June 12, 2006
Sustainable Facilities Design and Operations
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to AECWeekly! Sustainable Design Green building.

These two terms are sometimes used synonymously and are just now beginning to command a presence in the area of AEC design and construction. In particular, great interest is coming from the facilities industry.

According to the United States Department of Energy, (from an Autodesk press release) constructing and maintaining buildings consumes 65.2% of the electricity and 36% of the primary energy resources in the United States.

Also, AECCafe's new Discussion Boards include topics such as User News and Reviews, Bentley and Autodesk. Post your questions or concerns on these boards and help to get some discussions going.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Announcements, Contract Awards, Awards, People, New Products, and Upcoming Events.

AECWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think.

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Sustainable Facilities Design and Operations

by Susan Smith

Sustainable Design. Green building.

These two terms are sometimes used synonymously and are just now beginning to command a presence in the area of AEC design and construction. In particular, great interest is coming from the facilities industry.

According to the United States Department of Energy, (from an Autodesk press release) constructing and maintaining buildings consumes 65.2% of the electricity and 36% of the primary energy resources in the United States.

In speaking with Michael Owens, director of production for the Sustainable Facilities Summit, to be held in San Diego August 13-15th, I learned that sustainable design is becoming a foremost concern to companies such as Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Ford Motor Company, as well as to health organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, New York Presbyterian Healthcare system, and city governments such as City of New York Department of Design and Construction, City of Seattle, and school districts such as Elk River School District in Minnesota, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, universities such as Duke University and University of Denver.

These are among the “peer presenters” at the Summit, along with the
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), known for their LEED certification, which is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Also presenting are the General Services Administration (GSA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, among others. Pharma companies such as Pfizer are also interested in implementing green design.

Topics in the program include a discussion of whether to adopt LEED certification standards or not, developing a sustainability master plan, benchmarking high performance buildings, site selection and analysis for green buildings, sourcing and utilizing sustainable building materials for your projects, maximizing water efficiency, energy performance contracing, and exploring various forms of renewable energy.

The Software Side of Sustainable

Processes employed for achieving many of these goals involve the use of software tools such as online project management software, according to Owens. “Those people overseeing large construction projects across the nation or the globe, are relying on online project management software, not for sustainable specifically, but for managing and streamlining processes.”

Interestingly, Autodesk, Inc. recently announced its sponsorship of a new PBS television series about sustainable design titled "design: e2" (The Economics of Being Environmentally Conscious). Produced by kontentreal and narrated by Brad Pitt, the series is scheduled to air on PBS stations beginning in June 2006. Also, Autodesk has unveiled its
Sustainability Center which will serve as a resource on the role of technology in sustainable design and profile industry leaders from manufacturing, building and infrastructure who are realizing their sustainable ideas.

Autodesk has also developed the 2005 Autodesk Green Index, an annual study of the implementation of green design principals by practicing architects, indicated that the use of sustainable design principles has grown 50 percent since 2000, and estimates that it will increase 100 percent by 2010.

The advent of building information modeling software (BIM) spearheaded by Graphisoft but embraced by all major CAD vendors now, will facilitate lifecycle analysis of the design, building and operations of sustainable building development.

But so far, there has not been much software developed specifically to address sustainable building. A software called ResCheck Analysis is used to plan analysis for conformance to energy codes. NIST has developed a tool called Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) which does lifecycle analysis of environmental impacts in 10 categories: global warming, acid rain, ecological toxicity, eutrophication, indoor air quality, ozone depletion, smog, solid waste, resource depletion.


Owens said that the program for the Sustainable Facilities Summit deals with not only the design and construction side but also operating those buildings as well. They also qualify the people who are attending the event.

The U.S. Green Building Council endorses certain vendors providing materials and other services. If the vendors are not under the rating of the Leed rating system, they don't qualify. “There is confusion as to what materials are deemed green and also the process of becoming certified is constantly evolving,” said Owens.

The Summit is expected to attract between 200-300 attendees and there is a cap on the number who can attend, unlike with other conferences. The venue involves mostly panel and roundtable discussion and focuses on peer experiences.

Challenges to adoption of software for sustainable building are cost and ease of use, according to Owens, certainly not unheard of in the AEC industry. Hopefully, the availability of products such as
DWF products from Autodesk, and
Google's SketchUp will help bring designs to more stakeholders more quickly and without requiring that users learn complicated software programs. These technologies may hasten the development of new tools to specifically address issues such as assessing materials, lighting, energy, toxicity, environmental impact, air quality and site selection for buildings as well as other infrastructure.


Bentley Plant story Correction: In last week's Industry News story it was incorrectly reported that the XMLpLant was a robust exchange mechanism between PlantSpace and PDF. The correct text should state “between PlantSpace and PDS,” as follows:

XMLpLant is an XML format which combines the data structure of ISO15926 and the 3D graphics elements of the STEP standards, ISO10300. XMLpLant is a very robust exchange mechanism, between PlantSpace and PDS, and taking both the graphics and the data of AutoPLANT and PlantSpace. XMLpLant is also a very robust transport mechanism for handling complex 3D models in the plant industry. Bentley and AVEVA have adopted it. Hatch, a customer is using XMLpLant to do project in PDF and PlantSpace and fully exchange models between the two.


Autodesk, Inc. announced that the installed base of Autodesk Revit Building software now exceeds 100,000 seats, due to the speed with which architects and designers around the world are making the move to building information modeling (BIM). Autodesk Revit Building, built specifically for BIM, lets architects and designers work on buildings holistically, rather than in terms of separate floor plans, sections and elevations. With over 100,000 users, it has become one of the most widely adopted solutions for BIM in the building industry

Autodesk, Inc. announced that visual effects studio Double Negative turned to Autodesk technology in order to deliver stunning computer-generated imagery for the new thriller The Da Vinci Code. From car crashes to elaborate tombs, Double Negative used Autodesk Maya 3D animation software to realize creative ideas for 80 of the film's shots.

Representatives from 10 SHAKER clients met with SHAKER's equipment management experts and software developers on May 18, 2006 to review the COINS Ti Equipment Management Module (EQ) and make recommendations for its continuing development. During this successful meeting, the Focus Group validated SHAKER's design goals for COINS Ti EQ and made many suggestions to enhance its usability, performance, and overall appearance.

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