Goals

  1. Learn how to create a model that will run smoothly in Sefaira (this also includes modifying existing models)
  2. Get access to a model (either by creating or by downloading one) that will run smoothly in Sefaira for your first test run!

This chapter provides essential knowledge for using Sefaira. Depending on your subscription, please look at the section for either SketchUp or Revit models.

TIP

If you’d like to jump over this section and just start looking at Sefaira analysis within a model, you can download our sample Revit model at the bottom of this page.

Revit

Keep In Mind While You Model…

Sefaira for Revit uses information from elements built within Wall, Floor, Window, Curtain Wall and Roof families to generate an energy analysis. Other family categories will be ignored (e.g. Generic Models, Mass, Structure, Furniture, etc.). We focus on these elements as they are most important in providing you a good indication of sustainability early in your design process, even before you have thought through the more detailed aspects of your building. Also, keep in mind your model can be very simple to run an effective energy analysis. Click here for more reading on modeling strategically for Sefaira. 

This model workflow will help you quickly prepare your model to be uploaded to Sefaira Web App.

The following are NOT supported by Sefaira for Revit at this time:

  • Floors, Walls, Windows, or Curtain Walls created using Revit’s ‘Model In-Place’ tool.
  • Sweeps in window families

We do support instances and families from Revit’s default library, as well as elements created using the ‘Model-By-Face’ tools in the ‘Massing & Site’ dialogue.

1. Generating Sefaira 3D Views

Sefaira analysis is view dependent, meaning the analysis is only conducted on elements in the current view. Generating Sefaira views helps a user determine what families/elements are being interpreted by Sefaira and filter out all families that are not relevant for your analysis. Once you have generated views, you can click into your Visibility/Graphics (simply type VG or VV) to see the model families Sefaira reads.  Since the analysis is dependent on the view, you can duplicate the Sefaira Analysis View (or Sefaira Systems Analysis View) at anytime to adjust your design via hide in view, worksets, phasing, or design options. You can read more about generating views here.

  1. Click “Generate Sefaira View” button on Sefaira for Revit.
  2. Sefaira automatically creates different views of how your model will be interpreted by Sefaira.

2. Compare Overall Views

In view 1, the default 3D view, we can see the full model. View 2 is the Sefaira Analysis View, which has just the elements Sefaira will use for analysis. If a piece of the envelope is missing from the analysis, it will significantly affect daylighting and energy results. With Sefaira-specific views, it’s easy to see if something is missing or not apart of the building envelope. Since we currently have elements outside the building envelope this model needs a few revisions before uploading.

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3. Check the Floors View

To ensure a proper analysis, all floors outside the building envelope need to be ignored.

  1. Select one floor in the model, using the temporary hide/isolate element feature in Revit, isolate the floor category
  2. Select floors as shown in the example in red.
  3. In the instance parameters properties, tick the check-box for ‘Ignore for Sefaira’.

The ‘Ignore for Sefaira’ parameter will only show for elements built within Wall, Floor, Window, Curtain Wall and Roof families. Additionally the parameter will only show after ‘Generate Sefaira Views’ has been run. Once Ignore for Sefaira is checked, the elements will automatically no longer show in the view. 

When you are done, reset the temporary hide/isolate element of the view. 

4. Check the Walls View

Sefaira for Revit only includes walls with their type function set to exterior or interior. All highlighted walls in view 1 need to be changed to a different function type, checked to be ignored or checked as shading. The elements highlighted in blue will be tagged as shading, while the red walls either need to be ignored or have their function type changed. View 2 is an updated view after this process. All elements tagged as shading will show up with a grey hatch pattern (A). Read more about tagging elements as shading here. Context buildings and elements intended for shading your building, such as overhangs or a louver system, will impact daylighting and solar gain. If you do not mark the context buildings and shading systems as ‘Shading for Sefaira’, they will contribute to the conduction gains and losses in your analysis.

5. Check Interior Walls

Sefaira for Revit reads walls and curtain walls which have their function type set to interior. Interior walls do not experience heat transfer, but are considered for daylighting obstruction. Interior glazing will also not experience any heat transfer, but will factor in the visible light transmittance for how much daylight is passing through the glazing. If an interior curtain wall is showing in the exterior wall view, make sure to switch the function type to interior.

6. Check Roof 

Sefaira for Revit requires your model to have at least one roof. Make sure all roofs are modeled as a roof system family, and not as a floor or in-place mass. A common error we see in architectural models is that roofs are modeled as floor elements. This will have a large impact on the energy model, because we won’t be accounting for any heat loss or gain through the roof. Use the same isolate method described in the floor section to isolate just the roof category.

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7. Check the Wall Orientation

Go through plan views to make sure that your envelope elements are oriented so that the exterior face is on the outside. This article will show you how to do that. If an exterior wall element on the north facade is incorrectly oriented so that it’s exterior face is on the inside, then Sefaira will interpret the wall as south-facing.

TIP

Do you have elements in a linked model that you need for analysis. Here’s an article on how to get those elements into your Sefaira model.

8. Plane Count

The speed of analysis is strictly dependant  on how many elements or planes are in the model. If you have a lot of curtain walls with paneled grids, you may need to reduce the amount of glazing panels in your model in order to get the analysis to process. Consider using design options to embed your analysis model within your design/construction model. Also, it’s best to run walls from ground to roof instead of story to story.

9. Upload to Sefaira Web App

The final step is to upload the model to the web application.

  1. Click Upload to Sefaira. The process should only take a few moments, when completed, the green text confirming your upload was successful will display with a web link.
  2. Clicking the link will automatically direct you to Sefaira Web App.
  3. When new projects are created in the Sefaira Web Application, the ‘Properties’ defined in the Sefaira for Revit Real Time Analysis (RTA) plugin are translated automatically to the project in the Web Application.  This only occurs if you have the RTA window open; if RTA is closed, a default baseline will be assumed in the Web Application. Since your project may have additional options — including but not limited to HVAC, Water and Renewable Energy strategies, we recommend tailoring these additional values once you have entered your Sefaira Web Application project. 
     
    Keep in mind…
    • if you manually override the location or space use on the project creation page, your inputs/outputs will no longer match. 
    • “Daylighting Response Efficiency” and “Visible Light Transmittance” do not carry over since daylighting analysis only occurs in the webapp. 

If there are any difficulties uploading the model please refer to this knowledge base article.
You can watch a video of this process here.

Get Started with a Model

If you prefer just checking out Sefaira without creating or adapting a model yourself, you can use one of our sample models to get started:

WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED

  • You can now create new models that will work with Sefaira
  • You can also modify your existing models to work with Sefaira
  • You are ready to get started using Sefaira!