Green BIM: main objectives and the potential of integrating BIM when designing eco-sustainable buildings
The disruptive trend of Green BIM and how it is changing the way buildings are designed. Find out more about the effectiveness of BIM and why it is important when designing eco-sustainable buildings
Today, Green Buildings and Sustainable Architecture are some of the fastest growing building and design concepts with a rising interest and demand to achieve an energy-sustainable society. Have you ever wondered what could be the outcome if sustainable design technologies were to be integrated with BIM processes and methodologies?
This article addresses these questions providing a complete overview of the state-of-the-art in BIM development for sustainability and its new frontier: Green BIM!
What is Green BIM?
In recent years, there has been a continuous increase in awareness regarding the importance of using information technology in improving building performance in terms of design, construction, and operation.
But what is Green BIM?
The term Green building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle. The integration of BIM and sustainability aims at respond effectively to the shortage of energy resources and the challenges of environmental degradation relating to the construction sector.
It is therefore important to keep in mind that sustainability assessments are one of the main dimensions of BIM, and not only refers to determining the building’s energy consumption but also to defining the financial and social aspects too.
Before moving on to analysing the role of BIM applied to sustainable buildings design, let’s have a closer look at the concept of green building.
What’s the meaning of Green Building?
Green building, green architecture and sustainable architecture are basically synonyms and address all methods of conceiving, designing, constructing and subsequently managing buildings to minimize their negative impact on the environment.
Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.
The degree of sustainability achieved by a building can be assessed by means of globally accepted certification protocols and systems, such as LEED, BREEAM, etc. There are a number of features which can make a building “green”. These include:
- the quality and sustainability of the site;
- resource consumption (energy, water, soil and materials);
- environmental impact deriving from CO2 emissions, solid waste, etc.);
- indoor environmental quality (indoor air quality, thermal, hygrometric, acoustic and visual comfort)
- service quality (energy performance, home automation, user safety, etc.).
Some strategies that are important for promoting Green building technologies adoption in the construction industry include:
- favouring areas of intervention that are easily reusable and accessible from an infrastructural point of view;
- using environmentally friendly and non-toxic materials (natural, recycled and/or recyclable materials);
- reducing water requirements through the use of water-efficient collection systems and appliances;
- limiting energy consumption, favouring the use of energy from renewable sources and improving the thermal performance of building;
- installing systems to control and automating systems and technologies in the building.
In order to meet these requirements, it is necessary to start with a careful design phase based on an integrated approach that supports the interactions between the different factors. And this is where the BIM methodology comes into play.
With its ability to efficiently manage all project information, including that relating to the sustainability of the intervention, BIM is clearly the most appropriate process to meet this requirement.
How Building Information Modeling is contributing to green design and construction?
As we could see the adoption of the Green BIM represents an efficient and innovative design method, which allows project sustainability objectives to be managed in an integrated way, through their implementation in the BIM environment.
But how can BIM actually help achieving sustainable building?
Accordingly, the BIM methodology is based on information sharing and collaboration between the different actors involved in the process. This collaborative nature already develops from the preliminary project phase and allows for a complete view of the work to be realised. Therefore, BIM represents a privileged environment to enable the green requirements automatic evaluation and to support decisions about sustainable strategies during the building life cycle.
BIM collaboration platforms enable interoperability between professionals from different disciplines allowing them to evaluate various scenarios and identify the most sustainable design solution in terms of energy, economics, environment, and so on.
Improving energy efficiency, in particular, is one of the main requirements to be met in the field of green building. Energy modelling based on BIM methodology is called Building Energy Modeling (BEM), and aims to integrate aspects of the building’s energy behaviour into the design process.
Through the simulation of energy models, supported by energy certification software, the designer is able to perform analyses at different stages of the process, and predict the building’s energy requirements. This allows optimal design solutions to be adopted with a view to energy saving and sustainability, which will characterise the building during its lifetime.
The combination of BIM and green building allows to deal more efficiently with the analysis of the environmental impact and life cycle of the building. By taking advantage of the potential of information models and the interoperability between different BIM software, it is possible to conduct analyses and simulations which allow the sustainability of the project and compliance with the requirements of international protocols to be verified.
The implementation of Green BIM also plays a significant role during the construction phase and subsequent management of the project. In fact, among the advantages of BIM, is the possibility to plan and manage the realisation of the project in real time, optimising time and costs, and reducing the waste of materials and resources. In the operational phase, thanks to the integration of BIM and intelligent strategies, you can monitor building performance and improve indoor environmental quality.
If you want to start designing sustainable and innovative buildings, we recommend you download this free BIM software trial now and take advantage of all the great Bio-climatic design tools that truly contribute towards the integration of BIM and eco-sustainable design methods..