BPAC FAQ

Frequently asked questions for students and educators interested in the Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate.

Please Contact Us if you have other questions.

For users already enrolled in the program, see the Navigating the Courses.

Program Overview

[jump down to an introductory webinar video - 60 minutes, recorded Sept 16, 2014]

For Educators

[jump down to an introductory webinar video for Educators - 60 minutes, recorded August 29, 2014]

Introductory Webinars

For Students

 

For Educators

Program Overview

Who can and should get the Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate?

The BPA Certificate program is open to students, professionals, and educators who are interested in learning fundamentals and tools for building performance analysis. 

Educators can use this program directly in their coursework, and track their student’s progress (see the section for educators below). The course has been primarily designed for architecture and engineering college students – and to be synergistic with their coursework. It is particularly valuable for students working on studio projects or on design competitions like the Solar Decathlon. 

I took already took the BPA Certificate. Should I take the new release?

If you registered for the BPA Certificate Program before August 18, 2014, you registered for the first release of the BPA Certificate Program. If you registered after August 18, 2014, you automatically registered for the latest, updated release. While there are some notable differences between the two versions, you will find most of the material similar. The newest release features a Revit workflow (no Vasari), new case studies, updated software exercises, and more Palette 2030 swatches. If you completed the original version, you might find it most valuable to register for the Whole Building Energy Analysis for Revit individual course, as this course has the most variation.

How can I sign-up?

Follow the instructions on this page: Registering for the BPA Certificate Program.

Is it a class? Are there real-time webinars and class sessions?

No, this is a series of online courses that uses reference pages, pre-recorded videos, and online tests to allow asynchronous learning at your own pace.

What topics are covered?

The content focuses on the design strategies and building science fundamentals required to help buildings be more energy efficient. The content focuses on whole building energy analysis and design studies like daylighting and solar studies as well as wind and climate studies. 

For each of these topics there are:

  • Reference articles and illustrations
  • Multiple choice questions on design fundamentals
  • Software tutorials and workflows
  • Case studies and examples 
  • Software exercises and questions

Is the BPA Certificate Program just about Autodesk software?

No, the program also includes fundamental knowledge on building science, sustainable design strategies, and the design process. Software use is fundamental to the BPA Certificate Program, but the use of the software is always in service of achieving high performance building design goals.

What software tools are included?

Autodesk Revit, Green Building Studio (GBS), and Flow Design software are used in the BPA Certificate Program. Autodesk Ecotect was included in the pilot, but is no longer part of the BPA Certificate Program.

Revit 2014 software or higher is required because the Whole Building Energy Analysis lesson uses the “building element mode” for creating energy analytical models, which became available with the 2014 release.

         

**Please note that Revit software 2014 is NOT compatible with Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems.

How long does it take to complete the BPA Certificate Program?

The chart below shows the time that it takes students to complete the BPA Certificate Program, based on student feedback between September 2013 and November 2013

We are trying to make the program rigorous enough to have real merit, yet achievable on your own time.  

The time it takes depends on your experience with building science and with design software. Based on the experience of students who’ve completed the program, it takes between 25 and 40 hours to complete everything (see graph at right). 

This can be more if the student has no experience with the topics or the software. It can also be less if the student already has a lot of relevant experience.

As of August 2014 we revised the BPA Certificate Programto be more actionable and concise based on feedback. 

How much does it cost?

The BPA Certificate Program is free, and there are no current plans to charge for it.

What do I get when I complete the BPA Certificate Program?

We’ve designed the program to help give you the skills and knowledge you need to perform valid building performance analysis. So the most important thing you’ll get is this new skillset that you can use to market yourself to potential employers and/or put to work on your projects.

That said, when you complete the BPA Certificate Program, you will also get:

  1. A PDF certificate with your name, the date of completion, and the version of the course you completed (digital copy, no hard copy)
  2. A “digital badge” that you can use on your personal website or e-mail signature or LinkedIn
  3. The ability to join the Autodesk Education Expert Program

Should students work through this on their own or with an instructor?

If students are doing this as part of a course where a professor using the BPA Certificate Program as a mandatory or extra credit part of their course, they should register with the unique access code that their professor provides for them. The amount of guidance and help that their professor provides is determined by their professor.

Any student can sign-up for the program on their own by using the access code provided on the main BPA Certificate Program webpage.

Is there a limit to how many people can participate in the BPA Certificate Program?

There is currently no limit. 

If the BPA Certificate Program platform is slow, please contact us. It is likely due to the load on the server.

Is there a registration deadline?

No, there is no deadline for registering. You can sign up and start taking it whenever is convenient for you.

Do I need to complete the BPA Certificate Program within a certain amount of time?

Once you’re signed-up you can work through the program at your own pace. However, if you do not log in for a period of 4 months, your account will be de-activated. You will receive a warning email before de-activation. When your account is de-activated, you will no longer be able to log-in and we can't guarantee continued access to the course and any progress you've made.

Also, while you are taking the courses we may release an updated version of the BPA Certificate Program. If a newer version of the program is available, it will not impact the version of the program you are currently taking. Watch the Autodesk Design Academy website for any announcements for new versions of the program. As of August 2014 we officially released our second version. 

Will the BPA Certificate Program be updated? Will there be future versions?

We plan to update the BPA Certificate Program as the software tools change and improve – and as we get feedback from program participants. Continuous improvement is important to us, and is necessary to keep this program relevant in the midst of technology and industry changes.

In August 2013 we released the first version of the program.  In August 2014 we released an updated version. If you started the first version of the certificate program, your course of study has not changed. If you registered for the program after August 18, 2014, you have automatically been registered for the second release of the BPA Certificate Program.

Does the BPA certificate expire?

The certificate does not expire. If you’ve completed an older version of the BPA Certificate Program and would like to refresh your knowledge or learn the latest tools, you can always take the latest version.

The certificate issued denotes which version of the program you’ve completed, the digital badge does not.

Can I change the order in which I complete the modules?

Yes, the modules can be completed in any order, so students and instructors can customize their own order. We encourage instructors to guide students to the modules in the order that best maps to their coursework. We’ve included a default order based on the flow of the topics and tools that we think works the best. 

What is the difference between the BPA Certificate Program and individual courses?

Simply put, the BPA Certificate Program is comprised of individual courses. If you are a student, or want to learn all there is to learn about high performance buildings, the BPA Certificate Program will be a good option for you. If you are a professional with less time, or just interested in learning about one specific topic, the individual courses will be a better fit for you. The courses that make up the BPA Certificate Program are the same as the individual offerings. For example, the Climate & Weather Analysis course in BPAC Program is the same as the stand-alone offering.

Does the BPA Certificate Program cover modeling basics? Do I need to already be proficient in the software?

The program is achievable for people with limited modeling expertise. You do not need to be an expert with Revit software or any other architectural modeling software – but some experience is highly recommended. If you have no experience with the tools, we suggest you study some modeling basics first.

There are no tests and exercises that require the creation of new building models – rather, the program focuses on simulation and analysis tools/functionality. 

What if I have an issue or problem with Autodesk software or the Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate program?

If you have an issue with the installation and basic operation of the Autodesk software, contact the Autodesk student support line at autodesk.com/education.

If you have questions about building science, analysis, and the BPA Certificate program, we have a dedicated “help line” to answer and respond to your questions. Please e-mail bpac [at] autodesk.com.

How does the Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate Program relate to LEED?

This online certificate program focuses on the design tools and principles needed for performance-based design. We’ve built it to be synergistic with the LEED rating system and LEED Accreditation. It is a good complement for those who have gotten or plan to get the LEED GA.

Energy analyses in Autodesk Revit software, and Green Building Studio are based on the DOE-2 simulation engine, which is permitted by ASHRAE 90.1, the referenced standard within LEED. However, since these tools are intended for use early in the process, they are streamlined and don’t allow full control over energy settings (uses a set of defaults, which you can customize to a point). They are not compliance tools and do not produce the required LEED submittal documentation on their own.

Can I get CEU hours for completing this certificate?

Yes, you can get CEU hours. Each individual course has been pre-approved for USGBC and AIA CEUs as well as the entire BPA Certificate Program. To get credit for your completion, be sure to enter your information in the Feedback Survey at the end of each course.

How does the Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate relate to Revit Certification?

The Revit Certification is an in-person, proctored exam that certifies a deep knowledge in Revit software. 

The Building Performance Analysis Certificate Program is complementary in that it focuses on the design process, reaching sustainable design goals, and basic proficiency in a full suite of Autodesk products. It is not a full product certification.

As a “certificate program” is focused on learning and teaching. The “certification” programs are a professional credential that is focused on proving an individual’s knowledge in a more rigorous and proctored way.

Unlike the Revit Certification, the BPA Certificate Program can be done entirely online.

How is this program related to the Autodesk Education Expert program?

By completing the BPA Certificate Program, you can receive enough points for the Autodesk Education Expert program to more quickly advance within the program immediately if you choose to join.

If you are already an Autodesk Student Expert, you can obtain points for completing the BPA Certificate Program. You can also obtain points for helping others within your university obtaining this certificate.

Also, the Building Performance Analysis group on the Student Expert Network is a forum for students interested in building performance analysis to help each other with their projects. 

If I’m a professional, should I participate in the BPA Certificate Program?

If you have access to Revit 2014 or later version, GBS, and Flow Design software, we invite you to take the BPA Certificate Program. 

If you are a professional and not eligible for an education software license, you can get access to some, but not all, of the software with 30 day trial licenses.

You might also consider the individual courses, which are shorter and can be completed individually based on your needs and interests.

Is the BPA Certificate Program localized?

Unfortunately at this time, the BPA Certificate Program and the individual courses that comprise it are only offered in English. Much of the content that the BPA Certificate is built upon is machine translatable from the Design Academy website.

In terms of units, unfortunately architecture is practiced in Imperial Units (inch-pound) in the United States and Metric Units in Europe and other countries. For content and questions where units are relevant, we try to present both. Answering the questions does not require the work to be done in a specific unit, so you should be able to use the software in the units you're most comfortable in. Please let us know if you have issues for find gaps in respect to units. 

For Educators

How can I offer this program to my students through my course?

We hope you use this program to supplement your coursework!  We’ve designed it to be “instructor-friendly” – we intend this to be a turn-key solution for you to teach the building performance analysis aspects of Autodesk software.

Please fill out the form on the Contact Us page.

To learn more about see the Educator’s Guide to the Autodesk Building Performance Analysis Certificate program.

What courses is the BPA Certificate Program appropriate for?

Because it covers analysis tools in more depth than both most typical computer-aided modeling classes and most “green design” classes, it fits very nicely with either of them. We suggest you to use it to supplement one of the following courses:

  • Computer Aided Design / Building Information Modeling
  • Sustainable Design
  • Environmental Design & Technology
  • Design Studio
  • Extra-curricular activities (like Solar Decathlon)
  • Independent Study

It is also useful to pair the BPA Certificate Program with an applied studio project so students can apply their new knowledge and skills.

What age and experience level is the BPA Certificate Program appropriate for?

We created the program for undergraduates studying architecture and engineering but Master’s students and PhD students have found it valuable. 

We designed it to be accessible and appropriate to a wide range of audiences. An understanding of high-school level physics is helpful.

How should I incorporate the program into my curriculum?

We want this program to fit with you, how you want to teach your classes, and how much room there is to cover these topics. Some ways to offer it include:

Pair it with an existing course and either:

  • Make it a mandatory course requirement that students achieve this certificate on their own by the end of your course.
  • Provide extra credit for completing the certificate
  • Create an independent study opportunity for your students, with guidance, mentorship, and meetings with you. Pair this with a studio project.

Also, we encourage you to simply make students aware of this program, and to use our resources (videos, tutorials, articles) for readings and assignments in your classes.

Can I track my student’s progress through the BPA Certificate Program?

YES - you have your own students participate in the program, and track your student’s progress through the program modules. More information is available at the Educator’s Guide.

I teach two classes, can I keep my students separate?

Yes, just provide your requirements in the new educator request e-mail you send to us.

Can I use material from the Sustainability Workshop or the BPA Certificate Program to develop my own class?

We invite you to use any and all content that’s on the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop as readings or assignments for your class. This includes written articles and most of the images and videos. Please include relevant attributions to Autodesk as the source of the material.

We ask that you NOT use the online quizzes, case examples, and software exercises with your classes outside of the context of the BPA Certificate courses.

How much do I need to help my students?

It’s up to you. Your students’ experience will be enhanced if you help guide them through the material, cover some of this material in class, or provide office hours to answer their questions. However, the BPA Certificate Program is self-contained and your students can do it on their own and be self-sufficient.

If students do ask you questions that you can’t answer, you can direct those questions to us using the Contact Us form.

How familiar should I be with the material and the software?

You do not need to be proficient in the software or experts in these topics. However, a basic familiarity is helpful so you know what your students are covering in the program, and can help them if required.

We invite you to complete the program yourself. Your educator login includes a student profile, through which you can complete all of the modules in the same way that your students do.

Do you offer teaching aids like slides and lecture notes?

No, the content currently lives entirely online. 

The Educator’s Guide includes a short PPT presentation and basic introductory materials that you can use to introduce your students to the program.

Again, we also encourage you to use the videos, text, images from the Sustainability Workshop website to supplement your presentations and course readings.

Do I need to have all of the software installed in the computer lab?

No.  Students can also download the software on their own personal devices for free from autodesk.com/education

If you are going to be more actively teaching the tools, we do recommend that you install the software on computers in your educational institution’s computer lab or classroom. Information on how to do this is available at autodesk.com/education.  

I teach eQuest (or other energy modeling tools) in my class. Will this help me? Should I use this instead?

The analysis tools covered in this program won’t be an “apples to apples” swap for eQuest and other detailed energy modeling tools. 

The energy modeling tools currently covered focus on the basic DOE-2 based tools built into Revit software that are built for analyzing conceptual designs. These tools do not offer as much control as eQuest. It will, however, go deeper on other fundamentals like weather/climate analysis, energy loads, sun studies, solar radiation, and daylighting.

A Revit-to-eQuest workflow is one of the best ways to get geometry into the eQuest. This is currently not covered as part of the Building Performance Analysis Certificate Program.

Are the results of the tools validated?

The whole building energy analysis engine is DOE-2, so if the inputs to the engine are valid, the results will be as valid as other tools that use this engine. With each new release of Green Building Studio software, extensive validation studies are done. See Green Building Studio’s Help documentation for validation studies and release notes.

Why is Ecotect not included in the BPA Certificate Program?

Ecotect software was a part of the pilot of the BPA Certificate program. However, we’ve decided to remove Ecotect from the BPA Certificate Program so that we could focus on Revit-based BIM workflows that are in more mainstream demand by the industry. 

We also received feedback from users that learning and using Ecotect, in addition to Revit and Flow Design software, was a lot to cover. A lot of Ecotect functionality has been baked-into Revit.

Ecotect remains a very good at highlighting and teaching the principles of building science. The goal of this program is not to have students become experts in any particular software program, but rather for them to understand the power of the analysis and understand how to use analysis more strategically to get better design insights.

How long will it take to get my class set up?

It can take a few days for us to create your educator account and get you set up with your code. If it is urgent, please send us an email and we will try to get you set up as soon as possible.