Who this is for: Anyone who’s looking for clear and complete guidance on Autodesk’s building performance analysis workflows. Which tool to use when, and why? How to use the tool? How does it all fit together?
Takeaway: We’ve just launched the first iteration of re-vamped product help documentation for Autodesk’s energy analysis and sustainable design analysis tools. It currently covers Autodesk Green Building Studio, GBS-based energy analysis workflows, and Revit’s new illuminance rendering tool. We plan to improve and expand it over time.
By: Adam Menter & Mohammad Rahmani Asl
At Autodesk we’re trying to make performance-based sustainable design easier and more prevalent – both with our software tools and our educational programs around those tools (like the BPA Certificate program). Product help documentation is where these two things meet. We’re happy to announce that we’re re-vamping the product documentation for our building performance analysis tools, and the first iteration of that knowledge base is here:
Building Performance Analysis (BPA) is a deep and complex discipline. We’re trying to present it in a clear and accessible way, without scrimping on the details you need to have confidence in the tools.
One element of this complexity is the sheer number of tools, and the corresponding different approaches and aspects to analysis. Just within the Autodesk portfolio of products, there are multiple interconnected workflows. Should you use Revit? Green Building Studio? Ecotect? Vasari? FormIt? Furthermore, the interoperability of Autodesk tools and outside tools is also critically important.
For this reason, we’ve decided to combine help documentation to cover BPA workflows across Autodesk products. The diagram below shows the scope and relationship between these topics.
The areas outlined in red are currently covered in Autodesk BPA Help (GBS-based whole building energy analysis + A360-based illuminance rendering from Revit). Over time, this documentation will grow to cover what’s outlined within the BPA dotted line.
[NOTE: Right now Revit and Vasari-based BPA help lives only within the Revit and Vasari help sites. Over time, we plan to consolidate them into this one knowledge base… but the (same) information will still also be represented within the Help of those products.]
This work is being done collaboratively by the team that built the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop and Autodesk’s BPA product team that develops the software. This knowledge base will also be foundational to online courses that guide people through the material: Autodesk BPA Certificate and Autodesk BPA Credits.
A few things to note about the new BPA Help
- Videos embedded within the Help (example - Getting Started)
- Download sample files to allow you to test the workflows yourself (example - gbXML Energy Analysis Workflow)
- More schematic diagrams and workflow charts (example - Whole Building Energy Analysis)
- More fundamentals on energy modeling (example - EAM)
- Deeper dives on the tools (example - PES)
A few areas of planned improvement include
- Validation studies, integrated with Help
- Even more information on what’s “under the hood”
- Continuous improvement and maintenance (based on new tool releases + feedback and questions from users)
- More images, more videos
- Global localization
- More topics covered and connected (per the diagram above)
We want this Help documentation to be best-in-class. What do you think about this approach, and our first release? How can we make it better?