Pollination Progress Report - July 2023

Hello :pollination: community!

It has been around 6 months since we shared our development roadmap for 2023 with you. It is about time to give an update on our progress during the last 6 months and share the next steps for the rest of the year. It will also be a great opportunity to hear your feedback. I will go through the list of the tasks later in this topic but I want to highlight the item that I believe was our most important achievement so far in 2023.

I believe we have finally proven to the AE community that automated interoperability workflows between CAD/BIM and building performance simulation are a reliable, faster, and overall better alternative to redrawing the models from scratch.

As industry professionals ourselves, we know how unreliable and unpredictable the automated interoperability solutions have been over the last decade so we knew we would have an uphill battle to win everyone’s trust. I believe we made great progress on this topic by helping companies to use the Rhino and the Revit plugins for creating analytical models for their real ongoing projects. We heard from several users that they were skeptical to try yet another interoperability solution and they are now surprised that it works!

The plugins are not yet perfect but they are predictable. That makes it possible to rely on them for projects under pressing deadlines. We still have several items on our list (for the Revit plugin in particular), which will make the process even faster and more reliable but we know we are in a good place when we get questions like this one.

We are moving from the I-can’t-build-a-model-fast-enough problem to this-is-now-too-flexible-and-I’m-building-very-large-models problem! That’s a great problem to have! The last time that I had to deal with a similar pattern DesignExplorer was born! I’m excited to see where we will end up with this new challenge.

Thank you for trusting us, investing in us, and helping us through the process. We are looking forward to continuing our work to build the Pollination CAD plugins as the trustworthy interoperability hub for building performance simulation.

Now off to the list of items for each Pollination product. :point_down:

Rhino Plugin

Here is the list of features that we had on our roadmap.

  • Add new repairing routines, and improve the existing ones :white_check_mark:

    • We added a couple of new preparation and validation routines. Most importantly, you can now use the PO_Validate command to check the floor intersection for rooms. We will make the official announcement soon once it is also available in the Revit plugin but you can already try it in the Rhino plugin.

    • We made several improvements to the alignment commands. Most recently, we broke down the PO_AligToGrids command into two separate and easier-to-use commands: PO_AlignInPlan, and PO_AlignInElevation.

    We will continue the effort for improving these commands and providing new routines for making it easier to repair your analytical models in Rhino. Let us know if there are other routines that can be helpful to your workflows.

  • Improve interoperability with other simulation tools :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

    We achieved all the goals that we had for this category.

    We have been working with the DesignBuilder team to potentially provide a direct translation to DesignBuilder in addition to the current option of using gbXML. I know that a few of you asked for an integration with Trace 3D Plus but our efforts to get in contact with the development team to provide us with more information has not been successful.

  • Improve interoperability with Ladybug Tools Grasshopper plugins :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

    We implemented all the items on our list for better integration between Pollination Rhino and Ladybug Tools plugins.

    • We introduced new VisualizationSet objects that allow you to bake the results of the studies to Rhino as native Rhino objects.

    • We also introduced an option for replacing the existing model in Rhino from inside Grasshopper.

    Our next step is to optimize the implementation of the Visualization Sets. In addition, we are looking forward to hearing from you about the interoperability features that can improve your workflows.

  • Streamline the process to run the simulations and visualize the results :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

    Not only did we implement a new streamlined workflow for running and visualizing cloud simulations but we also added support for running the simulations locally with the exact same interface. We released the Pollination Panel and now you can Run the Studies Locally or on the Cloud and Visualize the Results without Ever Leaving Rhino!

  • Improve the documentation :white_check_mark:

    This is an item that we still have a lot to catch up with but we started the process by updating the documentation of the Rhino commands. You can see the updated documentation here: (Pollination Commands - Pollination User Manual). They include descriptions for all the input parameters, related discourse topics, and video tutorials.

  • Provide better solutions for detailed HVAC simulation :white_check_mark:

    We had an initial release for this feature (Detailed HVAC modeling is now available in Pollination Rhino plugin) and will release an update in the next few weeks with an improved workflow. We will also work on providing new video tutorials and better documentation in the upcoming months.

    Adding better support for detailed HVAC simulation is a high-risk high-reward task. We are still trying to understand the right scope of the integration to provide the most useful workflows.

  • Provide better solutions to create and share custom standards libraries :chart_with_upwards_trend:

    We know that many of you want to use the Pollination plugin to build custom libraries of constructions, schedules, programs, etc. that you’ll reuse across projects and share throughout your office. We have developed most of the infrastructure to support this but we have yet to release them publicly. You should keep an eye out for this feature to be available in the next month.

Revit Plugin

  • Develop more forgiving solutions for exporting models :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

    This is the area that we have made significant progress. Some of them have been released and some have been implemented in the core libraries but haven’t made their way to the user interface yet.

    We added support for using Areas as the source of geometry extraction: You Can now Use Revit Area Plans to Create your Analytical Models - This feature provides an easier solution to export models without placing every room in the model.

    We also rewrote the routine for extracting apertures in “extruded floors” mode, which works even if there are separate lines in front of the apertures. The new routine has introduced some edge cases where the aperture is projected incorrectly but we are currently working on a fix that will be available in the upcoming releases.

    We have implemented the core features needed to support the sloped roofs in an extruded mode which will make it easier and faster to export the models with sloped roofs and vertical walls.

  • Improve the solve adjacency routines :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

    This feature has been fully implemented for “extruded floors” mode. You can now solve the adjacency between all parts of the model reliably! We haven’t made an official announcement about this but it’s released and you can find it under the settings in step 6 of the Export Model.

  • Improve automated repairing routines :white_check_mark:

    • We initially planned to expand the fixing routines to be available in the “full volume” geometry pathway just as they’re implemented in the “extruded floors” pathway but we changed our mind. We realized that almost all the Revit models that we see are extruded floor plates but some have sloped roofs. As a result, instead of re-implementing the routines for the detailed mode, we decided to make the extruded mode more flexible to accept sloped roofs!

    • We also added a new option to filter out small voids/holes in the model without the need to edit them in the Revit model. You can see this option in the first step of the Export Model.

  • Streamline the process to run the simulations and visualize the results :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

Cloud Computing

  • Optimize the execution of running short-lived steps and small models :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:

    We implemented a new feature in our server to address this issue. The change has been deployed for a good few months now, and we have updated the recipes to use this new feature. The only reason that we haven’t made a public announcement about this is one last bug in Argo - which is the technology that we are using to run the simulations - that can cause some of the simulations to get stuck! We are getting help from the Argo development team to resolve this issue, and once this last issue is resolved we should be more confident to make the official announcement. If you run smaller models, you should already see a major improvement in the speed of the simulation.

  • Implement better queueing for large parametric studies :chart_with_upwards_trend:

    We have made progress on this topic but haven’t started the implementation. Simplifying the recipes which I mentioned in the previous task has helped us to minimize the cases that can cause issues but we still need to implement a better queuing strategy.

  • Provide simple solutions for customizing existing recipes :chart_with_upwards_trend:

    This is a task that was planned for the second half of the year. We have made some good progress on scoping the task. Fingers crossed there will be no surprises along the way of the implementation.


As I mentioned in the original post, Apps are the only Pollination product that are still in beta. From the original list, we have made several improvements to make it easier to build Pollination apps using Streamlit. We have also improved the start-up time for paid apps. If you pay for an app, you now get the option to keep them running all the time, which effectively solves the issue with the slow start-up time.

With that said, we had an important realization. Although Streamlit is a great framework to build simple apps, it might not be the best fit to build larger apps with constant interactions with the CAD plugins. That’s why we have started looking into supporting Dash as an alternative framework to Streamlit. The progress has been promising and we will continue to work on the infrastructure.

We are also planning to release a couple of new apps for early design studies that have been requested by several users. We just want to make sure that, when we release them, they are good enough to be used for real projects.


Creating new recipes was not on our initial roadmap but we added them to the list based on the requests from you. We released 3 recipes for LEED daylight and energy.

We also released a recipe for annual daylight EN17037 and we are working on releasing a more efficient version of the annual daylight and annual irradiance recipes.

What is next?

For the rest of the year, we will mainly work on the tasks that I listed above. We are committed to improving and iterating as many times as it takes to make sure that you can create/extract your analytical models from CAD/BIM environments in an acceptable timeframe. We also want to ensure you have access to validated simulation recipes, which can be run locally or on the cloud as you see fit. Lastly, we intend to empower you with the ability to visualize and communicate the results of the simulations effectively, such that you can impact the design process and improve the built environment.

We have one more item on the list that I have not listed above but we learned during this year and we are planning to work on it. We have discussed developing a Radiance-only option for exporting the models from Revit. Our current parsing routine is primarily optimized for energy modeling, which is indeed the harder of the two, but we have seen a few customers who want to use their models only for daylight simulation and we have plans to implement faster workflows for that are geared toward this pathway.

We are looking forward to hearing your feedback/thoughts/advice! Let us know how you feel about the progress, what you have enjoyed from Pollination, and what areas can be improved. We always look forward to hearing your feedback and, if you check this forum, you know that we listen to it and we will implement features to address it! You can leave a comment under this post or reach out to us via email. I’m looking forward to the rest of 2023!

Thank you for using Pollination, and supporting us on this journey to fix the interoperability issues for building performance simulation.

Happy Pollinating! :pollination:


Excited to hear more about this! There is a popular tool on the market that had a superb export process for daylight, even from Revit. Would love to see some competition!