Energy3D is a computer-aided engineering tool for students to design, analyze, and construct model green buildings. Students can quickly sketch up a building and then evaluate its energy performance for any given day and location. Based on computational physics, Energy3D can rapidly generate time graphs (resembling data loggers) and heat maps (resembling infrared cameras) for in-depth analyses. At the end of the design, Energy3D allows students to print it out, cut out the pieces, and use them to assemble a physical model. Energy3D has been developed for children of age 6-18 and can be used in math, engineering, or physics classes. Because of its playful interface, it may also be considered as a design and construction game.

Accurate solar radiation modeling


The following comparison of calculated and measured data of solar radiation at 10 US locations shows Energy3D's degree of accuracy for predicting insolation. The measured data are from the National Solar Radiation Database collected by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy. The unit is kWh/m2/day.

Horizontal surface:


South-facing vertical surface:

Intuitive building performance analysis


Twelve-month solar irradiation heat maps of a house (location: Boston, MA):



Energy usage and sensor graphs:


Printed paper models




Developed by Saeid Nourian & Charles Xie. © 2011-2014 The Concord Consortium.

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