REM: Rapid Energy Modeling

Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco, imaged fr...Image via Wikipedia

Many cities have recently passed legislation to mandate the release of energy consumption information of buildings. Their goal is to have something similar to a food label, miles per gallon equivalent or energy star rating that functions as an incentive for building owners to perform energy upgrades to attract tenants and buyers. I am personally a great believer in choice, and recognize that without information we really don’t have choices. In general, it is truly unacceptable that we know so little about our building stock, specially considering how much money and energy is invested in them.

While the idea is simple, reports have identified various roadblocks and potential solutions (see here). A big piece of the puzzle is to have a method to quickly evaluate among a large portfolio of buildings, which ones may give us the best bang for the buck. We want to identify which ones are the ones that use the most energy and then analyze which alternatives or combination thereof give us a reasonable return on investment.

Autodesk has put forward a workflow they like to refer to as “Rapid Energy Modeling” which is focused exclusively on existing buildings. I highly recommend that you review the white paper they have released which outlines how following three simple steps: Capture, Model and Analyze, can assist the decision making process outlined above. If anyone would like to discuss in more detail please email me.

As an important aside, it would be great if we could actually develop a true “building performance label” that compares not only the energy performance metrics of a building, but also contains scores for “noise performance” (for those who chose to live near busy streets, with loud neighbours or neighbouring construction), seismic resistance, tornado resistance, adaptability etc. This would be a great tool for consumers, investors, facilities managers, insurance companies and would most definitely raise a comprehensive bar for the quality of buildings we deserve. 
Edwin Guerra

About

Edwin is a BIM Consultant focusing on Building Performance and Structural Design with Summit Technologies, a leading provider of BIM consulting services based in Vancouver, BC. Edwin’s extensive knowledge of Revit, Dynamo, Navisworks, Bluebeam, Ecotect, Green Building Studio and Autodesk Vasari, is complemented by a passion for Green Building Design.

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