Performance simulation software developer Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) will release this month a free software tool that allows architects and engineers to conduct building energy use and carbon emission assessments for any building type, including residences. VE-Ware will be available for free download online, giving limited access to IES' Virtual Environment Apache thermal analysis software.

The software uses international data on climatic conditions along with typical characteristics of different building, room, and system types. Users can input building data—including location, building type and materials, and heating and cooling system types—and the software will automatically perform a detailed thermal simulation and give energy consumption and carbon emissions information. VE-Ware allows comparisons between different design, layout, and system options. Users also can assess their buildings' performance against Architecture 2030 Challenge energy-use reduction benchmarks.

According to the company, only building models exported from Autodesk's Building Information Modeling Revit platform will be accepted by VE-Ware initially, but in the months following its launch, the software will be expanded to allow other geometry data input options.

Those interested in downloading the software can visit to register for notification of its availability.