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Although Energy3D is still in its alpha phase, it seemed to work remarkably well for these students who used the Mac computers we provided (thanks to Dr. Saeid Nourian, the lead developer of the software). Despite of some glitches, the students easily designed their own computer models. Creating the roof, the hardest part using other programs such as SketchUp, has been greatly simplified in Energy3D.
Interestingly, of the five groups, none used the template houses we provided to help them get started, indicating the fact that the students actually preferred designing their very own houses from scratch.