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Green design in SketchUp for Blog Action Day

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to run a friendly competition for today's Blog Action Day post. We asked readers of the SketchUpdate newsletter to submit examples of sustainable work they've done in SketchUp. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the following six projects; they were the most compelling, and most complete, that we received.

Green design in SketchUpU.C. Davis Graduate School of Management
Davis, California, USA
Ian Merker, Assoc. AIA, LEED APM F D B Architects, Inc.
SketchUp model | More images

"This project was projected to be LEED Silver at a minimum. It employs extensive use of sun shading for the harsh western exposure, reclaimed wood cladding and an ice chiller plant for the HVAC systems. We modeled every detail down to the interior of the lobby so that the client could understand the purpose behind the use of every finish material."

SketchUp modelCenter for Regenerative Studies
Duwakot, Bhaktapur, Nepal
Rabindra Adhikari, Nepal Engineering College
SketchUp model | More images

"The Center for Regenerative Studies is an academic complex designed for research, participation and education about regenerative processes. Students and Staff would live in this residential symbiotic environment learning from each other and educating the community. General sustainability and its various aspects are incorporated in the overall design process. This project is set in the landscape with minimum interference. Designed with the concept of CELL and TISSUE, these prototypes have the ability to adjust themselves with the varying slope of the site. Building features such as wind catchers, skylighting, geo-thermal energy utilization, water catchment plans, water recycling and various energy harvesting techniques such as PVC are considered a part of the building itself."

SketchUp modelO'Donnell Residence
Palm Springs, California, USA
Brendan Eberhardt, Lance O'Donnello2 Architecture
SketchUp model | More images

Site Design: The site for this home is a boulder and sand hillside in Palm Springs, California. Weather in this area may be described as having extremely hot and arid summers and early fall (+115 F daytime highs and +80 F nighttime lows) with cool winter temperatures (+70 F daytime highs and +30 F nighttime lows). The home is designed to work in harmony with natural sloping site and local climatic patterns. The design maximizes southern exposure (passive solar winter heating) and minimizes east/west (hot summer sun) exposure. This orientation, along with the detached garage, permits seamless outdoor living that is protected from strong northwest winds.

Energy Savings: Solar Control – generous overhangs on south facade and minimal windows on east west facades virtually eliminate unwanted heat gain. Quality Daylight – due to the detached Garage all living spaces have daylight and are independent of electric light during daylight hours. Natural Ventilation – all rooms have operable windows for natural cross ventilation, thermal comfort, night flush cooling and odor control.

Green Systems: Home has flat roofs with integrated photovoltaic systems, tankless water heaters and water-cooled air conditioning System.

Water Conservation: Home is designed with drought and wind-tolerant landscaping, subterranean irrigation systems and smart irrigation controls.

Indoor Air Quality: Home is specified with low V.O.C. paint, carpet and cabinetry as well as formaldehyde-free insulation and wood products.

Constructions Waste Minimization Program: Home is designed with panelized construction to maximize energy efficacy and minimize job-site construction debris. These panels, with integrated steel framing, are also termite and mold resistant.

SketchUp modelTricircle Pavilion, Gqunube Green Ecovillage
East London, South Africa
Dave Muller (model by Sandiswa Nqampoyi), Christian Ecovillage Trust
SketchUp model | More images

"This is a multi-purpose meeting/training hall built entirely using locally harvested timber, rammed earth and reclaimed materials. The SketchUp model was created to check the extent to which the rammed earth wall would be in shadow during summer and shade in winter, thus making use of passive solar heating and cooling. The building is currently 90% complete and performs exactly as envisaged from the SketchUp model."
More info

SketchUp modelDurango Discovery Museum
Durango, Colorado, USA
Milton Williams, Durango Discovery Museum
SketchUp model | More images

"This project is the revitalization, environmental cleanup, and addition to the original powerplant. The project is shooting for a net-zero energy footprint through use of specialized materials, window orientation, and solar panels. The Discovery Museum will make a difference by educating children about the benifits of renewable energy. Images rendered in iRender."
More info

SketchUp modelMills Graduate School of Business
Oakland, California, USA
Gavin RossBohlin Cywinski Jackson
SketchUp model | More images

"Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the architects of the new Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland, CA, designed the facility to be a visible symbol of the importance of women's education in the 21st century. The 28,000 sq. ft. building employs a living garden roof, a rainwater collection cistern for flushing toilets, abundances of daylight and natural ventilation, efficient conditioning and lighting systems, fly-ash concrete, sun-shading strategies, and rapidly renewable/recycled materials. BCJ hopes to have the project LEED Silver certified."

About the Author

Aidan was a beloved member of the SketchUp team for ten years. He taught countless SketchUp classes, authored SketchUp books, and is a jolly fellow indeed.

Profile Photo of Aidan Chopra