Posted by Bhushan Avsatthi on March 14th, 2017
Smart buildings are not the exact and lone requirement. Authorities today, seek smart buildings that incorporate optimal energy consumption and sustainability solutions. The headquarters of San Francisco Public Utility building is a facility that consumes 60% less water, 32% less energy and half the carbon footprint than other buildings of same size. In addition to this, the facility is designed for unique seismic safety features and will save the money of ratepayers over 10 decades.
However, one common misconception attached to such buildings is the high cost involvement, which often restrains owners to opt for smart building design. While this might be true to some extent, the overall cost of such facilities can be lowered by making them energy efficient. This is possible through the adoption of BIM workflows that provide engineers the ability to take informed decisions across the building development process. This informative modeling approach enables project stakeholders to predict the building performance in terms of energy consumption, water harvesting and daylight utilization, before even the ground is broken.
The cost of developing a smart and energy efficient building can be significantly reduced through utilization of BIM tools like Revit and NAVISWORKS that enable MEP engineers to directly integrate MEP designs with other building elements. These tools provide the facility for engineers to detect and resolve clashes upfront, minimizing the possibility of errors during on-site installation.
The reduced amount of RFIs or changer orders directly lowers the associated cost and time. Further, developing MEP 3D models in Revit intelligently integrates important data such as ratings, manufacturer information and cost of each element. This facility allows contractors or owners to quickly interrogate the BIM model and extract BOQs (Bill of Quantities) as and when required. It is possible to quickly determine the overall energy consumption of the building and visualize areas within the building design that can be optimized for better performance.
Further, energy modeling through eQuest can create HVAC zones, electrical and mechanical circuits, and analyze them in a manner that is fit for the structure and at the same time increase the energy savings. With efficient energy utilization, the running and maintenance cost of buildings can be reduced by 30-40%. Besides, a smart, green-building is likely to get tax rebates from the government, which further helps in balancing the cost involved in the development of smart buildings.
With the integration of 7D BIM, the cost of ownership can be lowered further, as it facilitates optimal maintenance of building facilities. With optimized and accurate information on maintaining critical systems and components within the building, owners can eliminate the cost involved in material wastage, manpower and time. BIM for facility management thus ensures a smooth building operation, while keeping the costs to minimum.
BIM thus creates a virtual sustainable life cycle right from the conceptual design stage to construction and thereafter for maintenance. Energy modeling and BIM processes can together provide an opportunity to develop cost-effective smart buildings by delivering profit through energy savings and low maintenance costs. BIM as such, provides a room for AEC fraternity to help facility owners realize the potential of integrating sustainability to smart buildings in order to ensure better returns on investment.
About Author: Bhushan Avsatthi is a BIM expert, a certified Sustainable Building advisor, and an associate director with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads a team of architects, Structural & MEP engineers, LEED consultants and energy modelers. Bhushan strives to make his organization a cohesive resource for sustainable building design. He regularly participates in green initiatives like tree plantations, and promotes using bicycles for everyday commute.
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