Designing Skylights with Google SketchUp

designer education

COURSE: Designing Skylights with Google SketchUp

This course on Designing Skylights with Google SketchUp has been brought to you by VELUX® USA. The course consists of 3 online training videos, each roughly 20 minutes long, showing you how to use skylights in your SketchUp designs. We’ve also provided Google SketchUp 3D models of a sample house and the skylights so that you can work right along with the lesson. Finally, we have a test that you can take for credit. If you would like to take the course for USGBC or AIA credits, please read on!



If you are an AIA or USGBC member, you can take this course for credit. Just follow these 4 steps:
  1. Create an account You’ll need this to get AIA or USGBC credit.
  2. Get the course materials This is an interactive course.
  3. Watch the educational videos There are three, 20-minute Google SketchUp tutorials.
  4. Take the test The test is 20-questions, all multiple-choice.

2. Get the course materials

In order to complete this course you’ll need the following things:

    * Google SketchUp application (free) or Google SketchUp Pro application. Go to the SketchUp website to download the application.

    * (Optional) The IDX Renditioner plugin for Google SketchUp. You can download a trial of this application here.
    * Review the Course Objectives and Full Course description - you can read those here.

    * Download 3D SketchUp models of the house and skylights used in the tutorial exercises - you can find those here.

    * (Optional) If you are new to SketchUp, you may want to review some tutorials and lessons available at the SketchUp training website School (



Upon completing this course, you should be able to:
1) Download and design skylights into a project using Google SketchUp and the Google 3D Warehouse.
2) Create daylight studies and renderings of interior spaces using SketchUp rendering plugins.
3) Author presentation and design documents using SketchUp's integrated Google LayOut application

4) Participants will be able to identify the features of skylights that contribute to sustainability, indoor air quality and energy savings.



The following SketchUp models will be used in the course. Please download them so that you can work along with the video tutorials.

No Leak™ Series - VELUX® VSE Series (Labeled)

The No Leak™ Series is the ultimate skylight line from VELUX® that features an industry first 10 year installation warranty against leaks, no matter who installs the skylight. This Electric Venting Deck Mounted skylight offers maximum daylight and sky views and is ENERGY STAR® rated in all climatic regions of the US. This Sketchup model includes labeled, pre-configured scene tabs.

723 Spring Street

Model of Spring Street House used in Episode #57 of The SketchUp Show.

723 Spring Street (IDX)

This is the sample file that is used in Episode #58 of The SketchUp Show. Show topics include use of the IDX Renditioner plugin for photorealistic rendering of SketchUp models.


Below, you may watch the 3 tutorial videos. You will need Flash installed on your computer. To check that you have flash, click here.

The SketchUp Show: Episode #57 - Designing a Roof and Adding Skylights

Mike demonstrates how to design a skylight into a Google SketchUp model of a house. In this episode, you will learn how to draw a roof and cut a rough opening for a skylight. You'll also practice searching for and downloading a dynamic component skylight from the Google 3D Warehouse into your design. Then, Mike will show you how to customize your dynamic skylight options to fit your design. Finally, you'll walk through the steps of studying the light and shadows by using real-world location coordinates imported from Google Earth into your SketchUp models. Too dark or too bright? Mike even shows you how to select skylight blinds options to control the light coming into the home.

The SketchUp Show: Episode #58 - IDX Renditioner

Mike teaches how to use the IDX Renditioner plugin for Google SketchUp to render realistic lighting into your skylight model. If you're wondering how to get more realistic lighting into SketchUp, you've come to the right video. In this lesson, we demonstrate how to download and install a free version of the IDX Renditioner SketchUp plugin. We also have provided a free sample SketchUp house for download on the Google 3D Warehouse, and we show you how to navigate through the model to practice using the IDX plugin. Next, Mike helps you set up the IDX plugin to understand the materials in your 3D model and the lighting conditions outside of the model. And viola! A click of the render button gives you a beautiful photorealistic rendering of what the attic will look like with skylights installed.

The SketchUp Show: Episode #59 - Presenting Your Designs in Google Layout

Mike shows how to present your final Google SketchUp model using Google LayOut. Once you have a great looking SketchUp model with fancy new skylights installed, its time to show-off your handy work. Lucky for you, SketchUp Pro comes with the LayOut presentation application pre-bundled. In this episode, Mike opens his SketchUp model in LayOut and customizes his presentation with a special logo and title block. Then, he creates a plan view of the skylights complete with dimensions and scale information. Next, he shows how to take advantage of an dynamic skylight component on the Google 3D Warehouse that allows you to see the entire installation process and use that information right inside your LayOut presentation. Finally, Mike adds both SketchUp and pre-rendered images of the lighting conditions inside the home to round out the presentation.