AEC Tech News #189

14 Feb, 2007 By: Heather Livingston

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Green Building Practices Gaining Wide Acceptance

Survey shows architects are fulfilling clients' demand for energy-efficient, sustainable materials building designs

According to the results of Autodesk’s second annual Green Index Survey, architects are significantly increasing their use of sustainable design practices and expect to continue doing so. That’s hardly surprising news given the current focus on rising energy costs and global climate change. The green building movement is gaining momentum, a fact that’s underscored by the AIA’s recent effort to minimize the environmental impact of American buildings by issuing a challenge to “promote integrated/high performance design including resource conservation resulting in a minimum 50% or greater reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels used to construct and operate new and renovated buildings by the year 2010 and promote further reductions of 10% or more in each of the following 10 years.”

Research Methodology

Conducted by Fleishman-Hillard Research, the Green Index Survey was commissioned to gain a better understanding of the current and future states of green building design. The Internet-based survey polled 150 architects, approximately half of whom are residential architects, during a three-day period last October. The survey asked architects to report on their frequency of use of 16 sustainable practices over the past year; estimate the frequency of use five years ago; and anticipate usage five years from now.

Although the survey offers some helpful insight on the sustainability trend, it does have a few drawbacks. First, the survey is geared toward architects’ use of energy modeling software at the expense of omitting some low-tech sustainable practices. Second, the scoring is not weighted to reflect that more commercial than residential architects are likely to use sustainable technologies, particularly those requiring modeling software. Third, the survey relied largely upon architects’ best estimates instead of hard numbers. Finally, the polled sample is too small to be an accurate representation of the approximately 120,000 licensed architects in the United States. Still, the Green Index Survey does reinforce the rising trend toward green design and spotlight some technologies that are successfully penetrating the AEC market.

Survey Results

According to the report, the green technology that is most readily embraced by architects at present is high-efficiency HVAC systems. Over the past year, 64% of the polled architects specified high-efficiency HVAC on more than half their projects. Only 16% specified high-efficiency HVAC on less than 10% of their projects. This marks a tremendous increase over the 36% of architects who recalled specifying the systems five years ago. And it looks like they plan to increase their use of high-efficiency HVAC systems dramatically in the next five years, with 85% of architects planning to use them on most of their projects, and 59% expecting to specify them on 90% or more of their projects. Read more>>

Cadalyst Labs Review: Pass It On

By Ron LaFon

After investing time and effort in creating basic design drawings, firms usually need to share their work in various ways. Increasingly, the first level of sharing involves other members of the design team who might be dispersed geographically, not to mention the clients who also need to provide their input on design changes. These days, collaborating is an essential part of bringing any project to completion, and creating compact, easily transported electronic documents from CAD designs is an integral part of that process.

I've looked at some of the current applications that are either designed specifically for the electronic exchange of design data or incorporate elements into the underlying design product to facilitate collaboration. These applications vary significantly in their focus, capabilities and price.

Cadalyst sent invitations to several vendors of software for publishing 2D CAD drawings and/or 3D models for design collaboration. This article focuses predominantly on 2D programs, but several of the participating applications also accommodate 3D (to some extent). Seven vendors responded to the invitation. Some vendors didn't have a new version of their product that was ready for the world to see, but others had products that were fully released or far enough along in the beta process to give a good idea of what the forthcoming product release would be like. Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

February 22, 2007
Seattle, Washington
This one-day learning and networking event is designed to recharge your career. Modeled after Autodesk University, course subjects range from AutoCAD to CAD Management to industry-specific tracks such as Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor. More than 15 different classes offered. Read more

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here.

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