Wouldn't it be great if, with the touch of a button, we could get the data we need to evaluate the impact of building orientation on energy consumption? Or optimize the size of a window to achieve the desired day-lighting within a space? These once cumbersome design-evaluation tasks are being simplified with powerful tools that make truly sustainable design an attainable goal.
BIM technology linked to analysis software through the gbXML format now makes this dream a reality.
Using gbXML to link BIM models to analysis packages allows designers to capture and integrate 3-D building-related information into interactive data to analyze costs, materials and schedules. BIM's greatest impact is now being realized in its ability to investigate sustainable design options and subsequent impacts early in the design process.
A 3-D model created through BIM tools, such as Revit software, collects information needed to accurately analyze the built environment. Powerful analysis engines such as IES-VE, GBS, and Ecotect energy modeling software can quickly produce meaningful results including: energy analysis, day-lighting and lighting studies, utility costs, code analysis, and life-cycle cost studies.
The energy analysis engine has become popular for several reasons: 1) it easily measures energy against established standards; 2) it is tangible to all stakeholders; 3) it encourages life-cycle thinking.
Linking BIM models to energy modeling packages in the early stage of design makes it possible to communicate the enormous impact that building orientation, fenestration and envelope systems have on energy consumption. For designers, gbXML creates the ability to link the BIM model to an energy model for rapid design studies making it a critical tool for sustainable design.
This early analysis generates a load summary based on the building type, location and other building components. The load summary documents total cooling and heating in btu/hr. The designer can then re-orient the building and, with the click of a button, quickly regenerate the load summary to compare the differences in btu/hr between the two scenarios to achieve an optimized level of energy consumption.
PETERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The ultimate goal of a BIM model is to evaluate appropriate systems and complete preliminary energy studies to yield a high performing building. An energy and day-lighting study completed on Petersen Elementary for the Scappoose School District in Scappoose, Oregon is an excellent example. The project team took advantage of modeling software to truly study high performance characteristics of the design. The team used Revit to generate the BIM model and gbXML with IES-VE as the analysis engine. The 60,000 SF elementary school uses radiant heat generated by a high efficiency condensing boiler to treat the building envelope and displacement diffusers for ventilation air. A high-performing exterior envelope and efficient interior lighting systems designed to integrate with day-lighting strategies complemented the mechanical systems.
These results enabled the team to pursue potential savings of more than 1,300,000 kBtu/year in source energy while providing ample day-lighting in 100 percent of the classroom spaces. This not only successfully reduces the facility's utility bills, but also improves the quality of the built environment for the occupants.
2010 DLR Group UNIVERSITY
DLRU 2010 - DLR Group's Architecture 2030 Response. A firm wide retreat in July 2010 brought together integrated teams of DLR Group architects and engineers from office across the country. For two days, six teams focused on incorporating the metrics of energy performance into project designs during the earliest phases of the design process. In a workshop setting, these integrated teams had 8 hours to take a straightforward K-12 addition project and improve the design and energy performance through collaborative, team based, modeling and testing.
DLR Group architects and engineers worked rapidly to propose potential design alternates modeled those options in Revit and Sketch-up while working simultaneously in IES-VE, GBS, and Ecotect energy modeling software. The energy impact and performance of climate, site orientation, daylighting and systems were tested and ideas and potential solutions to building systems revised on the fly.
The results were illuminating.. In a mere eight hours over two days, teams produced excellent architectural solutions, architectural and engineering systems that met the energy metrics of Architecture 2030, and produced design communication report-outs that visually communicated the combined energy and aesthetic improvements for their projects. All of this was made possible through the gbXML format and integrating energy and BIM models in a rapid, iterative fashion.
Harnessing the power of virtual building design tools will be a standard industry response. Regardless of the opportunities or challenges associated with BIM, projects such as these highlight the ability of gbXML to set the standard for sustainable buildings in the future.