Ottowa, Canada 6A
Rock Springs, WY 6B
Ukhta, Russia 7
Krasnoiarsk, Russia 8


Building Type

  • Automotive Facility
  • Convention Center
  • Courthouse
  • Dining Bar Lounge or Leisure
  • Dining Cafeteria Fast Food
  • Dining Family
  • Dormitory
  • Exercise Center
  • Fire Station
  • Gymnasium
  • Hospital or Healthcare
  • Hotel
  • Library
  • Manufacturing
  • Motel
  • Motion Picture Theatre
  • Multi Family
  • Museum
  • Office
  • Parking Garage
  • Penitentiary
  • Performing Arts Theater
  • Police Station
  • Post Office
  • Religious Building
  • Retail
  • School or University
  • Single Family
  • Sports Arena
  • Town Hall
  • Transportation
  • Warehouse
  • Workshop
Building Configurations number of floors area (square meters) area (square feet)
small low <=3 <=9290 <=100,000
small high >3 <=9290 <=100,000
large low <=3 >9290 >100,000
large high >3 >9290 >100,000


Parameter Number of alternatives
Orientations 7 + baseline of Project North facing North
Wall Construction 2 + baseline thermal properties
Roof Construction 2 + baseline thermal properties
Window Glass 4 + baseline thermal properties
Skylight Glass 4 + baseline thermal properties
Infiltration 2 +baseline value
Lighting Efficiency 2 +baseline value
Plug Load Efficiency 2 +baseline value
Lighting Controls (Daylighting) with all Window Glass Parameters 4 + daylighting with baseline window glass
Lighting Controls (Daylighting) with all Skylight Glass Parameters 4 + daylighting with baseline skylight glass
Occupancy Sensors Either off or on (baseline assumes off)


Details of the parameters are outlined in this Help Topic: Alternative Runs (Details). All baseline properties and values are based upon building type function, building size and height, and project location. These baseline assumptions are based upon a number of energy standards and building surveys. More information about the assumptions used for baselines can be found in this Help Topic: Assumptions and Default Values in GBS.

Tell us what you think: We encourage everyone to download FormIt and try it out. Please post your comments and questions on our Building Performance Analysis Community pages. Our Building Performance Analysis (BPA) team regularly monitors the community forums and will respond to your postings.


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