Earth-Friendly Initiatives

3 May, 2006 By: Michael Dakan

HOK puts sustainability ideas into action; plus, some updates about Autodesk Revit

Coinciding with this year’s Earth Day celebration, HOK (Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum), one of the world's leading AE firms, announced it has purchased sufficient wind-generated energy to power its offices worldwide for the year.  Working with energy broker Renewable Choice Energy, HOK purchased more than 4 million kilowatt-hours of energy, reportedly making it the largest wind-power purchase ever by an architectural firm.

HOK has 1,600 employees in more than 20 offices throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm is consistently ranked at or near the top of AE firms in the U.S. in annual billings.

By purchasing renewable energy credits based exclusively on wind-generated energy, HOK reports it will be able to replace the entire 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity that all its offices consume annually. To learn more about purchasing energy credits, and to find out more about HOK’s efforts toward sustainability in architecture, visit the HOK Web site.

This news from HOK is noteworthy, but not entirely surprising.Quietly, HOK has established itself as a leader in sustainable architecture and for many years has had a group devoted to research and development of sustainability. Long before the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program came about, HOK’s Sustainability Group focused on energy conservation and environmentally sound design principles. HOK employs more than 300 LEED-certified professionals, has completed seven LEED-certified projects and has another 30 projects in the LEED certification process.

Late last year, HOK’s Sustainability Group published the 2nd Edition of its landmark book, HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design (Wiley, $80), which is considered one of the most influential real-world guides to energy conservation and sustainability techniques in architecture. The book is available from the publisher and booksellers nationwide.

Revit Achieves IFC Certification

Autodesk announced last month that its Revit Building 9 BIM (building information modeling) software has achieved a major milestone for a software product: certification by the IAI (Industry Alliance for Interoperability) IFC (industry foundation classes) export function for IFC 2x2 Code Checking View, and IFC 2x2 Coordination View. When full IAI-certified IFC export/import is achieved, Revit Building will expand the ability of architects and other design professionals to communicate design information with other team members in all phases of the design/construction/building management process, and achieve better productivity and efficiency throughout.

Jay Bhatt, vice-president, Autodesk Building Solutions, says Autodesk plans to seek full IFC Stage 1 and Stage 2 import certification across the building industry within the next year. “IFC export from Revit Building will allow architects, designers, and other industry professionals to realize their ideas and further improve productivity across the building industry,” he said.

The Integrated Plan Checking Systems, developed in conjunction with Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority some time ago, will also enable compliance with the U.S. GSA (General Services Administration) IFC delivery requirements, according to Autodesk. Autodesk said that as part of the certification process, it also conducted an IFC pilot with several customers in Singapore and submitted project data as test samples for the future certification submittals.

And, Revit Now Offers Complete BIM for Design

Autodesk also announced the release of products that will now provide a complete building information model in Revit. Revit Systems for MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), along with the previously released Revit Structure 3 and Revit Building 9, will enable a complete, integrated building model that can be used across the entire building design industry and eventually for facilities management.

Revit Systems will be packaged in various combinations with other Autodesk products, such as AutoCAD 2007, to offer complete industry-specific solutions for users. This is great news for users who want to phase into BIM: Users can purchase just what they need throughout the transition process.

“Autodesk is bringing the power of BIM to new disciplines, and now we’ve completed the building information model on the Revit platform, helping drive greater efficiency, productivity and collaboration in the building industry,” Bhatt said.

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