While Greenbuild isn’t a conference and exhibition we officially attempt to cover (yet) we did receive word from Autodesk that the design software giant had several new applications (apps) coming out of their Autodesk Labs status into new products for building performance and analysis tools.
These new tools should be of interest to architects using the Autodesk’ Revit BIM platform, whether they are using it on PC computers or Macs under Apple’s Boot Camp.
Making the Case for Sustainable Design
Autodesk is intent on helping architects make their business case for sustainable design strategies, which often for many, can be a tough sell to their clients. The truth is sustainable design technologies often raise the cost of construction but have a relatively short return on investment (ROI) period, sometimes less than 6-8 years on major systems like geo-thermal design. The goal is to create buildings that consume less energy to run. Ultimately, it depends on the combination of sustainable design strategies and where the building is in the world on which the project is to apply various sustainable design strategies.
Here’s what’s been unveiled:
- three new apps that help building and infrastructure project teams cost-justify sustainable strategies
- two new apps that bring tighter integration between Building Performance Analysis (BPA) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows for Autodesk Revit and Autodesk FormIt users
“Autodesk’s aim is to empower architects and engineers to design and build the highest performing buildings possible by delivering solutions that are intuitive to use and trustworthy,” said Emile Kfouri, Director of Building Performance Analysis at Autodesk.
“Tighter integration of building performance analysis and cost-benefit calculations within the design environment allows project teams to make better decisions when it matters most. It’s all part of Autodesk’s mission to make sustainability easy, insightful and cost-effective,” added Emma Stewart, Head of Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk.
The New Apps
The first new app is the new Energy Cost Range (ECR) tool which presents the user with an overall project potential energy use range, including comparisons to the Architecture 2030 benchmark, and include the key factors that influence it. Using a new flexible dashboard interface called Project Salon allows users to easily see the interplay between various design factors and the effects on building performance—such as overhangs on roof, or the composition of a wall’s materials and insulation type.
Some of the ECR technology previously showed up in the latest versions of Autodesk FormIt for Apple’s iPad. That technology allowed rough energy approximations based on preliminary building size and geographic location in the world. In Revit, ECR now combines DOE2 (US Dept. of Energy) 2 simulations from the building model along with multiple pre-computed DOE2 whole building energy simulations to provide deeper more meaningful results. You can learn more about the ECR here.
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Project ECMF is another app in technology preview that allows users to conduct financial analyses on desired energy conservation measures (or ECMs). The app lets users compare various scenarios, including calculating ROI.
AutoTBL is an upcoming app that automates triple bottom line cost-benefit analyses for low-impact storm water strategies inside AutoCAD Civil 3D and Autodesk InfraWorks 360.
A new Revit plugin tool called Solar Analysis plugin for Revit, enables the analysis of daylighting and its relationship to energy. It calculates solar exposure on surfaces using the specific annual hourly climate data from Autodesk’s Climate Server, which pulls in data from weather stations around the world. This tool is key for architects working on the energy impacts of envelope design and shading device design, or for studying the placement of photovoltaics.
Lastly, EnergyPlus Cloud Service is a new offering. EnergyPlus is the world’s most advanced energy simulation engine, but computational requirements for large and complex building models can be extremely time consuming to crunch through. Autodesk is announcing a forthcoming Autodesk EnergyPlus cloud service, which based on early testing can crunch through the simulations 5x-10x faster than on desktop workstations. You can learn more here.