OpenStudio is a suite of free and open source software applications for building energy analysis used in building information modeling.[15] OpenStudio applications run on Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms.[16] Its primary application is a plugin for SketchUp, that enables engineers to view and edit 3D models for EnergyPlus simulation software.[17][18][19][20][21][22][15]

OpenStudio was first released in April 2008 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a part of the U.S. Department of Energy.[21][15] NREL reports an average of 700 OpenStudio downloads per month.[21] Google's strategist for SketchUp, remarked that "OpenStudio is lauded around our office as one of the most complicated plug-ins ever written for SketchUp".[21]

OpenStudio was designed to work with SketchUp, because many architects already use SketchUp for building designs. The integration allows architects to analyze a design's energy performance before beginning construction.[15]

The first private organization selected by NREL to conduct OpenStudio courses was Performance Systems Development, a New York-based training institute.[26] Courses will be conducted for building professionals, software developers, and utility administrators.[26]


OpenStudio includes a Sketchup Plug-in and other associated applications:

  • The Sketchup Plug-in allows users to create 3D geometry needed for EnergyPlus using the existing drawing tools.
  • RunManager manages simulations and workflows and gives users access to the output files through a graphical interface.
  • ResultsViewer enables browsing, plotting, and comparing EnergyPlus output data, especially time series.[27]

Sketchup Plugin

The OpenStudio Sketchup Plug-in allows users to use the standard SketchUp tools to create and edit EnergyPlus zones and surfaces. It allows SketchUp to view EnergyPlus input files in 3D. The plug-in allows users to mix EnergyPlus simulation content with decorative content.[16]

The plug-in adds the building energy simulation capabilities of EnergyPlus to the SketchUp environment. Users can launch an EnergyPlus simulation of the model and view the results without leaving SketchUp.[16]

The Plug-in allows engineers to:

  • Create and edit EnergyPlus zones and surfaces
  • Launch EnergyPlus and view the results without leaving SketchUp
  • Match interzone surface boundary conditions
  • Search for surfaces and subsurfaces by object name
  • Add internal gains and simple outdoor air for load calculations
  • Add the ideal HVAC system for load calculations
  • Set and change default constructions
  • Add daylighting controls and illuminance map