May 19

Climate Change

To reduce emissions in the built environment to demanding levels requires both conversation measures and low carbon heating/cooling sources.

This requires deep renovation of buildings and higher rates of renovation.

For high performance buildings an early exercise with Building Performance Simulation by Energy Modelling enables the evaluation of numerous solutions to explore some example parameters:

  • Low embodied energy with environmental appropriate materials
  • Lower costs with selection of new materials and technologies
  • Hybrid solutions
  • On-site generation and energy storage systems
  • Level of disruption to occupants

These are just some of the factors and this process starts with simple modelling.

Building professionals including Architects will generally require a visual 3D model at an early stage.

The GreenspaceLive gModeller based on Trimble Sketchup enables an early exercise in Energy Modelling. The energy analysis engine gEnergy enables full dynamic simulation.

Apr 19

JV project ECCOlab is on the move!

Circular London is running a six-month accelerator programme to drive circular economy innovation in the built environment.

The accelerator, which is powered by LWARB and Carbon Trust is located in LWARB’s circular office in Shoreditch. The programme is currently offering bespoke support to seven start-ups working to create innovative solutions for challenges in the built environment.

Rapiere Software Ltd (with GreenspaceLive as a partner) created ECCOlab, a web application, to aid building design for the circular economy including lifecycle carbon and cost. ECCOlab is both an integrated BIM (Building Information Modelling) and carbon modelling tool for lifecycle carbon.

As a cloud-based tool, accessed through a web application, and using the IFC file format (the standard BIM interoperable file format) it is OS and BIM-tool agnostic, allowing access to all parts of the construction value chain. By allowing multiple users to access the model (like Google Docs) it is also a collaboration tool, as well as a modelling/simulation tool.

Dec 18

gEnergy is the web interface to EnergyPlus

Our software provides a user interface for the EnergyPlus simulation engine. gModeller facilitates easy entry of building geometry and fabric constructions using Sketchup and gEnergy allows the full scope of EnergyPlus objects to be edited.

For detailed information on the actual energy simulation you are best to refer to the Energy plus Input/Output and Engineering Reference manuals:

Input Output Reference (PDF)
Engineering Reference (PDF)

Also, Big Ladder Software provide training on EnergyPlus and have some very good reference material on their website that is easier to navigate.

EnergyPlus Web-Based Documentation

Weather data is available for over 2000 global locations. Data is in a standard, well documented, EPW format so it is also possible to construct your own weather files if you have localised data available of if you wish to push your model through some extreme weather events. The following link provides a map of locations:


The link below is to a guide on using EnergyPlus for producing compliance reports:

Using EnergyPlus for Compliance (PDF)

Aug 14

Project AIDA Study Tour

In April 2012, GreenspaceLive were confirmed as the UK’s official consortium in The Affirmative Integrated Energy Design Action (AIDA) project. AIDA is a project funded by Intelligent Energy Europe with a view to supporting building professionals and local authorities in the design and implementation of nZEB’s (nearly Zero Energy Buildings). Through a series of study tours, sustainable policies and web-based BIM (Building Information Modelling) software; the AIDA project aims to achieve several targets. To increase the number of nZEB buildings throughout Europe, the number of building professionals trained on integrated energy design, and the number of municipalities beginning to build and refurbish buildings to nZEB levels.

On Friday the 29th of August we will present our fourth study tour, a local building; the newly completed Temporary Accommodation Centre located in Stornoway. It has been built to high energy efficiency standards, incorporating air source heat pumps and solar PVs.




The tour will consist of a design presentation and tour of the building, followed by a Q&A and a demonstration of our Energy Design Tools.

If you wish to attend the tour please, register using the following link:


or call 01851 707876



Jan 14

The European Project

In April 2012, we were confirmed as the UK’s official consortium in The Affirmative Integrated Energy Design Action (AIDA) project. AIDA is a project funded by Intelligent Energy Europe with a view to supporting building professionals and local authorities in the designing and implementation of nZEB’s (nearly Zero Energy Buildings). Through a series of study tours, sustainable policies and web-based BIM (Building Information Modelling) software; the AIDA project aims to increase the number of nZEB buildings throughout Europe, the number of building professionals trained on integrated energy design and the number of municipalities starting to build/refurbish buildings to nZEB levels.

We have already completed one study tour of a primary school in Wolverhampton, which was the UK’s first Passivhaus certified primary school. The tour proved to be a success and the full document can be read here (OakMeadow_successStory_2012_02_15). In addition, our gEnergy tool is now ready to be presented in workshops during the study tours. gEnergy is being offered for use to project partners and participating municipalities, architects and engineers. It will be used to identify where improvements are needed in existing buildings and to demonstrate that proposed new designs meet nZEB requirements.

On the 22nd of January we will be presenting our second study tour, a local island building; The Galson Trust Business Centre:




This will feature a design presentation and tour of the building, followed by a Q&A and a demonstration of our Energy Design Tools. Finally we will be stopping at the Galson Wind Turbine where our AIDA Project Manager will be giving a brief technical lecture. If you would like to be present at the study tour please follow the link and register:


AIDA’s core objective is the eventual widespread adoption of nZEB throughout Europe and to help the EU’s 2020 objectives for reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. We at GreenspaceLive are excited to be part of this collaboration project, and we hope it’s the beginning of a sustainable future.




Vienna University of Technology – Energy Economics Group

AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies

CIMNE BEEGROUP, – Building Energy and Environment

Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving – Energy Policy Analysis Department

EURAC research – Institute for Renewable Energy

Geonardo Environmental Technologies Ltd.

HESPUL – énergies renouvelables & efficacité énergétique

IREC – Catalonia Institute for Energy Research

Greenspace Live Ltd.

Energy Cities (sub-contractor)

Nov 13

Introducing the gEnergyWiki and Public Projects!

We’ve just activated our gEnergy wiki – 450 EnergyPlus sample projects linked to gEnergy Public Projects. Click here to visit it! 

Each wiki page links to a corresponding gEnergy Public Project which can be used to inspect and query the EnergyPlus model. Eg:

We’re looking to add more and get world-class Revit/gbXML/SketchUp/EnergyPlus experts contributing, why not contact us to get involved?

Daily updates and focus projects can be found and followed on Twitter @greenspaceLive

Oct 11

SketchUp your way to low carbon building design

With all the hype being about low carbon building design these days and with an array of tools to choose from, Google SketchUp continues to grow in popularity.  Gone are the outdated conceptions’ that architects manipulate primitive, simple shapes like virtual putty in 3D space, and now in, are new methods involving intelligent wall assemblies that “know” their own material make-up and that can be used to generate an information rich building model.

You could be forgiven if  at first glance, you perceived this as a trend towards increasing complexity, and that future architects will need to be specialists in BIM methodology in order to contribute to architectural practice. Think again. Google SketchUp, is perhaps the easiest 3D CAD based software to learn on the market at the moment and is rapidly becoming the number one choice for architects in early phases of building design.

Building created with Google SketchUp

Although SketchUp does not provide the BIM functionality that is present in other far more expensive solutions, I believe the future is very promising. SketchUp has a short learning curve, competitive price (free), 3D-based focus (a prerequisite for BIM programs), pleasing visualization capabilities make SketchUp a strong contender to begin with. Now add the fact that it is part of the “Google Empire,” directly connected to Google Earth and its repository of 3D buildings, terrain, and street views—as well as the 3D Warehouse—and you have a contender with enviable if not inevitable odds for success.

Google SketchUp gModeller

Of course, SketchUp does not currently possess all of the functionality of more expensive programs—far from it. Nevertheless, now in its 8th Version, SketchUp has already become a far more sophisticated program than version 1.0.  greenspaceLive plans to  harness the capabilities of SketchUp, by offering gModeller an energy analysis plug-in, which allows Architects to make informed decisions on building design.

– Derek

Sep 11

gModeller for Google SketchUp Overview

My name is Alexander Nicolson and I have been working at Greenspace Live for just over 2 years now and in that time my main responsibilities have been to create gbXML models using the Greenspace Live gModeller plug in for Google SketchUp and to help develop the tool.

There are other energy analysis plug ins for SketchUp on the market such VE-Ware from IES and Open Studio from Energy Plus but what makes us unique is the fact that the gModeller plug in is still the only way to export gbXML from SketchUp. What this means is that unlike other plug ins, you are able to use gModeller as the first step in the energy analysis of your building to take into popular analysis tools such as GBS (Green Building Studio), Ecotect, IES, Design Builder and any other software that supports gbXML.

The tool has come a long way in the time that I have been at Greenspace Live. The speed, performance and reliability are constantly being improved and you can now use gModeller to generate gbXML’s of very large buildings.

The first task is to model your building in SketchUp using single surfaces for each building element i.e. walls, floors, roofs etc. An x-ray view of a building model which is suitable for gModeller is shown below.

Still the most common problem new users of the plug in seem to have is the generating your building model in SketchUp in a way that allows you to use gModeller to generate a gbXML file of the building. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to read the gModeller user guide prior to downloading and installing gModeller.

Once you have modelled you building you then populate your model using the SketchUp paint tool by simply selecting the element from the gbXML palette and clicking on the desired surface, basically select exterior wall from the paint gbXML folder and click on all the exterior walls of your building and follow the same process for your floors ceilings roofs, windows and doors. Once you have done this you then have to identify all the spaces in your building and this is done using gModellers select space and create space tools. Using SketchUp’s section plane tool allows you to view the inside of the building, using select space you click on part of the floor of a zone and gModeller will automatically identify all the surfaces which make up that space and you simply name appropriately and continue this process until you have identified all the zones in your building. Once that is done you are then ready to export your gbXML and use it for energy analysis purposes.

We are constantly looking for ways to develop and improve gModeller. The next release of gModeller, coming this month, will see the biggest developments in the tool in my time at Greenspace Live. The main new features we are currently developing are an auto-apply surfaces button option and an auto-apply spaces option. These new features will dramatically reduce the time taken to generate a gbXML by eliminating the task of manually assigning the gbXML surfaces and spaces in your building model. Other improvements include a gbXML data sheet; giving you detailed information about your gbXML which will highlight any errors that may be present in your building model.

– Alex

Sep 11

Describing buildings

A house of cards, built by robots.“In need of some modernisation.”
“Many period features.”
“Compact and bijou.”

There are many ways to describe a building (particularly if you are an estate agent) but when it comes to pinning down exactly how much energy it’s using — and how energy use can be minimised — then you need to be much more precise.

Many modern energy analysis tools approach this problem by having you construct a 3-D model.

One problem with this approach is that each of these tools have their own interfaces, and you often need to spend a substantial amount of time learning how they work (and how to avoid their quirks).

Another problem is that they are often closed systems. Even if you already have a 3-D model created somewhere else, it may not be possible to import it. And once your masterwork of a model is created in one tool, you generally cannot reuse it in another one.

At GreenspaceLive we believe in collaboration. We also believe in second (and third, and fourth) opinions when searching for energy-efficient and low-carbon solutions.

That’s why our approach to modelling (gModeller) uses Google Sketchup: no new tools or difficult paradigms to master, no awkward interfaces to learn your way around. Just Google’s ridiculously easy-to-use — and free — modelling tool.

To that, we’ve added the ability to export (and import) the model in gbXML format. gbXML is an open standard, and is a vendor-neutral way of describing a building (it’s a bit like the PDF of the building-model world).

Model, export and analyse flowchart

Model, export, analyse

Once you’ve made your building in Sketchup, export it in gbXML format and then import it into a wide variety of other tools for further analysis.

Of course, we provide our own cross-platform energy analysis tool, gEnergy, and we hope you’ll try it first. But you’re not limited to it. As gbXML is totally non-proprietary you can use it in any tool that supports it — see the comprehensive list on the gbxml.org website.

Why not start analysing today?

– Donald I

Aug 11

New Look. New Blog.

Greenspace Live Logo

Hi everyone,

Welcome to Greenspace Live’s new blog, being launched alongside our new look website, and product suite.

We aim to use this blog to report on developments in construction and energy software, discuss our toolsets, provide tutorials, and pretty much anything else that we find interesting.

We’re hoping that you will find this blog useful and informative – and also a place to have some lively discussions!

We’ve been really busy over the last couple of months – redesigning our product website and products. One of the major pieces of work here, has been on a rebuild of gWorkspace. We’re really excited about this, and hope that you will find it useful too.

gWorkspace is now completely integrated into our website and other tools – and becomes the central hub of GreenspaceLive. Collaboration is a key part of gWorkspace now. You can create projects and share them with your colleagues, team, friends, or anyone you see fit. As well as share files and folders – you can also share analyse results and models – and keep in touch with your team using gWorkspace’s messaging system. All our other tools integrate with gWorkspace, so that you can access your projects, files, and contacts from our website, Google SketchUp (using gModeller), and through gEnergy EPC. Suffice to say, that we are working on some other really cool ways of accessing gModeller as well. Keep an eye on this blog for more information about that.

Thanks for having a look at our new blog, and stay connected to find out more about Greenspace Live, what we get up to, and things of interest to our areas of expertise. Feel free to use the comments section, or our forum to ask us questions, and to keep in touch.

– Malcolm