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Sustainability and BIM

The Role of Building Information Modeling to
Enhance Energy Efficiency Analysis

University of Salford – School of Built Environment
Student name: Ahmad Naser Alsaadi
Roll number: @00312494
Module name: BIM Theory and Practice
Program of study: MSc BIM and Integrated Design

Later the process of energy simulation and case study will be presented. These tools and approach are utilized in design. Within AEC industrial and historical context. 2008) and 75% (NAVARO. this matter leads the user to not depend on analysis program. It starts with overall explanation about the relationship between BIM and energy analysis. The most advanced feature of these tools is delivering persistent and immediate feedback with great margin from the traditional tools. Assef.Introduction During last two decades. Gao. Also its presents a progressive process of energy analysis to achieve the efficient performance buildings through Building Information Modelling and evaluate the energy performance of design alternatives in case study. 2009). Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry are now adopting a similar tools and approach in building design (Autodesk. energy efficiency and other building systems at different levels driving the building technology towards a digital epoch (Che. 2009). It is found that achieving an efficient energy design of buildings is the way to enhance sustainability and economic saving by BIM system and tools. then definition of energy modelling. The built environment need of generating the sustainable buildings and enhancing the environmental conscious is no longer a noble desire. Furthermore. 2 . 1. Hodges adds that globalization and increasing the expectations of clients are forcing the industry professionals to design projects in more sustainability and energy efficiency. the design in fields of movie and music production. (Dorta. This paper describes the relationship between BIM and energy analysis and its role as a regime to run the process. which is different from the conventional process of using CAD software. but it is an urgent requirement. 2013).Abstract The energy analysis was too complex and expensive process. How can BIM as approach to facilitate and improve the energy efficiency of design building? The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the role of BIM to optimize building energy performance and provide an understanding of how the BIM system operates the whole energy simulation process. airplanes and machinery have been developed significantly by information technology. However. management. The difficulties of complexity and cost have been exceeded through the advance of energy applications which are many of them became free and easy to access with quick results and immediate feedback. structure. usually delayed to the end of the design. This approach. durability. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). but also profitable. Chen & Nguyen. Architecture. Contero & Rufino. 2010). BIM is a i tegrated pro ess hi h is used to fa ilitate the e ha ge of desig a d construction information to proje t parti ipa ts Moakher & Pi plikar. . which means that energy efficiency is not only sustainable. there are various energy applications with different plug-ins which provide dissimilar result. mentioned different studies conclude that improving buildings energy performance leads to economic saving between 30% (IDAE. it has been unimportant to accurately understand the progressive process of energy efficiency and sustainable design (Hodges. is known as Building Information Modelli g BIM . 2005). the main source of greenhouse emission in USA is buildings.

During design and construction. spaces. all building data such as materials.Literature Review 2-1. The different stakeholders of the design and construction team. In addition. generating technologies. Ki & Je i ek. Construction) industry field that BIM is no more than software. energy develop their own specific models in separate way. 2009). policies that creating a methodology to manage data and design systems in digital format throughout the building life ( Succar. Generally. While. as activity (is the act of generating a building information model) or a system (the framework structured to manage and coordinate the work and communication of the different stakeholders which maximize the efficiency and quality). intelligent and comprehensive one model (Meridian. a BIM model is a digital represe tatio of the proje t’s fu tio al a d ph si al features “tu pf. MEP. and that return to the confusion between the BIM process and BIM model. schedules and cost estimators. Kim & Jenicek. the energy performance. because each BIM tool has a propriety data structures for delivering the requested data. chosen systems of design. architecture. Engineering. structure. insert or develop information during the process (Stumpf. 2011). construction and operation of a facility during its life-cycle (Stumpf. 2007) show that BIM acronym can be referred by several aspects. NIBS. 3 Figure 1 Data exchange between stakeholders in BIM . Cantero & Rufino. 2011). BIM is a system of planning. as product (means a data set that structured to describe a building). The fundamental premise of this generated model is collaboration by multidiscipline at different stages of the facility life-cycle to extract. Kim & Jenicek. This necessary collaboration cannot found without the availability of open and neutral specification of digital data format represented by the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). Building Information Modelling is a combination of interacting processes. geometric information.BIM and Energy Analysis There is a huge misconception of BIM in AEC (Architectural.2. Asset. facility are required to be accessible in order to evaluate the building various performance for instance. (Dorta. 2013. 2008). Krygiel and Nies (2008) mentioned that BIM model is a grammatically incorrect term commonly refers to the digital models generated by software under the BIM process. . and then integrate these models into rich. for example.

such as houses. if the uildi g’s south ele atio has a lot of widows. in this case. type of building. via internet after export the model from the generator tool (Revit) as gbXML format or upload it directly through Revit software. shops. Then after a few minutes the results will obtain containing statistics. but also to achieve the long term objectives of climate strategy by 2050 as set down in low carbon economy roadmap (European commission. the building will need more air-condition if the sun shading devices was inefficient. For e a ple. 2-2- Energy modelling One of the most essential factors to e ha e the proje t sustai a ilit is to u dersta d a uildi g’s energy requirements. 2012). 2012). All these findings based on the data attached to the submitted model. 2013. As a result. design and evaluate and efficient energy performance is very limited and painful. COM. material information. Kumar (2008). energy and day lighting analysis programs which have been developing for years. account for 40% of world energy consumption and responsible for cause 36% of greenhouse emissions (European commission. many of followed approaches and solutions within building different systems can affect the e erg use dire tl . 4 . etc. consumption and other information related to energy with recommendation to enhance the design (Mokher & Pimplikar. that required analysis. 2012). 2008). such as. Furthermore. 2008). under traditional Cad approach. with BIM tools such as Revit and Green Building Studio (GBS) the energy analysis process became simple. 2011). analysis and assessment of building performance have great opportunities offered by the advent of BIM and through its software tools (Mokher & Pimplikar. the designer must take into account all energy related items and exploring the energy use in the building during the design stage and that is why it is urgent to use the BIM process and its technology of energy simulation tools (Krygiel & Nies. Improving the buildings energy performance is inevitable. make decisions during the design early stage. Furthermore. location climate. it will provide enough natural light and minimize the electric illumination need. This shows in the following table. advanced energy analysis is crucial to design strategies to minimize the energy consumption and assist in design energyefficiency. 2005). mostly used at late stage of the desig pro ess he the proje t’s hara teristi s a ot e changed (Mokher & Pimplikar. but rarely adopted by the design firms (Autodesk. not only obtain the target of EU towards Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB) by 2020. set the most suitable energy system and achieve the energy efficiency for the project. In particular. However. All the designer needs is visit the GBS web service to register a d do load the Gree Buildi g “tudio progra i to his dri er to su it the proje t’s odel. Now. offices and other functionalities. also added an obvious benefit that Building Information Modelling through the interoperability between its tools offers the opportunity of export the digital models of the building to energy analysis software without the need of recreate it from scratch. Such as. include local standards. These simulation environments work through coupling the climatological information with building loads.Generally. A number of issues contribute to determine the building energy needs and that simply does not related to people behaviour in energy consumption. 2013. Typically considered time-consuming and costly process that needs an intensive work to regenerate the building model in order to analysis it (Kumar. Buildings. 2010). As a result. European commission. within this process the designer can modify his model and resubmit it again in order to. the required calculation elements by (Energy Performance of Building Directive) (International Energy Agency. 2008).

It must be realized that data received from analysis of energy model is critical to recognize its effect on the design. mechanical engineer and other team members. 2005). it can be tedious and time consuming if not done properly (Miller. it is essential to understand what results anticipated from energy analysis in different design stages and how to implement it in design formation. The designer should never consider the energy findings as a gospel. but the causes of these results should be identified (Krygiel & Nies. enhances the analysis process. According to Krygiel & Nies (2008). or increasing the glass surfaces on the south facade can optimize the day lighting. 2008). through the integrated approach. Apply the whole BIM approach. For instance. based on the result gained from analysis at the conceptual phase. So. however. if the team members are unfamiliar with interpreting the data of energy analysis. the analysis data would be used as comparative tool to enhance decisions making instead of focusing to measure the accuracy of loads information. The combination between energy analysis and BIM can maximize the accuracy and efficiency. energy modelling and the process of integrated team is urgent to achieve the highperformance energy and specified consumption goals (Cho. 2010). A proper application for energy simulation. 2008). the energy model integrates all these elements to anticipate the demands of energy in order to set the most appropriate HVAC system and other related parameters of the building components based on an accurate energy needs and understanding the possible design impact on the global environment. because many decisions are still undecided at the earlier stages of design or probably will change in the future (Krygiel & Nies. Energy analysis findings can be linked with building massing research to make a decision that determines the location of the building within the site at the inception stages of the design (Autodesk. the designer might find that tall building with small footprint overcomes options with large built area and low elevations.Table 1 the required calculation elements of EPBD Through BIM. 2-3- Applying BIM for Energy Analysis Using BIM approach. while it leads to an increase in energy demands to set a appropriate air-condition system. . the analysis through BIM needs the following tools to run energy modelling:    5 The project BIM model. Chen & Woo). During the early design phase. the full collaboration between the energy analyst.

the process does not require all details and information that related to energy determined. and size. Step three is an improvement process by using independent software to ensure the validation of energy analysis results and support the essential needs. Kim & Jenicek. shape. Challenges may emerge here because typically any project has resources. Figure 2 The steps of energy modelling process step one determines the energy requirements of the project. In some cases. outlined three different steps in the process of energy modelling.2-4- Run the energy modelling process 2-4-1. The first stage is related to building envelope and orientation. An example activity of this process is the repeated 6 . materials. Step two divides the process of energy modelling in two stages. but some basic conditions have to be established. concept and detailed design. while the later is related to building elements and details such as. (Stumpf. all project parties have to contribute in identifying the project needs alternative energy solution under the BIM approach and during the planning phase. To pass this step. as shown in figure 2. 2011). specific cost target and schedules.BIM model The energy modelling needs a well-built solid model in order to be successful.

each space needs to be bounded by walls. Similar but expanded key elements stated by Krygiel & Nies (2008). (Mokher & Pimplikar. for five tools presented as a comparision. Stumpf. project location. before export the gbXML file in Revit. 2011).  Room volumes It can be said that all major BIM programs (Revit. the designer must be certain about the existence of the following points.Energy modelling applications Now.export of uildi g’s odel u til a hie e the e erg goals or usi g comparison the findings. 2008). many data needs to be addressed such as. However what is important to the process is to create and export a three dimensional bounded spaces. the BIM model has all needed energy information and ready to import as a gbXML into energy application. should be captured and transferred from the BIM model generator tool to the energy analysis application through the ability of export a digital model format such as gbXML as mentioned before. ensure that walls touches the floors and roofs and building geometry must surround all areas required to analysis ( Krygiel & Nies. building type and calculate the room volumes. building envelope. while ArchiCAD using Zoon tool) (Stumpf. The minor difference between them is related to room volume ( Revit bound the spaces by using Room Tag. After checking these three points. noted that energy loads a e esti ated a d al ulated ased o uildi g’s e elope hara teristi s i do s. floors and roofs must be included within the model. Bently. 2008) and (Pallapalli. For instance. 7 . uildi g orientation and thermal zone. 2010).  Building’s envelope Although some of these following sound clear in concept. the project phase.  Project location Climate is the most important factor to determine the building exterior loads. roofs and floors. The designer has to define site properties within the modelling application. 2012). ore tha o e a al sis progra for There are a few basic conditions should be included within the model structure to ensure that energy process run correctly and get the proper results. room volumes and any specific settings of the application. doors . First of all. skills of user or time availability. Kim & Jenicek. (Kumar. building zip code and location. ArchiCAD) work in similar approach to export gbXML file. 2008). 2-4-2. The following data are taken from ( Krygiel & Nies. energy analysis cannot run without establishing an accurate envelope such as. Choosing the proper analysis tool depends on many factors for example. Kim & Jenicek (2011).  Specific setting of the application Each program has its specific requirements to run the analysis process.

The survey details are not high. HVAC. but Autodesk about to build API-level integration between them. Free service.  Saving the IES files in many of separate files such as. It has limited choices. ventilation.Application type  IES<VE> Integrated Environment Solution   Advantages  Present a high level of accuracy and interoperability with BIM  Operate the whole environmental series (analysis. climate data). HVAC. climate data). the result will be inaccurate. Relatively expensive.. Table 2 comparison between most common analysis applications 8 . Disadvantages  Complex for the user. Easy to run and use.. Has a great ability for analysis (heat loads. light. if the building does not suitable for these options. Free tool.  Ecotect      eQUEST   Design Builder  Green Building Studio     It has a friendly graphical interface. Has the ability for energy simulation including (heat loads.etc. The ability to import from CAD programs. airflow analysis). Produce annual and peak loads. Does not have the ability to simulate the heat and cold storage that gained seasonally. CFDs). Cannot estimate the thermal comfort and analysis the natural ventilation. Produce quick graphical simulation for building energy performance.  The inability to import a large number of gbXML. The application is supported with other tools (day lighting. weather.       Cannot export geometry to programs.  It has challenges with importing. exporting BIM model directly depends on program used for example Revit.  Expensive comparing with relative tools. Has the ability to export and import models. day lighting. cfd.

Green Building Studio service was used in this analysis after export the project BIM model as gbXML from Revit. The example project has two alternatives for an energy comparison. mentioned the following example which provides a good illustration in terms of comparing and choosing the most appropriate option. shown in figure 3. After a few minutes the result. design 1: does not include sunshades. Figure 3 a result of comparison between two BIM models was run in GBS 9 . design 2: includes sunshades.2-4-3.Optimizing the energy use This process occurs during the operation of energy analysis to compare between design options. came back to prove that shaded option will reduce the life-cycle energy cost. The design aims to supply a saving in cost throughout the building life-cycle which justifies the extra cost of installing the shades to the project. Optimizing the energy use relies on realizing the relative energy that affect the building performance. Krygiel & Nies (2008).

energy analysis considered as a time consuming because the process of re-input all data of the project to generate the energy result. Project standards: ASHRAE 90. Green Building Studio GBS and eQUEST. North Carolina. BIM tools: Revit. held at the earliest stage and for four days. Project challenges: firstly.general information Project name and location: Community Emergency Service Station (CESS) at Fort Bragg. 10 .Energy modelling process The process divided into two sub-processes based on project phases:   The macro-level: focusing on selecting the most appropriate shape.1-2004. 2-5-2. size. Figure 4 CESS Building BIM model. Project requirements: A charrette process. 2011) 2-5-1. Project size: 8. it was important to supply the stakeholders with result of energy analysis at the beginning and during the charrette. Revit MEP. Project facilities: police services.300 square feet. Secondly.2 Platinum rating. orientation. Project objective: achieve LEED-NC 2. ambulance and fire fighting.2-5- Case study of CESS Building (Stumpf. The micro-level: This related to building details such as. used to understand the parti ipa ts’ interests. Kim & Jenicek. Comparison factor: Annual energy cost. generate solutions and specify the project target. material of the envelope and energy systems of the building.

11 . walls (15). see figure 6 Six groups of building elements were considered in analysis using GBS after export the BIM model as gbXML from Revit MEP.Detailed design phase (micro-level). The analysis found the highest energy cost will be generated when the orientation becomes 120 degree.2-5-2-1. glazing (17). So. C) Single building with one storey. lighting (4) and lighting control (3). roof (20). the C option was the chosen alternative. In order to meet the architect request the annual energy cost increased only 75$.Estimating the three options annual cost of energy in order to choose the most efficient envelope. HVAC (10 options). the lowest impact was the lighting control. Based on a functional requirement. Step3. Figure 5 concept phase process (macro-level) 2-5-2-2.Concept phase (macro-level). See figure 5 Step1. An important point to mention that the summer cooling is the most dominant load for the building which depends on the project location. The result showed that the greatest effect on annual energy cost was the HVAC options. the architect wanted a 15 degree rotation for the part of apparatus room to facilitate the vehicles movement. while the energy cost will be very low if the building long axis face the south. which considered a small amount to meet such important functional requirement. B) Single building with two storeys. according to analysis had been done the mechanical engineer. However.Considering the best orientation to decrease energy needs.The architect developed three alternatives: A) Two separate buildings. Step2.

1-2004 with 6% difference while the proposed was 15. 2-5-4. The findings were validated according to ASHRAE 90. 12 .1-2004 annual energy cost standards. Even the most expert mechanical engineers cannot analyse the energy performance perfectly without the efforts of other team members. which shows that baseline model was successful to achieve ASHRAE 90.lesson learned Achieving an optimal energy design needs a collaborative and innovative strategies for design and analysis can be run by BIM. that created by energy analysis experts using GBS and eQUEST to validate the CESS building model. BIM supplies the analysis phases with intelligent data for direct use.5%.Figure 6 detailed design phase (micro-level) 2-5-3. As a result the difference between baseline model and proposed model was about 35-40% at the confidence level of 80-85%.Optimizing process A comparison between the baseline model and proposed design model.

So. The ability of BIM tools to produce a basic model. location climate and orientation can maximize the building energy performance. That can be happened by the capabilities of energy software such as.3. The energy tools capabilities needs to be combined into sustainable design and BIM regime to achieve the specified energy goals. but it should be compared with other applications results. Furthermore. 13 .Conclusion and recommendations Considering building energy aspects and efficient performance are become the trend to achieve sustainable design which is now most required because of the growing emphasis on environmental conscious. This paper has presented the role of BIM as approach to run and manage the energy analysis process. The integration between BIM concept and environmental parameters such as. to specify the most efficient energy systems of the buildings. due to importance of this topic for the AEC industry and environment needs. Green Building Studio. However. while during the detailed level. Finally. to determine the most appropriate options. a case study has been examined to explore how energy design alternatives can be optimized and compared by BIM tools to obtain efficiency. in the beginning to configure the building shape and orientation. the analysis process requires from project participants to do not completely rely on the result gained from one application. GBS and Ecotect which facilitate the professio als’ access and quick feedback. it provided an overall demonstration about the progressive process of the energy simulation. it is valuable to standardise the energy simulation process under BIM system as a workflow routine in future studies in order to optimize the building energy performance. is the key success of building performance analysis through energy tools. for example. according to the project identified goals and the chosen energy standards. that has all required energy data. Using the energy analysis applications under the BIM approach during the early stage of design would generate efficient energy buildings. it is recommended to use the energy programs. The most important role of energy tools during any level of design phase is comparing between design alternatives. Also.

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