Design Research: Get it Right with PreDesign

We’re excited to announce the launch of PreDesign; SketchUp’s brand new tool for design research. PreDesign is a web-based tool that provides the insights you need to understand how the climate should influence your design, before you get started in 3D. All you need is a location and a building type. If you are an architect, landscape architect, urban planner, or looking to develop a project, PreDesign will enable you to better understand your site’s specific climate to zero-in on the most viable design options and craft an intelligent narrative with context. With PreDesign, you set the stage for success and get clients on board with your proposals.

  • PreDesign provides a concise overview of the seasons, sky conditions, and predominant winds in your site. You’ll also get recommendations on how to respond to these conditions and answer answer questions such as, “What type of shading devices should I be considering?”; “How much glass is too much glass on each facade of my building?”; “What types of windows should I be looking to specify?” and much more. Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to decide, with confidence, what architectural features you need to make the most of your site and propose thoughtful, climate-responsive design solutions.

If you are a SketchUp Pro, Studio, or Enterprise subscription customer, you can already access PreDesign. Just go to and login with your Trimble ID.

For more about PreDesign, you can read the full announcement here in our blog.


Andrew, congratulations on the release!

1 Like

Am I missing how to actually ACCESS PreDesign?

The full announcement says that I can access it now if I have a Pro Subscription (I do), but no link! Only link is to interactive webinar on December 3!

Good catch: you can launch PreDesign at

1 Like

Or start a new file in 2021 and go to File->Start Predesign


I’ve added a link to the post :slight_smile:

1 Like

This is pretty cool but it doesn’t make me want to live here most of the time. :rofl:

Doesn’t seem particularly accurate either. This paints a rosier picture than it should.

1 Like

Which location is that Dave, out of curiosity? Which bits seem rosier than you’d expect?

Is PreDesign not available to Classic Licence holders?

Edit: Just found out - seems not

it is not indeed !

Cool is the word here too…Your winters are colder than mine, but summers warmer.

We have an air source heat pump. Last summer it was needed for cooling on 4 days, I think.

Andrew, I live in SE Minnesota, US.

This looks neat!
Is it too early for feature requests? It would be great to have the option of changing the occupancy schedule.

1 Like

I trained myself in thermal calculation several years ago and I created my own evaluation tools, especially with dynamic components.

I noted this morning in a video presentation some aberrations. For example the advice to apply triple glazing on windows.
It cannot be recommended without a serious thermal study, it is very debatable, since in some regions, it limits too much solar gain in winter. In fact everything depends on the architecture and the characteristics of a project.
So, it doesn’t make much sense at the start of a project to give these advices which can be misleading.

What I have learned with thermal calculation is that even commonly established principles can turn out to be a bit wrong.


One validation they can make as a way case study is to make the predesign in one existing building (or several) and check the results between the case study and the predesign results, check numbers and %.

1 Like

Thanks Dave. Which bits seemed off to you?
One thing to be aware of, the calculation factors in the occupancy schedule of the building type you used. If you looked at office it wouldn’t have counted very many night-time hours, for example.

Thanks trampy.
The advice is largely based on achieving the equivalent insulation to what an ASHRAE code compliant baseline would require.
With that code, the more insulation you use, the better. I also don’t always agree with that as a solution (and energy modellers have many arguments about that too).

1 Like

Sorry. I was sort of being facetious. I think generally it’s colder here in the winter than that indicates and it tends to be hotter and more miserable (due to the humidity) in the summer. There aren’t many days in the summer that I’d call “Glorious”.

I used the Residential selection for that.

1 Like

Ah - well yes.

It’s time-step based so we have a calculation for every hour from the historical weather data for your site (yes we have a calculation to work out if, at that time, it’s “glorious”).

Until we have a support article, you should know anything from 68F to 86F, without high winds, fits in the yellow space. Residential covers all hours from 6am to 10pm so the % of hours in the middle of the day is constrained relatively as well.

Anyway, definitely know when I will be coming to SE Minnesota now…

1 Like