AEC Tech News (#241)

10 Dec, 2008

Companies Respond to Green Demand

Autodesk makes a splash and Bentley tests the water at Greenbuild Conference.

By Heather Livingston

Heather Livingston photo

Again, this year, Autodesk loudly proclaimed its presence at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Boston, November 19-21. Although the company’s offerings were less splashy than last year’s sustainability dashboard concept, they still managed to pack in a lot of bang for the three-day buck. Though the dashboard has not made it into production (and likely won’t as introduced, according to Jay Bhatt, senior vice-president, AEC Solutions), elements of it have been integrated into the Revit package and continue to inform Autodesk’s design strategies. Here, I’ll update you on their doings, and on Bentley’s first appearance at Greenbuild and what they have planned for early 2009.

During the week of Greenbuild, Autodesk was busily posting press releases on its sustainability initiatives, including the 2008 Green Index, a new Harris Interactive poll of Americans’ awareness of the impact of buildings on CO2 emissions; a new partnership with The Biomimicry Institute; and an update on its Waltham, Massachusetts, headquarters, the first IPD project in New England and the second for the company.

The Polls
The two polls released during Greenbuild offer both good and bad news regarding the building profession. First, the good news: The Autodesk/American Institute of Architects 2008 Green Index survey, a polling of AIA members that measures how architects are implementing sustainable design, revealed that 42% of architects report clients asking for green building elements on a majority of their projects, with 47% of clients actually implementing green building elements on their projects. That’s an increase of 15% from 2007.

Client demand remains the leading driver for green building, with 66% of surveyed architects citing it as the primary influence on their practice of green building. Architects believe the primary reasons their clients are asking for green buildings are reduced operating costs (60%), marketing (52%), and market demand (21%, up from 10% in the 2007 survey). Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Vermont-based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology. She can be reached at


Cadalyst Labs Review: IES Virtual Environment 5.9

By Jerry Laiserin

Back in the good old days, when energy costs hovered around $30 per barrel of petroleum, I was a panelist in a round-table discussion about the future of model-based building design software. A question arose concerning cultural and organizational changes that would be necessary for model-based building design processes to become more widely adopted. Expected answers among the panelists concerned issues such as reallocation of risks and rewards among AEC project participants, shifts in legal frameworks for design and construction contracts and dispute resolution, and more collaborative and better integrated project delivery methods. My response, offered only half in jest, was "$60-a-barrel oil."

As I'd intended, my remark evoked general laughter among attendees — initially at the sheer absurdity and implausibility of oil costs ever soaring that high. But the laughter also contained a nervous undercurrent of recognition that any significant shift in the economics of energy or construction surely would render untenable and nonviable the traditional way of doing AEC business — what I call legacy design and construction (LDC), as opposed to model-based virtual design and construction (VDC). Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Webinar: Automated Code Checking of BIMs in an e-Government Environment
November 16, 2008
2 p.m. ET
Presented by the Construction Specifications Institute, this webinar will discuss how initiatives such as building information modeling will change the design, construction, and approval of buildings with respect to building codes, standards, and regulations. Read more »

AIA National Convention and Design Exposition
April 30-May 2, 2009
San Francisco, California
Explore this year's convention theme, The Power of Diversity: Practice in a Complex World, with continuing education sessions and professional tours highlighting topics such as globalization of practice, and more. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on