Utilizing BIM for Sustainable Architecture

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

Posts Tagged ‘Revit’

The best of Ecotect & SketchUp: Project Vasari

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on November 29, 2010

Autodesk recently developed a quick design/analysis tool called “Project Vasari.”  The tool focuses on conceptual building design (parametric massing) and provides energy/carbon analysis results.  Many of the analysis features are what you would find in Autodesk’s Ecotect and Green Building Studio products – the difference here is that it works seamlessly with Revit and the conceptual design process is far more intuitive (not unlike SketchUp).  After you finalize tweaking the massing design, the Vasari model can be brought directly into Revit without losing any data.  A free trial download of the software can be found here.

I am curious if this product will remain as a separate software tool or if it will eventually become part of the Revit bundle.  Either way, it is a good step in the right direction.

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Posted in BIM & Sustainability Metrics, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

More support for BIM & GIS

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on October 19, 2010

Here is more support for the integration of BIM and GIS at Spatial Roundtable.  Shelli Stockton views BIM as a tool primarily for design and construction, whereas GIS is a tool primarily for ongoing facilities management.  Both tools overlap and should ideally “plug” into one another, but each has its area of appropriate application.  The next step in supporting integration, however, is determining the technical interoperability and data-sharing methods between BIM and GIS.  First, it is important to ask:  What is the future of BIM & GIS?  Should there be emphasis on overlap or separation between functions?  Will a third-party tool be developed that can bring together BIM data and GIS data OR will there be a import/export file type between databases?

To date, there appears to be evidence towards keeping BIM and GIS tools in their respective realms of application.  Futhermore, it also appears that integration and interoperability will occur through import/export file type(s).  There has been some research performed involving the export of BIM data through IFC data schema and imported into ArcGIS.  This case study summary by Mikael Johansson and Mattias Roupé demonstrates that building geometry done using Revit can be successfully imported to ArcGIS with correct spatial parameters intact.  buildingSMART International has been working on integrating data transfer protocols between BIM and GIS platforms through it’s Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) data schema.  The latest IFC 2×4 release has new features including the ability to “connect the BIM/IFC schema to information held in GIS databases.”  I’m assuming this means that GIS data can be imported into BIM tools and vice versa.

While this research and development is encouraging, I am curious how future development of IFC will handle both BIM and GIS data interoperability.  One challenge I foresee (beyond the difficulty of translating/interpreting data between tools) is in the management of file sizes and data permissions/ownership.  I’m sure there are more, but I’m waiting to hear from other experts out there…anyone?

Posted in BIM & GIS (Geographic Information Systems) | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thesis Excerpt: BIM for Housing?

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 7, 2010

A fifth area of research not addressed in this thesis involves comparing current BIM software tools in terms of appropriateness for affordable and sustainable housing.  In an effort to conduct thorough simulation research in a reasonable timeframe, I focused solely on Autodesk’s Revit.  However, I am not convinced that this software is necessarily the ‘right tool for the job’ with regard to the design and construction of affordable and sustainable housing.  An interesting continuation of this research might involve testing various BIM tools (i.e. Vectorworks, Revit, Microstation, and ArchiCAD) for a given affordable/sustainable housing development project and comparing how each performs in specific categories.  Eastman, et al. (2008), has already compiled a pros and cons list of various BIM platforms, but the comparisons lack a specific context, stakeholder group(s), or project type.  This further research could also help to determine to what degree the technology is influential on affordability and sustainability.

Source:  Dowhower, Justin Firuz.  Adapting Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Affordable & Sustainable Housing:  Chapter 7:  Future Research.  Austin, TX:  The University of Texas at Austin, 2010.

Posted in BIM for Housing - What's the Argument? | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thesis Excerpt: BIM & Design-Analysis

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 7, 2010

A fourth extension of research involves developing and testing sustainable parametric ‘plug-ins’ for BIM software tools.  The intent is that design and analysis become a seamlessly integrated process, where design decisions have quantifiable results through continuous analysis, which in turn helps to inform further design optimizations.  As I explained in Chapter 2, I attempted to create a parametric photovoltaic array that could be used in a BIM tool like Revit to quickly approximate the potential for renewable energy production.  Unfortunately, it was not successful and it could be argued that other software tools (such as Ecotect and PVWATTS) are better suited to addressing this type of simulation.  One investigation could be to determine which types of sustainable analysis are appropriate for BIM tools and which should be exclusive to third-party analysis tools.  The next step would be develop some of these ‘plug-ins’ specifically for BIM tools and test their effectiveness for improving sustainable design strategies.

Source:  Dowhower, Justin Firuz.  Adapting Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Affordable & Sustainable Housing:  Chapter 7:  Future Research.  Austin, TX:  The University of Texas at Austin, 2010.

Posted in BIM & Sustainability Metrics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »