3D modelling technology helps developers cut down carbon emissions

On a global scale, buildings are responsible for 70% of all electricity consumed and they use up to 40% of raw materials.

Building and construction activities also account for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions.

In the face of mounting pressure from governments and green groups to control its oversized carbon footprint, the building industry is turning to technology providers like Autodesk for a new design solution known as the Building Information Model (BIM).

Denis Branthonne, Autodesk’s regional director (ASEAN & ANZ), said: “The traditional way of designing is: you have an architect who creates drawings and these drawings are then shared with the contractor.

“The problem with this is that it’s not in 2D and you can’t really model your building. It’s difficult to make changes and it’s difficult to understand the environmental impact of what you’re building.

“With the new way of doing things, which is called BIM – building information model which is supported by Autodesk – what you do is create from scratch a model of that building and once you have that model you’re able to experience the model, visualise and simulate it.

“More importantly, you’re able to play with scenarios. You’ll be able to calculate how much energy this building is going to need. How much water, raw materials you’re going to need.

“And by doing this you’re able to optimise the design and truly design a green building.”

The manufacturing sector has been using 3D modelling technology for 15 years.

Now, this technology is increasingly making its mark in the building industry, with the US and Australia leading the way.

Autodesk said the benefits of adopting the Building Information Model far outweigh the costs.

Denis Branthonne said: “What it takes to start on BIM is the software, which is the same price as traditional software….(and) people who are trained to use the software and also fundamentally the way you design. So it’s a change management exercise.

“You have an initial cost of doing this but the benefits are so huge that architectural firms and developers usually get a return on their investments within 6-12 months, by using this new technology.”

It is not just industry players and the environment which stand to benefit.

With this technology, consumers can also measure how much energy and water their flat will consume, for example, and what that would translate to in electricity or water bills.

This will help them make better informed decision when buying an apartment.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 7 Apr 2010

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