Since almost half of greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States come from the built environment, it's clear that reducing the carbon footprint of buildings is critical to reversing climate change. The 2030 Challenge and the rise of LEED and other green building certification systems are visible examples of the building industry's commitment to sustainable design.
The ability to perform accurate whole building energy, water, and carbon emission analyses early in the design process is essential for sustainable building design. This month's article explores how the Autodesk Green Building Studio allows architects — the majority of which are not specially trained in any of these analyses — to easily evaluate the carbon "footprint" of a building design emerging from a Revit BIM workflow using the just-released Green Building Studio plug-in for Revit.
Inline Energy Analysis
The Autodesk Green Building Studio Web service enables whole building energy, water, and carbon emission analyses of a Revit building design that can be performed by architects, from within their own design environment, directly over the Internet. This streamlines the entire analysis process and allows architects to get immediate feedback on their design alternatives — making green design more efficient and cost effective.
Based on the building's size, type, and location (which drives electricity and water usage costs), the Web service determines the appropriate material, construction, system, and equipment defaults by using regional building standards and codes to make intelligent assumptions. Using simple drop-down menus, architects can quickly change any of these settings to define specific aspects of their design: a different building orientation, a lower U-value window glazing, or a 4-pipe fan coil HVAC system, for example.
The Web service uses precise hourly weather data, as well as historical rain data, that are accurate to within 9 miles of any given building site. It also uses emission data for every electric power plant in the United States and includes the broad range of variables needed to assess carbon neutrality.