Regarding sustainability, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the most powerful tools in the industry. Sometimes referred to as 6D BIM, this technology may dramatically impact how we live and work by enabling architects, engineers, and contractors to generate more efficient and environmentally responsible structures.
So, how does 6D BIM improve sustainability? In this blog post, we will explore how BIM is improving sustainability across the globe. We will also hear from some of the top experts in the field about how BIM can be used to create more sustainable structures.
1. The Definition of Sustainability and How It Relates to the Built Environment
Sustainability is a term that is often used but not always well understood. The idea of sustainability is to use resources in a way that doesn’t harm or compromise future generations’ ability to meet their own needs. It is about finding ways to live and prosper that do not result in environmental degradation or the depletion of natural resources.
In the context of the built environment, sustainability refers to building and operating structures to minimize adverse environmental impacts and maximize social and economic benefits.
Sustainable buildings are designed and constructed using materials and methods that minimize pollution, conserve energy and water, and reduce waste. They are also built to last, using durable materials that can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.
And because they are designed with people in mind, sustainable buildings provide a comfortable, healthy environment that enhances occupants’ well-being.
Applying sustainability to the built environment results in better buildings for people and the planet.
2. Five Ways in Which 6D BIM Can Be Used To Improve Sustainability in Buildings
There are many ways BIM can be used to improve sustainability in buildings. Here are just a few examples:
- BIM can be used to help identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. By analyzing data such as building orientation, thermal mass, and envelope leakage, BIM can help pinpoint areas where energy consumption can be reduced.
- BIM can be used to optimize daylighting in a building. By simulating different window layouts and orientations, BIM can help find the configuration that admits the most natural light while minimizing solar heat gain.
- BIM can be used to select construction materials with a lower environmental impact. By evaluating the embodied energy and global warming potential of different materials, BIM can help choose products with a smaller ecological footprint.
- BIM can be used to assess the feasibility of renewable energy systems. BIM can help determine whether a particular site is suitable for solar panels or wind turbines by modeling factors such as solar exposure, wind speed, and shading.
- BIM can be used to monitor the performance of sustainable building systems after they’ve been installed. BIM can help verify that sustainable buildings operate as intended by tracking energy use, water consumption, and waste generation.
3. Three 6D BIM Sustainability Case Studies: Creating More Sustainable Structures Around the World ❤️
Istanbul New Airport
Istanbul New Airport is one of the world’s largest airports and one of the most sustainable. The airport was designed using BIM (Building Information Modelling) and features several sustainable design elements, including a rainwater harvesting system that collects and recycles rainwater for use in toilets and irrigation, a greywater treatment plant that recycles water from sinks and showers for use in landscape irrigation, and a solar power system that offsets the airport’s energy consumption by 10%.
The Baku National Stadium
The Baku National Stadium, located in Azerbaijan, is another excellent example of how BIM can be used to create more sustainable buildings. The stadium was built using BIM software and was designed to be as energy efficient as possible. The stadium’s roof is made of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), a highly translucent material that helps reduce energy consumption by allowing natural light to enter the stadium. The stadium also has a rainwater harvesting system that collects and recycles rainwater for use in the stadium’s toilets and irrigation system.
Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road
Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road is a project in London, UK. The project used BIM to create a more sustainable design for the new railway line. One of the project’s main sustainability goals is to reduce energy consumption, and Crossrail is using BIM to help achieve this. The project team uses BIM to model the building envelope’s thermal performance and identify opportunities for improving energy efficiency.
4. The Benefits of Using BIM To Improve Sustainability in Buildings
Buildings account for a large percentage of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, so making them as sustainable as possible is essential. One way to do this is by using BIM, or Building Information Modeling.
BIM is a digital model of a physical building that contains information about its components and how they work together. This information can be used to improve the sustainability of a building in several ways.
For one, BIM can help identify potential areas of improvement in existing buildings. Analyzing the data in a BIM model makes it possible to pinpoint where energy is wasted and make changes to improve efficiency.
How Does BIM Improve Sustainability?
Additionally, BIM can evaluate the environmental impact of different construction materials and methods, allowing builders to make more sustainable choices.
Finally, BIM can help with the ongoing management of a building once it’s completed. By tracking the performance of energy-saving measures over time, facility managers can identify issues and make tweaks to keep the building running as efficiently as possible. In summary, BIM offers several potential benefits for making buildings more sustainable.
5. Insights From Industry Leaders About How BIM Is Being Used To Improve Sustainability
Sustainability considerations are often complex and global in scale. Industry leaders offer insights on how BIM can help design and construction professionals take a more holistic, life-cycle perspective of projects to make more informed, sustainable decisions.
- “[BIM] provides the ability to analyze and compare different building materials and systems for their embodied energy, carbon footprint, etc., as well as their performance over the expected lifespan of the project.” –Kurt Smith, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP BD+C
- “A model-based approach such as BIM enables architects to engage with the impact of their designs directly and better understand the consequences of their choices.” – Natalie Jeremijenko, environmental engineer and artist
- “Environmentally friendly products and services must be designed to last longer with less impact on natural resources. To achieve this goal, companies must integrate LCA methodologies in product development processes as early as possible.” – Marta Dahlig-Ture
Sustainability is a hot topic nowadays. And for good reason – the environment is important!
We need to do our part to take care of the planet, and that means making sustainable choices in everything we do. When it comes to planning your BIM projects, sustainability should be a top priority.
That’s where Plannerly comes in. We’re the leading BIM management platform, and we’re dedicated to helping you make your BIM projects as sustainable as possible. We have a wide range of features that can help you achieve more from your BIM projects and we also offer expert advice and support from our team. So if you’re looking to make your BIM projects more efficient, Plannerly is the perfect partner for you!
Other Interesting Reads
Three Bonus Resources 😃
Here are three additional items that I think you’ll find valuable – 1) a video 🎥 that covers the complete BIM management workflow, 2) some fun BIM conversation starters, and 3) two headline questions I get asked about using BIM for sustainability, as well as my best-attempted answers!
I hope they’re useful! 🙏
1) The Complete BIM Management Workflow
First, here’s a video showing The Complete BIM Management Workflow:
2) Conversations Starters
🗣 Below are four conversations starters that you can use if you feel like getting some BIM conversations started in the office!:
If you’re anything like me, you love talking about Building Information Modeling (BIM). Here are four conversation starters to help get the BIM discussion flowing:
- What was your most challenging BIM project?
This is a great question to get the conversation started because it allows people to share their experiences and learn from each other. It also helps to identify potential areas of improvement for future projects.
- What BIM software do you prefer?
This is a great way to start a discussion about the pros and cons of different software platforms. It can also lead to some interesting insights into how people work with BIM.
- What do you think is the future of BIM?
This question can help to generate some exciting ideas about where the industry is heading and what new technologies will be developed in the future. It’s also a great way to get people thinking about the potential applications of BIM in their own field.
- How do you think BIM will change the construction industry?
This is a great question to get people thinking about the potential impact of BIM on the construction industry as a whole. It can also lead to some interesting discussions asbout!
3) Questions I Often Get Asked
I have also tried to summarize some answers to the most common questions that I get asked about this subject – I hope you can use them too:
What is 6D BIM?
If you’re anything like me, the phrase “6D BIM” probably sounds more like something out of a science fiction novel than something related to sustainability. But believe it or not, 6D BIM is a real thing, and it could have a big impact on the way we build sustainable structures in the future. So what is 6D BIM? Put simply, it’s a way of using Building Information Modeling (BIM) to create models that take into account the environmental impact of a construction project. This means considering things like the embodied energy of materials, the carbon footprint of transportation, and the potential for recycling and reuse. By taking all of these factors into account, 6D BIM can help us to create more sustainable buildings that have a smaller impact on the environment. And that’s something we can all get behind.
What are the benefits of using BIM for sustainability?
1. Improve the energy efficiency by identifying opportunities for daylighting and passive solar design
2. Compare the embodied carbon and choose materials that have a lower environmental impact
3. Assist in the management of waste and water resources
4. Facilitate recycling and reuse of elements can be salvaged at the end of a project’s life
5. Evaluate the life-cycle carbon footprint of a building
6. Plan for future maintenance and repair tracking deterioration and identify potential problem areas
How can BIM be used for sustainability?
Here’s a summary of five ways I see BIM being used for sustainability:
1. BIM can be used to help identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. By analyzing data such as building orientation, thermal mass, and envelope leakage, BIM can help pinpoint areas where energy consumption can be reduced.
2. BIM can be used to optimize daylighting in a building. By simulating different window layouts and orientations, BIM can help find the configuration that admits the most natural light while minimizing solar heat gain.
3. BIM can be used to select construction materials with a lower environmental impact. By evaluating the embodied energy and global warming potential of different materials, BIM can help choose products with a smaller ecological footprint.
4. BIM can be used to assess the feasibility of renewable energy systems. BIM can help determine whether a particular site is suitable for solar panels or wind turbines by modeling factors such as solar exposure, wind speed, and shading.
5. BIM can be used to monitor the performance of sustainable building systems after they’ve been installed. BIM can help verify that sustainable buildings operate as intended by tracking energy use, water consumption, and waste generation.
I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.
Every week we share different perspectives on important BIM topics!