New to Ladybug Tools - workflow questions


Currently, we utilize IES-VE to mostly perform Cooling/Heating load calculations. Originally (7 years ago), we decided on IES software because of its ability to produce 3D geometry and robust calculations utilizing ASHRAE Heat Balance method. It was the best software we could find at the time to accomplish our task. But now, we have decided to switch software because IES-VE doesn’t support EnergyPlus.

I am very new to Ladybug tools and have some general questions about the workflow. Please forgive my lack on knowledge and if my questions seem too basic.

  1. From my initial understanding Ladybug tools requires Rhino/Grasshopper or Revit/Dynamo software/plugins combos to operate, is there a workflow where geometry can be done in Sketchup?

  2. Do you also need to have Openstudio or do Ladybug tools interface directly with EnergyPlus?

  3. We work on buildings with hundreds and sometimes 1000+ zones which need to be sized for cooling and heating, is there an easy workflow to manipulate zone parameters in a spreadsheet form and then just add to Ladybug tools? (This is one big advantage of IES-VE, their Tabular model data feature is very useful).

  4. Is it possible to calculate individual zone loads and then block loads with Ladybug tools?

Thank you for your help.


Hi @eugene_s, welcome to the community!

  1. If you mean the energy model done in SketchUp with OpenStudio plugin, you can bring in the idf (use openstudio to translate the osm to idf) to Rhino/Grasshopper environment. But you will loss a lot of abilities of editing geometry. I would suggest modeling directly inside the Rhino/Grasshopper environment.

2.Honeybee can work directly with EnergyPlus for load calculation, but if you want to test some real HVAC systems, you will need to use Honeybee with OpenStudio.

3.You’d likely not be facing this problem (or not need spreadsheet) if you are using Grasshopper to setup the model, as it is visual programming platform, meaning you can change one variable and affects all zones.

  1. You do get individual zone loads from EnergyPlus, and you can always postprocess them in the same platform with Honeybee.

Thanks @MingboPeng. So just to confirm my understanding:

– Ladybug Tools can only work in Grasshopper environment, they are not independent apps, correct?

– Is it tedious/time consuming to setup uniquely named 500-1000+ zones with same profiles?

Thanks again for your help.


  1. In terms of user interface for modeling, yes, they are not independent apps. This is the main design goal of all ladybug tools: Do not reinvent wheel. Use the professional 3d modeling tools (Rhino) to model energy models (EnergyPlus), and ladybug tools are just tightening them together.

  2. Every zone will be automatically named uniquely by honeybee, all you need to do is organize them by space types (office, corridor, lobby…). Therefore, your 500-1000+ zones will end up ~10 space types. Zones with the same space type will have same profile. You don’t have to do it zone by zone manually.

So for example, if I have a mixed-use tower (resi & hotel) with non-typical floors and room configurations and need to size and assign HP for each zone (500-1000+ individual rooms), how would I know which unique zone is for which room? For example in IES, we would name each zone in the model based on flr/apt/room (ex. 12A LR) and when the report comes out it is very easy to relate the loads to the specific room and size HP accordingly. Also based on the name, it is very simple to assign internal gains in the spreadsheet. How different is the process in Honeybee?

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Here is an example that I labeled each zone with its name and unmet hours, and colored by value of unmet hours. (This is for myself checking the results, you can make this plan much nicer if you want to put it in your report) You can do anything you want to label or color zones, it is up to you. You can also export any data you want to show in your report to Excel as well. All of above steps can be just taking 3 seconds to 5 minutes for post processing.

You are not going to type 500-1000 values for equipment load, and not another 500-1000 values for lighting, etc. As I said, you assign zone properties by space types, something like this.

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Thanks @MingboPeng! This is becoming more clear. One more questions which I tried to find in the resources tab but wasn’t able to. What is the difference between legacy and [+] apps?


[+] version is still under development, which is mainly for running simulations on the cloud.
There will be no major difference on basic workflows if you use them on your local computer. There is no energy components in [+] version yet, so you have to use the legacy version for now.

Thank you! This has been very helpful.

Just a quick addition to what @MingboPeng said here. [+] plugins have several performance and design improvements and cloud integration is only one of them.

I have installed the new plugins and see that there are some differences and upgrades. Is there a document for the new version of plugins and workflows? A new tutorial?

To be more specific, with the legacy plugins, I struggled to find an efficient workflow to manage and name multi-room large scale projects. I am looking to accomplish the following:

  • Individually name each room
  • Ability to assigned room type for each room (ex. Living Room, Bedroom, corridor, etc.)
  • Based on room type, assign internal gains, ventilation, etc.

Is this easier to accomplish in the new version of LBT? Is Dragonfly helpful in my case?

Thank you,


Hi @MingboPeng and @mostapha was hoping you could provide some input on this. Apologies for being a slow learner.

Hi @eugene_s, have you checked Question about zone name rules
Customized bldgProgram & zoneProgram lists

It is the workflow for the legacy version, but you can get the idea for the new version.
You can organize your zones by layers and create honeybee rooms per graft(layer) with layer’s name and room type.

Thanks @MingboPeng I’ll try it out.