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Well Designed buildings are the ones which are optimized through Energy Modeling Solutions

Architects, structural engineers, architectural and construction firms across AEC industry, along with governments of developed countries, are spending millions to improvise the designs of their already existing buildings to make them “green building” in order to reduce their carbon footprints.

Designs and plans of building facilities are so made that it makes the maximum usage of natural resources for heating, ventilation, water supply and even for the electrical appliances. Most architectural and construction firms along with general contractors have accepted energy modeling for each large facility as a threshold criterion to initiate the construction phase and without it their facility design is only partly finished. 

One of the leading university in USA, is of the opinion that buildings in the USA consume about 76% of electricity and emits half the nation’s greenhouse gases. This consumption is 25% of world’s energy while, the USA has only 5% of the world’s population and this consumption is increasing by 2% annually. Though these statistics date back to 2010, considering none or minimal population increase; it is not tough to estimate that the energy consumption of USA today probably should have reached to 37% of the overall energy consumption of the world. In this scenario, what architects are contributing in terms of green building or energy modeling with help of BIM is interesting to have a peep through.

Energy modeling through BIM

To bring the concept of energy efficiency to reality, architectural designs along with structural plans and MEP layouts are clubbed together as single information rich intelligent 3D BIM models of the entire construction project.

This BIM model can exclusively generate energy modeling and sustainability solutions for the structural plan designed and hence architects and engineers can redesign the changes as compatible to the facility. This redesigning greatly relies on the surroundings, atmosphere and building orientation. Software like eQuest and Relux are popularly used across the AEC industry for energy modeling solutions and planning a sustainable building design.

Key contributors for energy conservation in facilities

Architects make their designs by considering location and orientation of the building construction facility. The doors and windows are kept along the wind direction to provide the building with natural ventilation system. This eliminates installation of exhaust fans, resulting in reduced power consumption.

Green building design support services, with help of BIM, generate architectural and structural designs that reduce energy consumption. They also make use of solar, wind and geothermal energy across the facility wherever possible. BIM helps in planning HVAC layouts to operate optimally by considering the shadow of surrounding buildings and duration for the receipt of solar heat.

Moreover the outer walls of building are now made of glass instead of Reinforced Concrete Cement – RCC and bricks to absorb heat by the solar radiations. For high rise buildings, glass claddings are provided on the facades of the building that receive direct sunlight.

In the countries with hot climatic conditions architects design the usage of glass in a manner that air is cooled when it enters the building, what we call solar air-coolers incorporated in the building. Various types of glasses are designed and used that can reflect or absorb the radiations as per the climatic conditions for insulation and warmer inside temperatures, respectively.

Rain water that is muddy can be stored and used for cooling of HVAC equipment and other cooling purposes so that clean water will not have to be pumped from underground to cut down the usage of electricity. However, in recent years, several HVAC components are sensor operated allowing automatic triggering of on and off functions. Solar panels on rooftops also contribute in saving electricity consumption. The architectural designs are made in accordance that these panels receive maximum heat flux and can generate electricity through motors and invertors.

For green buildings not only energy consumption but effect on environment is also considered and contractors as well as the architects promote the design that are compatible for recycled material. Say for instance, for interiors, architects have altered the design for furniture and made more suitable to use Oak veneers which will still give the appearance of Oak. Oak veneer is nothing but a strip of pressboard faced with a white oak surface and its interior is smaller wood chips of variety compressed and mixed with adhesives (epoxy resins) and rolled in strip and cut in several of different sizes.

Green Building Certification and Bodies

Along with the professionals of AEC industry, governments all over the world are busy promoting the use of energy modeling and BIM solutions for facilities. Green Building Council has a worldwide recognition for energy modeling.

In the year of 2000 LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design was introduced by US Green Building Council – USGBC, after witnessing LEED certified commercial buildings saving about 25-30% of energy in comparison to other buildings. Also the LEED office buildings use 17% reduction in site energy. In addition to this, bodies like ESTIDAMA in UAE and others have participated in 2030 vision for sustainable development of buildings. BREEAM the largest sustainability assessment method for infrastructural projects, situated in Europe, has more than five lac certified developments and many other buildings registered for assessment since its establishment three decades ago.

Conclusion

With worldwide efforts to achieve green building council certification and energy modeling, most construction and architectural firms have a niche for using BIM for the ease of work and optimal design solutions. At Hi-Tech CADD Services, we deliver energy modeling solutions with help of BIM and architectural design support for minimum energy consumption across construction projects. Our team of architects truly agree with the fact that no facility is complete or well-designed unless it is optimized with energy modeling solutions.

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