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Tools for Solar Architecture and Green Building

Many of these tools are free online. If not, the tool is listed as "fee-based." These tools can help you design and build sustainably!

All Tools

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MYSUN Solar Calculator (India)
Estimate Savings on your Electricity Bill

2030 Palette
Interactive web platform for planning sustainable communities worldwide

Analyze daylighting and lighting in commercial buildings

AGi32 Lighting Design Software (fee-based)
Lighting analysis software

APOS Photovoltaic StatLab
Analysis and the quality assessment of photovoltaic (PV) modules

Awnshade Software
Window shading design and analysis software

BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability)
Building products evaluation software for environmental performance

BLAST (Building Loads Analysis and System Thermodynamics) - FREE
Merged with DOE2 to Become Energy Plus

Build It Solar
Extensive website devoted to do-it-yourself solar

Building Benchmarks
CBECS data in readable format

Building Design Advisor (USA)
Supports the integration of multiple building models

Building Efficiency Calculator
Simple calcs show energy efficiency based on size, annual energy bill

Building Energy Asset Score (USA)
Tool for assessing energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings

Building Energy Software Tools Directory
Alphabetical list of tools

Buildings Industry Transportation Electricity Scenarios (BITES)
Explore the energy and carbon implications of altering the U.S. energy profile

Buildings Performance Database (USA)
Thousands of commercial and residential buildings can be compared

California Solar Resource Calculator for Tilted Surfaces
Compute solar radiation on tilted plane in California

Carbon FoodPrint
Strategy to lower carbon footprint of foodservice operations

CASAnova 3.3 (free download)
Software for heating and cooling energy demand in buildings

Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator from Energy Star (USA)
Calculator helps translate energy savings into financial terms for commercial projects

CBECS (Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey) USA
US national data on commercial buildings' energy use

Chhaya 2.0
Optimize glazing size and orientation, shading and natural ventilation

Climate Consultant
Energy Design Tool

Code Innovations Database
Online database of innovative codes and regulations for green building

CoDePro -- Flat Plate Collector Design Program
University of Wisconsin Madison

Collector Efficiency Calculator
from Build It Solar

COMFEN 2.1 beta
Alternative fenestration systems for project-specific commercial building applications

Commercial Water Calculator
Water use in commerical buildings

Compost Calculator
Find the best mix of ingredients for great compost

Compound Angle Tool from Solmetric
Find multiple compound angle in solar installations

Concrete Crack Calculator
Find your local conditions via zip code

Construction R-Value Calculator
Calculates R-value of common insulated wall and roof constructions

Cool Calc Peak Cool Roof Calculator
Estimates for large facilities on cooling / heating savings

Cool Roof Calculator
Estimates cooling/heating savings for small to medium size facilities

Cradle-to-Cradle Certified Products
List of C2C products made with safe and recyclable materials

Climate Resilience Evaluation & Awareness Tool for Water Assessments

An interactive tool to guide designers toward Performance-Driven Design

Data Plotting Program
Chart data gathered from monitoring stations

Daylighting Pattern Guide
20 unique daylight patterns described

Degree Day Charts - Free
from Weather Data Depot

Degree Days Calculator for IPM (California)
You can run preset models

Degree Days Charts (Global)
Weather data for energy professioanls

Design Advisor MIT (USA)
Daylighting, natural ventilation, energy and comfort.

Design Builder Software (fee-based)
Building energy, CO2, lighting and comfort performance

DIAL Europe (Fee-based)
Daylighting tool for Europe

Calculates the hourly energy use and energy cost

Up-to-date, comprehensive database of US renewable energy incentives

Up-to-date, comprehensive database of US solar incentives

E-Quest Energy Simulation Tool
Building energy use analysis tool

E-Scale or EnergySmart Home ScaleSM
Home energy rating tool from USDOE

Eco-Specifier (FEE-Based)
Database of 3500 eco-products, eco-materials, technologies and resources

Interactive guidance on achieving sustainable buildings

EcoCalculator for Buildings from the Athena Instit
Evaluate buildings & assemblies using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology

EcoLogo Products Database
Thousands of products filterable by type and manufacturer

Ecomedes (Fee-based)
Software platform to show ROI of sustainable product selection

EcoScorecard Products Database
Manufacturers' product catalogs searchable for eco features

EcoTect Design Tools (Fee-based)
from Autodesk

EcoTox Knowledgebase (USA)
Toxic Chemicals Database

EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies)
Global assessment tool for green buildings

Electric Load Estimate Worksheet
Worksheet to calculate load

Embodied Energy Calculator
Measure the embodied energy in an existing building

Emissivity of Materials Chart
Paints, coatings, metals, masonry, etc.

Energy CAP (Fee-Based)
Utility bill tracking software

Energy Demand Calculator (Czech Republic)
Calculate heat loss, gain, consumption using spreadsheets

Energy Gauge
Energy and Economic Analysis Software for Commercial and Residential

Energy Grid IQ (USA) (Fee-base and FREE)
Location-based database of energy projects & incentives

Energy Modeling Software Tools Directory (USA)
Directory of building energy and water use computer modeling tools with links

Energy Plus Energy Simulation Software
Free downloadable tool

Energy Star Financial Value Calculator (USA)
Key financial metrics for improved energy performance for corporate real estate projects

Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick (USA)
Compare a home's energy efficiency to similar homes

Energy Star Products
List of energy effcicient appliances, windows, HVAC, lighting

Energy-10 Energy Simulation Software (fee-based)
Analyzes and illustrates a building's energy and cost savings

Envest II (Fee-Based) (UK)
Environmental Impact Assessment and Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Buildings

Environmental Impact Estimator for Buildings from Athena
Evaluates buildings & assemblies using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology

Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System (USA)
Framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of infrastructure

Free Energy Modeling Software
Google SketchUp

Analyze the use of renewable energy technologies for buildings and facilities

FSC Certified Products, Species and Companies
Searchable database of certified forests and wood products

Fuel Comparison Calculator
from Build It Solar

GenieBelt (Fee-based - one free project)
Simple Construction Software and App

Green + Productive Workplaces Online Tool (Fee-Based)
Helps balance sustainability against employee productivity and comfort

Green Building Products Database (EU)
Products described for their green criteria

Green Flight Carbon Offset Calculator (Australia)
Offset travel via airplane

Green Roof Energy Calculator
Compare vegetated roof with dark or white roof

Green Seal Products Database
Life-cycle-based third party certified eco products

Green Spec (Fee-based)
Online Building Product Guide

Green Streets Calculator
Using concrete pavement to save energy on roadways

Green Wizard (Fee-based)
Collaborative tools for every stage of a green building project

Green Wizard Energy Reduction Calculator
Calculate projected energy use to determine compliance with 2030 Challenge goals

Greener Product Database
Products that meet NAHB and LEED credits

GreenGuard Products List
Certified healthy products

Greenius (German - free download)
Renewable energy evaluation

GreenSpec Product Guide (Fee-Based)
Extensive product analyses with green attributes

H2O Conserve Calculator
How much you use and how to conserve water, not just at home

Heat Gain and Loss Short Form Calculator
Quick residential calculator for MrHVAC

HEED Free Software (USA)
Home Energy Efficient Design

Home Energy Efficient Design (HEED)
Free downloadable tool

Home Energy Report Online Tool (USA)
Calculate Your Home's Potential Energy Savings

Home Energy Saver
Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit Tool

Home Heat Loss Calculator (USA)
Estimate of the heat loss for your home

HomeCalc Calculator from Energy Star (USA)
Calculate the benefits of an Energy Star home

HOMER (free registration)
Off-grid and grid-tie simulation software

Horizon (fee-based - Germany)
Das HorizON Prinzip

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need Calculator?
Calculate how many solar panels you need

Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model

iLevel Wood Sizing Software
Size joists, beams, posts and studs

In My Backyard (USA)
Estimates electricity you can produce with PVs at your site

INsel (fee-based)
Graphical programming language for simulation of renewable energy systems

Integrated Building Performance Analysis (fee-based) (UK)
Performs heat loss and heat gain design calculations

Landscape Calculators
Amount of mulch, plants, stone or lawn

LED Bulb Saving Calculator
Calculate savings by switching to the LED bulb from incandescent, fluorescent or halogen bulbs

Planning and Analysis of Acoustics of Indoor Spaces

LESO-Cool (fee-based)
Cooling through Natural Ventilation and Thermal Movements

LESO-Daylighting (Fee-based)
Daylighting design software

Light Penetration Tool
Sustainable by Design

Light Unit Conversion Calculators
Free, easy-to-use light calculators for converting light measurement units

Lighting Pay-Off Calculator
Incandescents vs fluoresecents

Louver Shading Tool
from Sustainable by Design

Many Cities Web Tool
Spatio-temporal patterns of cell phone activity in major cities

Measurement and Instrumentation Data Center (USA)
Irradiance and Meteorological Data

Mercury In Buildings
Software that helps find and reduce mercury in buildings

MeteoNorm (fee-based Global)
Meteorological database for solar energy

Michigan Wind Prospecting Tool (USA)
Best areas in Michigan for utility scale wind farm development and community wind development

MIMOA Modern Architecture Guide (Europe)
Map buildings in Europe with this excellent online database

Minnesota Building Materials Database
Listing of sustainable materials organized by CSI

NABERS (Australia)
Assesses the greenhouse emission intensity of office buildings

NASA World Wind Tool
World Wind SDK for Java

National Climatic Data Center (USA)
World's largest active archive of weather data

National Green Values™ Calculator
Compare low impact development to conventional stormwater partices

Off-Grid Energy System Size Calculator
Calculate size of your home power system

Online Wind Calculator (Maryland, USA)
Figure out wind resources for your site in maryland

Overhang Design Tool
Sustianable By Design

Panel Shading Visualization Tool
Shading of parallel rows of flat solar collector panels

Parabola Drawing Tool for Solar Cooker
Create this simple tool for drawing parabolas

Parasol (Sweden)
Energy simulation tool for comparison of energy demand

PGE Smart Energy Analyzer
Analyze a home's energy consumption (PGE customers)

Pharos Project (Fee-Based)
Database of green building materials

Photovoltaic Power Model Software
Free software to evaluate for photovoltaics

Photovoltaic: PV CoSim+
PV cost simulation software

Pilkington Sun Angle Calculator
Determining solar geometry variables for architectural design

Planning Tree Windbreaks (Missouri, USA)
Using windbreaks fro energy efficiency

Portfolio Sustainability Program (California, USA)
A whole building approach tosu sustainable building management

Portico (USA)
Building Materials Analysis and Decision-Making Tool

Psychrometric Chart from Trane

Psychrometrics Calculator for Air Properties
Calculate indoor air conditions

PV Design Pro (USA)
Simulates photovoltaic system operation on an hourly basis for one year

PV F-Chart Software (fee-based)
PV system design and analysis

PV Output
Shared data from solar PVs

PV Professional (German/Italian - fee-based)
PV planning for flat or sloped roofs

PV String Sizing Tool Download
Professional layout and design of grid-connected photovoltaic systems

PV String Sizing Tool Online
Sizing tool access on a mobile device or online from KACO

PV Value Tool (USA)
Spreadsheet tool to determine value of new or existing photovoltaic (PV) system

PV WATTS Calculator v 1.0
calculates electrical energy produced by a grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system

PV WATTs Version 2
Estimates performance data for any location in the United States

PV-Sol Software for Photovoltaics (fee-based)
Simulation for design and calcs of grid-connected systems

PVCad Design Software for PV Facades
Computer tool for fast and efficient planning of PV facades

PVGIS Estimation Utility (Europe)
Estimate solar electricity generated in European city or country

PVsyst (fee-based)
Photovoltaic system analysis

Quartz Building Products Database (Online)
Common building products in free downloadable formats

R-Value Calculator by Zip Code (USA)
Determines economic insulation level for your residence

R-Values Table for Materials
Average R-value for many building materials

Radiance Synthetic Imaging System
Analysis and visualization of lighting in design

Rain Xchange Rainwater Design Calculator (USA)
Calculates collection area and estimates amount of rainwater collected

Rainwater Calculator Tankulator (Australia)
Calculate Annual Rainfall Volume in Victoria, Australia

Rainwater Collection Calculator
Calculates collection area and estimates amount of rainwater collected

Rainwater Collection System Sizing
Determine catchment area and water use demand

Rainwater Harvesting Calculator (from Texas A&M)
Calculate your catchment and use size requirements

Rainwater Harvesting Calculator (Seattle WA)
Calculate your size requirements for Seattle rainfall

Rainwater Harvesting Calculator (UK)
Calculate your rainwater collection system size

RE Atlas (USA)
Renewable energy interactive atlas of the USA

Re-Powering America Land Mapper (USA)
A mapping resource from EPA to find sites with renewable energy potential

Renewable Energy And Defense Geospatial Database

Regional Energy Efficiency Database (US Northeast Region)
Energy efficiency programs and data in the US Northeast

Windows and Daylighting Software

RETScreen Clean Energy Analysis Software
Evaluate energy production for various types of renewable energy

Roanakh Designs for Solar Electricity
Step-by-step guide to designing a solar power system

ROI Analysis for SOLR Roofing Panels (FREE)
Detailed look at costs and benefits for SOLR panels

Roof Azimuth Tool from Solmetric
Estimate the azimuth of your roof

Roof Ray Solar Potential Calculator
Calculate your roof's solar potential

Roof Savings Calculator
Cool roof savings estimator for commercial and residential buildings

SCS Certified Products Database
Scientific Certification Systems certified eco products

SEES (Solar Energy from Existing Structures) Software
Simulates spatial variations of potential PV energy production on roofs in urban areas

Sefaira (Fee-Based)
Energy and daylighting metrics as you work

Shadow Analyzer (fee-based)
Analyzes shadow effects of solar equipment or nearby objects

Shadows (free for basic level)
Software to design sundials and astrolabes

Sizing Solar Pool Heaters (Florida, USA)
Simple method to determine solar collector area

Sizing Solar Water Heater Tool (Florida, USA)
Residential solar hot water systems

SketchUp (Free)
Create 3-d models using GoogleEarth.

SkyCalc Software Tool for Skylighting
Determine the optimum skylighting strategy

Small Wind Toolbox
Installation, operation, approval, markets, zoning, etc.

SMARTS - Simple Model of the Atmospheric Radiative Transfer of Sunshine
Predicts clear-sky spectral irradiances

Sol Path Sun Path Calculator
from Sustainable by Design

SolaCalc (UK)
Passive solar design performance simulation

Solar Air Heater Software and Data
Evaluate energy production for solar air heating projects

Solar Analysis Widget (USA)
Online tool to see your solar power potential

Solar Array Size Calculator
Calculate solar array size from SRoeCo

Solar Battery Bank Designer
Design tool to show how to wire battery bank

Solar Calculator (USA)
Estimate size and cost of solar power system in USA

Solar Calculator (USA)
Calculate amount of electricity from sun

Solar Calculator for New Orleans
Estimate the solar potential of a roof in New Orleans

Solar Collector Design Program
Compute efficiency of your own solar collector design

Solar Cost Calculator
Calculate your solar costs from SRoeCo

Solar Design Tool for Grid-Tie Systems
Design and configure optimal solar power systems

Solar Energy Electric Power System Simulator
Demonstrate the basic operation of a solar electric power system

Solar Energy System Sizing Estimator
How many Solar Panels you will need to generate electricity?

Solar Estimator (USA)
Estimates size and calculates the cost of solar system

Solar GIS Database (Fee-Based)
High resolution solar resource information

Solar Noon Calculator Printable (Global)
Find the exact time of solar noon for your location

Solar Panel Shading Calculator
from Sustainable by Design

Solar Pathfinder-Solar Site Analysis (Fee)
On-site accurate measurement of shading of any site

Solar Position Calculator
Solar zenith angle, declination, equation of time, etc.

Solar Position Calculator by NOAA (Global)
Find sunrise, sunset, solar noon for anyplace on earth

Solar Power Calculator (USA)
Estimate the cost and size of a solar energy project

Solar Power Forecasting (fee-based)
Focuses on short-term markets

Solar Power Rating Map (USA)
Estimates net cost for a solar power system for each state

Solar Radiation Data Manual for Buildings
Free, downloadable data tables for calculating sol

Solar Radiation Data Manual for Buildings (USA)
for a horizontal window and four vertical windows

Solar Radiation Data Manual Online (USA)
for Flat-Plate and Concentrating Collectors

Solar Rating (Canada and USA)
Determine a homes' suitability for solar technology

Solar ROI Calculator
A return on investment calculator for roof panels

Solar Savings Calculator for Residential (USA)
Calculate savings for using the REnu solar rental

Solar Site Survey (USA)
One-page solar resources map fro US

Solar Sizer
Solar system sizing tool

Solar Tool for Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Annual electricity yield map from PV for virtually all Cambridge MA rooftops

Solar Water Heater Calculator
Explore the energy usage of your water heater

Solar Water Heater Software
Evaluation tool for solar water heating global

Solar Water Heating Calculator
explore the energy usage of your water heater

SolArch (UK)
Soalr Architecture Design Tool

SOLinvest Pro (German - fee-based)
Economic analysis of renewable energy systems

SOLinvest Standard (German - fee-based)
Basic economic analysis of renewable energy systems

SolPath Tool
graphical representation of the sun's apparent path

Sombrero 3.01 (Germany)
Solar shading, radiation, systems and building geometry

SPOT Sensor Placement Optimization Tool
spreadsheet-based tool for specific photosensor manufacturers

SRI (Solar Reflectance Index) Calculator Worksheet for Cool Roofs
Calculate the SRI for Roofing Products

SRoeCo Solar
Solar panel comparisons, costs, array size calculators

Stack Effect Calculator
Find the estimated pascals

State Solar Incentives (USA)
Database of state and federal incentives for solar

Open Source planetarium for your computer

String Sizing Program for Photovoltaics
Approximate PV module string sizes

Sun Angle Tool
Calculates solar angle data

Sun Eye (fee-based)
Accurately measure solar access and shading

Sun Math Solar Calculator 1.0 (USA)
Financial evaluation of the cost of solar in your area

Sun Path Chart Program
Sun path charts in Cartesian coordinates

Sun Position Calculator
Calculates an array of solar angle data

Sun Position Info
Calculate sun position with drop-down menus

Sun Position Tool
Calculates an array of solar angle data

SunAngle Calculator
Solar angles based on location, date, and time

SunAngle Professional Suite
Sophisticated version of SunAngle

SunDAT (Fee-Based)
PV System Design Software Tool

Sundi (Germany)
Simulation program for irradiance calcs and shading analysis

Make a Paper Sundial

Sundial Registry
Photos, locations and descriptions of sundials all over the world

Online web resource for sundials

Sunpath Software
Determine position of the sun in the sky at various locations

SunPower Estimator (USA)
Calculates 25-year savings from solar electricity

Energy simulation software

Sunrise/Sunset Calculator (USA)
for any location and any date

Sustainability Toolkit (Free, Online)
Developed by US Air Force with many strategies

Sustainable By Design
Design tools online for solar

Sustainable Facilities Tool (USA)
Track your sustainable project for free from GSA

Sustainable Measures (North America)
Create indicators of sustainable community

Switching To Solar PV Online Tool (USA)
Online Solar Energy Tool to assist homeowners switch to solar

System Advisor Model (SAM)
Performance and financial modeling for renewable energy projects

T-Sol Professional (fee-based)
Simulation for design of solar thermal systems

Terra Org Carbon Calculator (Spanish)
de emisiones de carbono emitidas a la atmósfera

Model two-dimensional heat-transfer effects in building components

Tracking Energy Demands in US
Interactive map shows each state's energy source and use percentage

Trane Engineering Toolbox (USA)
Calculators to simplify HVAC design and service tasks

Trane TRACE 700 (fee-based)
Optimize the design of building’s HVAC based on energy utilization & LCA

Transit Benefit Calculator (USA)
Measure the benefits of transit investments for communities

Transient systems simulation program

Urban Street Design Guide (Fee-Based)
Design city streets and public spaces

US Renewable Energy Resourses Interactive Atlas (USA)
Accurately map potential renewable energy resources in the US

Utility Trac (Fee-Based)
Audit, track and analyze utility usage in buildings

Valentin Software Solar Tools (Fee Based)
Planning and simulation software for solar yield calculation

Velux Daylight Visualizer
Professional simulation for analysis of daylight conditions

Vertical Fin Shading Tool
calculate the shading provided by vertical fins

Video Conferencing Calculator
Travel meeting versus video conferencing

Virtual Wind Tool (fee-based)
3D wind flow modeling and visualization

Voltage Drop Calculator Tool
approximate voltage rise in the AC circuit

Water Budgets Water Use Calculator
How much water does your home use?

Water Calculator (UK)
What's your water use per day?

Water Consumption Calculator
Where and how much water do you use?

Water Footprint Extended Calculator
How much water do you use based on the products you consume?

Water Meter Calculator (UK)
Calculate your savings from installing a water meter

Water Neutral Offset Calculator
Travel to South Africa in a water-neutral way

Water Usage Calculator (Thames, UK)
Calculate your home water use

Water Usage Calculator for Cooling Towers
Calculate water useage for cool towers

Water Use Calculator
Find your water use patterns at home

Water Use Calculator (Australia)
Home water use calculator for Australia

Water Use Calculator Commercial Buildings
Estimate your building's water usage

Water Use Calculator Fair Oaks
Find out your water use at home

Water Use Calculator SWFMD
Find how much water you use at home

Free rebate calculator for the US

WeGo Wise Utility Usage Calculator (Fee-Based)
Understand water usage in your building

Wind Chill Calculator
Calculates combination of wind speed and air temperature

Wind Energy Finance Calculator (USA)
Calculate a wind project's cost of electricity

Wind Estimator (USA)
Estimates size and calculates the cost of wind system

Wind Power Prediction Tool (fee-based)
Generate short-term predictions of wind power production

Wind Project Calculator (USA)
Cash flow modeling for community wind projects

Wind Propespecting Tools (Fee-based)
Calculate wind potential at your site

Wind Turbine Software
Evaluate wind power

Wind Yield Estimation Tool (UK)
Estimate the local annual mean wind speed

WindCast Forecasting Tool
Current wind speed and direction for the most recent hour

Window 5.2
Calculate total window thermal performance

Window 6.3 (USA)
Calculate total window thermal performance indices

Window Heat Gain Calculator
Calculates the solar heat gain through vertical windows in temperate

Window Overhang Analysis Tool
Visualize the degree to which a horizontal overhang shades a window

Window Overhang Design Tool
Visual feedback about the performance of a horizontal window overhang

Wire Size Calculator
Proper sizing of wires for solar panel-to-battery

ZIP Insulation Program (USA)
Determines most economic insulation level for your new or existing house