Utilizing BIM for Sustainable Architecture

An analysis and continuation of my graduate thesis at the University of Texas at Austin.

Posts Tagged ‘Building Information Modeling’

Blog about BIM & Sustainability

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 23, 2010

I just stumbled on this blog titled: “Sustainability – High Performance Buildings – Knowledge-based Building Information Modeling Systems – BIM – 3D 4D 5D BIM” which seems to cover a wide range of topics involving BIM and sustainable, high-performance buildings.


Posted in Building Information Modeling (BIM), Sustainable Design/Development (General Discussion Topics) | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

BIM/IPD workflow and collaboration

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 13, 2010

This is an older article, but it is still relevant: “NEXT-GEN BIM: Graphisoft Teamwork 2.0 will revolutionize BIM/IPD workflow and collaboration” by Jerry Laiserin, July 2009.  This is an interesting introduction and analysis of how BIM authoring tools approach project sharing and collaboration where the goal is to enable greater project integration without sacrificing workflow flexibility.  The article also brings up an interesting point regarding how worksharing capabilities tend to benefit larger firms/projects while penalizing smaller firms/projects with unnecessary management complexity.  This article focuses on the [new] teamwork framework for Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD 13.  Although I’m personally biased towards Autodesk’s Revit suite, I think they could learn a thing or two from Graphisoft’s approach and I think they are going in this direction (if not already with v2011).

For more information on this topic, see Chapter 3 of my thesis discussing BIM/IPD and comparing various BIM technologies.

Posted in BIM & Stakeholders - Communication & Workflows | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

“Builders try to prove green homes can be affordable”

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 13, 2010

I came across this article about affordable ‘green’ housing developments in Oregon and Arizona.  This is positive news in a time of economic recession, but I’m not sure what the builders of these homes (or author) considers “affordable” – the Oregon housing development has housing units starting at $257,900 while the Arizona development begins at $174,900 – is this at least 80% MFI?  I doubt it.  The Alley Flat Initiative case study in Austin Texas, which I discuss in Chapter 4 of my thesis, has been able to achieve 60% MFI at $100,000 for a one-bedroom house.

The energy bills are estimated at $734 annually for the 1,640 square foot (smallest) Arizona development home.  This might sound impressive, until you look at the Passive House standards, which would cut utility costs down significantly (<$100 annually).  But the increase in design/construction quality would undoubtedly increase the upfront housing costs.  I believe the way to get around this dilemma is for builders/architects to work directly with local city governments and utility companies to help subsidize the cost of housing developments if they can be proven to achieve an energy efficiency target (net-zero for example).  This would enable housing to be more affordable without sacrificing quality and it would be a direct benefit to all stakeholders involved – the builder/architect can charge more for providing ‘green’ housing and the city and utility companies can reduce peak energy demand.  In addition, if builders, city governments and utility companies utilized the capacity of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for the design, construction and data collection for these housing developments – thinking about housing units as part of a greater interdependent ecosystem, rather than as individual and isolated buildings – it would assist in quantifying and tracking actual energy usage while provide a baseline for improvement.

Posted in 'Green' Design Strategies, Affordable & 'Green' Housing, BIM & Stakeholders - Communication & Workflows, BIM for Housing - What's the Argument?, Financing Structures | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Autodesk Project Bluestreak

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 10, 2010

Here is Autodesk’s attempt to address social networking between project design team members:

Autodesk Project Bluestreak is a web-based collaboration environment for accelerating building information modeling through the open exchange of design information and ideas between desktop applications, web-based services and people. (http://bluestreak.autodesk.com/Content/html/en/LearnMore.htm)

Autodesk Project Bluestreak homepage.

I attended Autodesk University 2009 where they presented the initial concept for this and demonstrated how social interaction could happen.  Essentially, it is a Facebook-like environment with a members list, online chat and project folders.  At that time, Project Bluestreak was envisioned as more of a social collaboration tool and not a full “enterprise solution” (i.e. online BIM server).  It might be going in that direction, but who knows.  Although this online networking tool is a promising step forward in terms of increasing design information access and feedback loops, there is still the challenge of jargon translation and universal meaning (ex. I talk about the need for a “green” roof in the design – one person might interpret that as painting the roof the color “green” and someone else might understand it [correctly] as a vegetated roofing system).  While people familiar with architectural jargon may not have a problem communicating amongst one another, the challenge is broadening the conversation to include stakeholders outside the design team proper, who may also be valuable contributors.  Refer to Chapter 5 of my thesis where I discuss some interesting research done by Dammann & Elle (2006) on the subject.

I’d be interested to see what other BIM developers are coming up with to address stakeholder collaboration and improve feedback loops.  Anyone?

Posted in BIM & Stakeholders - Communication & Workflows | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »