Energy Optimization with Autodesk Revit®

July 2, 2020

Sustainable design has become an important part of the architectural design industry. Recently the Energy Optimization tools within Revit have been expanded. Energy Optimization (EO) requires an Autodesk subscription to access the online tools including the energy analysis dashboard called Insight360. We will examine the tools available on the Energy Optimization panel of the Analyze tab in Revit 2020.

The key to accurate energy analysis is to set the Project Location and select the closest weather station. The Project Location button is located on the EO panel, and also in the Project Information. The default location is set to Boston, MA, for all projects. This will yield inaccurate results for places such as Yuma, AZ. It is also important to orient the building correctly on the site using the Survey Point and True North settings.


In order to run the energy analysis, create an Energy Model. Revit will use either mass elements, building elements, or a combination of both. Selection of elements occurs within the Energy Settings dialog box, also available on the EO panel. The Create Energy Model button opens a new 3D view called Analytical Spaces. This model will be used for the EO tools online. Alternatively, a System-Zones view can be used if those spaces are known.


Additional settings in the Energy Settings dialog box include the Ground Plane and Project Phase as well as other specific energy analysis settings such as Perimeter Zone Depth and Division. The Advanced Options Edit button opens a second dialog box with more advanced settings for specific optimization. If using EO for early design analysis, it is not necessary to set the Advanced Options.

The Generate button on the EO panel handles the energy design analysis. Analysis takes place externally via Autodesk’s Insight360 website. The user receives an email when the model is received by Insight360, and when the results are available. Clicking on the Optimize button opens the Insight results. From there various dashboard “widgets” guide the user to select criteria that creates a best case scenario for energy optimization. The Benchmark Comparison shows a range in either kWh/units/year, or currency/units/year (i.e. kWh/ft2/yr) and is based off of ASHRAE 90.1 and Architecture 2030 criteria. The lower the number, the better the optimization. The goal is to get the slider to green! Options include glazing, building orientation, mechanical systems, lighting and plug load efficiency, and PV panel options. Changes made in Insight360 are not applied back to the Revit model. Those changes would need to be applied manually.

Using the Energy Optimization tools within Revit allow the designer to make informed decisions when it comes to creating energy efficient and sustainable buildings.


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