Environmental Assessment Methods
There are many ways for architects and designers to measure and assess the levels of sustainability, interior comfort, carbon emissions and 'whole life costs' for their building design. This is important for designers, so they can make the best design decisions possible regarding sustainability. These are some different software and online analysis tools that are used for that purpose.


BIM - Building Information Modelling
BIM refers to architects and engineers efficiently generating and exchanging information, and creating digital representations of all stages of the building process and simulate real world performance in order to aid the design process and make the right choices.
To see BIM in action- Click Here

Can analyse a buildings performance and help to improve both new and existing buildings.
Ecotect measures: 
  • Whole building energy analysis
  • Thermal performance
  • Water usage and cost evaluation
  • Solar radiation
  • Daylighting
  • Shading and reflections
Example of ecotect
Green Building Studio
Helps architects and designers perform whole building analysis to work towards carbon neutrality. It measures:
  • Whole building energy analysis
  • Design alternatives
  • Detailed weather analysis
  • Carbon emission reporting
  • Daylighting qualification for LEED daylight credit
  • Water usage
  • Energy star scoring
  • Natural Ventilation potential
Example of green building studio
3Ds Max 
Exposure and lighting analysis technology:
  • Simulate and analyse sun, sky and artificial lighting in photorealistic detail
  • Helps indoor environmental quality for LEED EQ credit 8.1

3Ds Max lighting render
VE from IES
A range of software varying in detail, each  of which can plug-in to Sketch-Up or Revit.
  • VE-Ware - Free building energy and carbon assessment tool. Has plugin for Sketch-Up or Revit.
  • VE-Toolkits - For early design decisions. Tools for analysing energy consumption, carbon emissions, daylight, solar shading and artificial lighting.
  • VE-Gaia - More detailed and complex environmental performance analysis without the need for expert knowledge like the original, VE-Pro.

Example of VE-Ware
Design Builder
Designed for use at all stages of design, Design Builder can be used for checking building energy, carbon, lighting and comfort performance. 
  • Building regulations compliance checks for Part-L2
  • Photorealistic lighting renders
Example of Design Builder

Online Assessment

Envest 2 from the Building Research Establishment - envest2.bre.co.uk
Calculates environmental impact and 'whole life costs' for buildings. Designers can input details about their building, the design and their material choices. Envest 2 then breaks down the impacts the building will have in a series of graphs.

Sustainable by Design - susdesign.com
A variety of free, online tools. Such as tools for finding the angle of the sun, the sun position and analysing window design in terms of sun and shade.

East of England Toolkit - toolkit-east.org.uk
Once the building initiative is registered, there are a number questions to answer about the design decisions and the toolkit gives an indication of the level of sustainability the building will have. Results are simply shown by colour indication and symbols.