Green Building XML (gbXML) is the product-agnostic (open source) language for a building’s energy analytical model, while IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is primarily the product-agnostic language of a building’s 3D geometry and metadata.
In layman’s terms, gbXML is focused solely on the building’s thermal and related characteristics (anything doing with energy modeling), while IFCs model the entire building including its geometry, construction characteristics, fixtures, furniture, and much more. While IFCs appear to include all that gbXML includes plus much more, it doesn’t focus solely on energy modeling so there is much lost in translation.
While IFCs have tremendous use in translating models between disparate BIM authoring tools, gbXML really shines in successfully transmitting data between BIM authoring and analysis software tools such as Trane TRACE, EnergyPlus, and OpenStudio.
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