SunTools Plugin for SketchUp available

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SunTools a new Plugin for SketchUp is available now.

Plug-in Features

- SunPATH: visualization (month and year)

- SunPOS: Sun Position for a date and time

- SunVIEW: Axonometric views from the Sun

- SunPENETRATION: Analyze Sun Penetration/Access in any specific analysis

The plug-in can be downloaded after registration from:

Enjoy SunTools.

Guedi Capeluto

Guedi Capeluto's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0


This does not seem ready for real use. We tried it and is very
simplistic and does not seem to give functionality. It seems to do
little more than plot points in model, but not analyze model. The
internal SketchUp tools will do more than SunTools.

Mark Zoeteman, FTC&H

Zoeteman, Mark R.'s picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0

Actually Mark, I think the tool shows quite a bit of promise. The
readme clearly states that several features are works in progress or
yet to be implemented, but some of the stuff in there is already
useful, and definitely not part of the "internal SketchUp tools". The
sun path visualizations are nice, and the views from the sun
perspective are also useful. From a shading study perspective, these
tools are useful right now. I guess it all depends on what you call
"analysis". No, the tools do not calculate energy savings from
shading devices, but they do illustrate very well the issues around a
particular fenestration. You can clearly see the range of time where
direct sun is a problem, and the best part is, with this presentation
a client can see the issues too. Our internal tools where I work are
faster to use, but aren't all that great at illustrating the issues to
the client. I think this presentation is very clear (and is also the
way Ecotect presents this info).

Guedi, a couple of comments: can you provide the plugin as a set of
files instead of a windows installer, so I can install the plugin on a
Mac too? Also, it'd be nice if the sun objects are placed on a
separate pre-defined layer instead of the current layer, just for
organizational purposes.

- Rob Guglielmetti

Rob Guglielmetti's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0

SunTools is not a "simulation" program; in fact there are almost no
calculations in it. I started working on it during a sabbatical leave at
LBNL, and we discussed with colleagues there the idea of exploring how you
can present "existing" internal data, in a new, meaningful way, all in the
same program and model. Sun Position is internal SU data; the question is if
the visualization of this data is valuable, for students, architects and
clients during design..

Sunviews can be understood as a different representation of shadow casting;
however you can use them to understand also the cause of shading in you
facades, solar systems or open spaces, difficult to do see with regular
shadow casting in complex environments. With the Sun penetration analysis
tool, you can see in one single view a full range of information, valuable
for design. The majority of these features are already available in
different ways and packages, but again the idea was bringing all this
information at any design stage into one tool that architects use at the
same moment that they work with the model in SU.

Rob, I'll implement your suggestion of a special layer for the sun objects,
thanks! Regarding the Mac, it is not a problem; I can put the files in a zip
format for downloading if you want to give them a try in a Mac. However,
I'll need to cancel the automatic saving of sunview pictures, to avoid
problems with file paths.


Guedi Capeluto's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0


Yes it is useful, we have already used it to do exactly as you say,
visually see the shading impacts of, in our case the shading of an
extended curtain wall mullion/roller shade to help inform the design,
and prevent a potential glaring light streak across rows of desks.

Leonard Sciarra, AIA, LEED(r) ap

Leonard Sciarra's picture
Joined: 2011-10-01
Reputation: 0

I echo Rob's comments. I think the intent is to have a quick
visualization tool - something Sketchup doesn't have right now. This is
really good to communicate shading issues with clients and (sadly)
architects who aren't as solar savvy. The ability to see the sun
positions at various times of the day and year through the window is
very cool - you have the entire year's information at a glance.

The one drawback with that it that the sun positions are only valid
relative to the central focal point of the sun path arc, so you really
need to scale this up large to get realistic results.

I think it's a good tool though - please keep us posted on improvements
to it.


Vikram Sami, LEED AP

Vikram Sami's picture
Joined: 2011-09-30
Reputation: 0

Hei, everybody.
We are looking for professionals on Modeling and Energyplus to work in Brazil.
Let me know.
Walter Lenzi.

Lenzi Walter's picture
Joined: 2011-10-02
Reputation: 0