by Ed Goldberg AIA, NCARB
CHICAGO, IL (Greenbuild 2010 Int'l Conference and Expo) - While attending Autodesk University last year, I kept hearing about GreenBuild. So this year, instead of going to AU, I attended GreenBuild which took place in Chicago on November 17th. GreenBuild is hosted each year by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction, and developer of the LEED building rating system. What a surprise. I have been going to conferences such as the National AIA conference, Siggraph, and AU for over fifteen years, but I have never before seen a conference that appeared this big. Unless one has been on the planet Mars for the past few years, one should realize that “green” is the hottest subject in the building industry today, and as it should be since our buildings consume over 40% of our total yearly energy consumption.
The keynote speaker for GreenBuild this year, was Retired Gen. Colin Powell.(photo courtesy of Green Building Council)
Energy Analysis and the BIM
Buildings are key to achieving climate stabilization, representing roughly 40% of global energy consumption and 25% of global carbon emissions. In addition, energy efficiency retrofits represent a massive latent market, projected to reach an estimated worth of $400 billion by 2030 in the U.S. alone. It has become apparent to this analyst that energy analysis of the BIM (Building Information Model) is becoming very important with respect to Sustainable Building Design, and a potential profit stream as well as marketing tool. Autodesk, Graphisoft, Bentley and IES have, for several years, distributed energy analysis tools for the BIM. Now things are heating up in this arena, as evidenced by their being at GreenBuild, and that they are beginning to expand their products’ capability. Except for IES, most of the products are aimed at the architect and early design decisions, and not at the energy and mechanical engineers.
How do the energy analysis programs work?
Most of the BIM Energy Analysis tools work in a similar manner by combining input information concerning a BIM model with external information such as Sun angle, weather, wind, etc, and creating an analysis report. Once the report is made, the inputs, such as window and wall types, can be varied and new reports compared to base line reports.