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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Year of the Retrofit in New York [BIM][LEED]

Let's see if I have this right. Banks aren't lending money so developers aren't planning on any new residential or commercial projects. That means no pipeline or prospects for architects and engineers. So, what are you options? Lay everyone off and wait 5 years for the AEC market to revive itself, or do you reinvent your architectural and engineering firms to take advantage of a huge emerging market?

Here's something that kills me. From the very beginning of my venture into showing Revit to architects, so many said how they didn't make the decision to pick their wall types until later. Revit was terrible because you picked a wall type as one of the very first decisions. That went against the current workflow and process. So, lets fast foward to the Green Building years of your life. You need to calculate the energy needs of the building so you need to know the wall types and their R and U values. Oh no. You have to pick the wall type up front. But that's not how we do it. Well, since you insist on continuing to do it the old way, don't bother reading the repost below on where there's huge opportunity now. Better to have no business for the next few years rather than change. Let's not forgot how terribly expensive the Autodesk software is that you'd need to do green building retrofits. Again, you're right. Don't give Autodesk any money and keep using AutoCAD and you'll show them how you're not going to invest in Revit, Green Building Studio & Ecotect (or IESVE.com's green building analysis software). Keep giving PDFs to everyone and don't share the Revit model so they'll have to redo all their work from scratch and have the potential for errors and collisions.

OR....read the post below and see the huge opportunity to reinvent yourself and engage in the opportunity to work on these types of projects after investing in our software, training and implementation on how to do these projects. Of course I'm thrilled that CADD Centers is one of the very few resellers working primarily in this market. I'm still not sure if it's luck or skill that got me pointed in this direction 2 years ago, but I'm glad we made the investment in our staff and our clients. The return on investment of energy savings in 2 or 3 years for doing a retrofit makes it well worth it. Only problem is that AutoCAD doesn't have any intelligence to give you the information you need to do the energy analysis. I'm sure some will say they can and will do it in AutoCAD, but of course, it will take them forever to do it. Stubborn, stubborn fools. I just this second came up with this. AutoCAD is a BIM product. Except AutoCAD's version of BIM is "But it's Manual". Lines, circles and arcs don't create the information necessary to do building performance analysis calculations. Polylines aren't enough. Sure, you can use AutoCAD for your details and annotations, but that's about it for Green Building. I'm not dissing the product, I'm dissing the process. Process vs Profit. The choice is yours.

Repost: http://www.greenbuildinglawupdate.com/2009/10/articles/codes-and-regulations/the-year-of-the-retrofit-in-new-york/ Posted on October 5, 2009 by Chris Cheatham

The other day, a reporter contacted me regarding my prediction that this is the year of the retrofit. I stood by my prediction, pointing towards stimulus funding that supports retrofits of existing buildings. I wish I had been able to point out the $1 billion lending program in New York to retrofit existing buildings that was just announced:

The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a non-profit affordable housing lender, today announced a new public/private partnership to provide $1 billion in construction and mortgage loans to multifamily housing owners for energy efficient upgrades and property retrofits. CPC announced the program together with government chartered mortgage investor Freddie Mac, City and State public employee pension funds, several private financial institutions with Deutsche Bank acting as agent bank, State and City government agencies and utility companies.

I am particularly interested in the fact that this fund was established as a public-private partnership (PPP). PPP's are the wave of the future (PDF) of the construction industry:

PPPs are organizational structures by which the private sector finances, builds, rehabilitates, maintains, and/or operates specific public sector activities in exchange for a contractually specified stream of future returns.

The CPC Program is a perfect example of a PPP. Both public and private entities have come together to collectively provide financing opportunities for a particular sector:

The $1 billion includes $500 million available from Freddie Mac, $300 million from the New York State and New York City public employee pension funds, $150 million from private lenders -- with initial investments of $15 million from Deutsche Bank, $10 million from HSBC, plus additional investments from other major institutions, including up to $10 million from Morgan Stanley -- plus $50 million from CPC participating lending institutions. The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) is providing critical mortgage insurance for the pension funds, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development will also be supporting the initiative through its Participation Loan Program (PLP).

Supporters of the CPC Program hope similar programs are created in other cities. Based on the strong interest in improving energy efficiency and the tight credit market, mimicking the CPC program will be an attractive option for other cities.

Do you think this type of program can work?

Photo: serdir

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