With the global climate changes going on, direct results of our planet reacting to the pains that human beings have created over the last century by overconsuming, destroying and hurting its resources, there’s a strong and real need to take rapid and efficient decisions to heal our world.
By 2050, over 10 billion people will leave in the cities, creating by consequence a strong demand for the creation of smart cities, new infrastructures, buildings, transportation systems, parks, and utilities facilities. Specialists are claiming that 1,000 buildings should be constructed every day to fulfill all these needs. This will also generate an acceleration of carbon footprint, planet natural resources consumptions, taking into account that buildings are already responsible for more than 50% of these climate disasters.
With these huge challenges, humanity has to find fast and viable solutions to overcome these challenges and get back on the right track for a safe, pure and well-being place to live on our earth.
Therefore, we have to find new ways to design, build, operate and maintain our built environment which will allow us to create new generations of cities, buildings and infrastructures with high performances, able to generate their own energy using sun, wind and earth power to escape from fossil energy trap.
Most countries have understood the importance of what is going on there and important decisions have been made through International conferences like Paris’ COP 21…
Knowing that the AEC Industry is one the less advanced Industry compared to the automotive or aerospace ones and that the amount of investments in technologies positions it at the before last position before Agriculture, anyone will easily understand that the challenge is high.
But the shift has been made now since 10 years – starting in the USA after the big crisis – and BIM Mandates in many regions of the world pushing for the use of BIM processes to reduces Carbon footprints and energy consumption by 20% driving therefore a big demand on the field. The AEC Professionals have started their mutation to this new paradigm.
New ways of production
Building production, whether it’s intellectual or physical is not happening the same way anymore. Especially in pioneer countries like USA, Great Britain, Nordic Countries or Asia.
Whether it’s for reaching International or Local regulations for Building performances like LEED or BREEAM certifications or HQE (High Environmental Quality) or RT 2012 (Thermical Regulation) in France, there’s no other ways than using new process and approaches. BIM is the certainly the most famous one you’re certainly aware of.
Building Information Modeling, a collaborative approach for designing, sharing, building and managing our built assets between all the stakeholders of a project, from the Owner to the architects, engineers and construction companies. The I of BIM takes all its sense when speaking about energy performance as all the analysis, estimations, calculations of performances based on criteria’s are using these data to be performed.
These anticipations can straight away be performed from mobile devices, and can go very simple from sun studies around a building from a mobile device…
Until Solar radiations on your future project, allowing therefore to understand which material will be chosen for a specific façade based on the heat constraints it will face…
Cloud helping climate based calculations
With technologies like Insight 360 a full cloud based energy performances calculation, you’ll be able to make many calculations of several variations of a same project and get the right insights of its performances and behaviours in the real life. Using Energy Models like DOE 2.0 and retrieving climate conditions from climate stations, it will allow designers to take the right decisions, compare several options, evaluate and have the right conversations between all stakeholders.
But not only it will help to calculate future behaviours, it will also allow to evaluate materials quantities, and therefore avoid wastes and selection of the best option to have a sustainable building.
These approaches are both valuable for new constructions, but also for renovation purposes where technology will help quickly and digitally capture existing conditions of a building, so called reality capture, allowing to quickly create a BIM Model of an existing asset and evaluate how to make it compliant with new regulations.
Rapid Energy Modeling, fast and efficient to take the right decisions
Researchers and Energy Specialists at Autodesk have developed what they called REM which stands for Rapid Energy Modeling, using point clouds (coming from drones or laser scanning) or CAD files for the simplest approach to remodel existing buildings. REM includes 3 key elements which are capturing, modeling and analyzing. A BIM Model can be recreated with different LOD (Level Of Details), and once it has been setup and georeferenced, you can get stunning results in the twinkling of an eye thanks to Cloud based energy calculation solutions and see results approaching by 3 to 5% the real energy consumption of the real assets. This can help owners rapidly take the right decisions on how it should be renovated with few means.
This approach has been tested for instance with success a few years ago by the GSA. These new approaches are now coming to Europe where Renovation represents more than 80% of the market in South Europe for example. This is particularly important as there are a large number of historical monuments, demanding a specific and cautious modeling approach for architectural reasons.
Generative Design & Artificial Intelligence, the perfect alliance
By using these new approaches, time is being literally compressed and it’s fair as the future challenges are big: 1,000 buildings per day. It’s even more important to find acceleration processes to be more efficient. Autodesk has again largely invested in areas like generative design with open technologies like Dynamo, and by combining it with the power of Artificial Intelligence, it gives the ability to search new ways of designing energy efficient buildings.
Finding the best daylight factor in order to maximize the availability of natural light in the office can take up to seconds, unlike old ways where days were needed.
Energy creation and atmospheric effects anticipation
Thanks to CFD and wind flow simulations, it will be possible to evaluate how much energy a building will be able to generate in a specific location or with a specific orientation. But this will also mean a better quality for users as bad effects like Venturi will be anticipated, like the one for example at the bottom Arch of La Défense in Paris could have been managed before construction. This would have avoided thousands of euros of works to workaround this design error.
But the quality of future interior spaces will be affected by these new trends, allowing the decrease of disagreements linked to bad interior spaces ventilation, too cold air conditioning systems or propagation of bacterial diseases in healthcare spaces. Since early stages of design, it will be made possible to redesign and reposition Systems or spaces themselves for a better life quality.
BIM & IoT, a new trend to operate the assets
Optimizing the design and construction process is important to win all these climate related challenges and lower wastes of materials and bad designs, but the key to success will be in the operation and maintenance phase, which represents 80% of the total cost of the building. In that perspective, having a BIM Model to operate in a better way is the first step to success, but connecting it to the IoT will be even more important. This is why Companies like Autodesk have started to deeply invest in innovative and disruptive technologies like Autodesk Forge, allowing the development of ad-hoc technologies and platforms like Dasher, connecting BIM and IoT and allowing to control and monitor any sensor, captors, heating and cooling systems from a BIM Model, out of the fact that it completely blows out traditional heavy systems on the market.
Time is now!
The challenge is high, but beautiful and as you’ve just read it, Government are mandating everywhere, all the resources, innovative new processes and technologies are here, so whether you’re a designer, a builder, an Energy Engineer or Specialist, or an owner, you can beat the expectations and help heal our planet and make it a better place to live for our children and the future generations, and deliver some stunning buildings. So, it’s your turn to play the game!