Frequently Asked Questions

The following are my answers to questions that pop up when I am at conferences or on discussion forums. For more formal product support, see the official Autodesk Ecotect Analysis support forum.

Autodesk Ecotect

Issues using Autodesk Ecotect Analysis software.

Advanced Scripting

Questions about writing and using scripts in Autodesk Ecotect.

I have a calculated 3D analysis grid which I can use the slider to manually reposition the displayed axial section through. How can I animate this same axial section using an Ecotect script?

The following script shows you how to animate the position of the base 2D analysis grid within a set of 3D calculation results. It uses one of the example models that comes with Ecotect, but you can use your own model by simply commenting out line 4.

The key to using this script is to have already calculated full 3D dataset. Many of the calculation wizards in Ecotect provide an option for this when you select the Analysis Grid as the method for storing results. Without it, the base 2D analysis grid section won't move as it will only have results for its current position.

I see that I can simply cycle through all object in the model, but sometimes I want only certain types or just selected objects. Are there easier and quicker ways of doing this ?

One of the tasks you often need to do in an Ecotect script is iterate over objects within the model. This could just be to count all the DOOR elements or you may need to calculate the total area of all FLOOR objects. The example functions shown here illustrate different ways to do this depending on whether you want all objects or those of a certain type, on a certain zone or just from the current selection set.

I'd like to create an object and then add one or more child windows to it. I can add a new window, but how do I make it an actual hole in a wall.

The easiest way to add a child object is simply to create it and then use the object.link command to link it to it's parent object. This emulates using the Edit»Link Objects menu item. The following script snippit shows how to do this...

How would I go about calculating the area of the analysis grid that is above a given threshold value. I know I can find the percentage of all points above it, but I need the actual floor-area and preferably very accurately.

This Ecotect script demonstrates how to iterate over the current analysis grid in your model and calculate the actual surface area that is above a given threshold, in this case the current minimum scale value. Whilst Ecotect can already show the percentage of grid points above a threshold, this script includes the fractional areas of cells that are partially above and partially below.

Customised Reports

Questions about generating custom reports in Autodesk Ecotect.

My local authority needs the 'Compactness Ratio' for my building, which is the ratio of room volume to floor area. Can I calculate this is Ecotect ?

The following script will solve your problem, allowing you to calculate the ratio of zone volume to floor area. It also demonstrates the generation of a simple HTML report showing values for each thermal zone in the model as well as summed overall values at the bottom.

Graphics and Visualisation

Questions about the interpretation of images, scales data overlays and graph types.

When you overlay an Annual Sun-Path Diagram on the model in the VISUALISE page, two additional red and blue arcs appear that are not displayed in any of the other Sun-Path diagram views. What do they show ?

These arcs represent the range of azimuth angles that the Sun travels through in Summer and Winter. The aim in showing these arcs is to highlight the seasonal differences and allow the designer to quickly understand and, hopefully, take advantage of them.

Modelling Issues

Questions about modelling the geometry and behaviour of buildings.

When I create an object on the ground to investigate shading, why is it apparently always 100% in shade and its shading mask completely black?

When you create an object in Ecotect, it tries to be a bit intuitive in working out what you intended. If you create a planar surface on the ground plane, Ecotect assumes that you want this to be a floor beneath other geometry. Thus it assigns it as a FLOOR object with it's surface normal facing downwards. As a result, it will always be in shade as it faces the ground.