AIA 2008 Presents Plethora of New Products

21 May, 2008 By: Amy Stankiewicz

New solutions designed to help AEC professionals work faster, smarter, and greener debuted at this year's American Institute of Architects Expo.

This year's American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention and Design Exposition offered much in the way of new technologies that promote energy efficiency and overall sustainability. I was particularly impressed to find several companies offering energy analysis plug-ins for various building information modeling (BIM) solutions.

Nemetschek North America unveiled a simulation and analysis tool for the thermal environment. Designed to integrate directly with VectorWorks 2008, ThermoRender enables users to visualize surface temperatures and calculate heat island potential, carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption, and more. ThermoRender was developed by A&A, Nemetschek's Japanese distributor.

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) announced a free building energy and carbon emission tool that works with Autodesk Revit. The VE-Ware plug-in helps designers assess the energy efficiency of a variety of building types by providing instant feedback on energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. VE-Ware also assesses how a building is performing against the Architecture 2030 Challenge benchmark. IES states that it plans to make VE-Ware available to additional BIM software solutions in the coming months.

Integrated Search Solutions
Autodesk highlighted the release of a new search tool that provides direct access to manufacturer-specific content within Revit 2009 and AutoCAD Architecture 2009. Autodesk Seek enables users to import actual manufactured components into their designs to facilitate "true-to-life" energy efficiency and other analyses, according to Dave Bandi, director, business development content search solutions for Autodesk. Bandi added that Autodesk plans to move Seek into its MCAD products in the near future. For more information about Seek, be sure to read Cadalyst's May "1-2-3 Revit" tutorial by Autodesk's Rick Rundell, which explains how this new offering integrates with Revit to enhance building design and analysis.

Also announced on the AIA show floor was v2 of's Web-based code search solution, which provides access to more than 4,000 building codes and standards for the International Code Council, National Fire Protection Association, and ASTM International. The new release allows users to search within codes and standards simultaneously, accessing information from multiple publishers to make code research as comprehensive as possible.

Managing Field-Based Markups
Adapx unveiled Capturx for Autodesk Design Review (ADR), a solution that enables design and building teams to mark up design printouts with a digital pen and then import the data into ADR. Capturx integrates directly with all DWF files and uses a special watermark on the printouts that automatically identifies which file is being marked up. This product is ideal for field work, where printed designs are often used to record design iterations. Users simply dock the digital pen to their PCs to transfer the markups to the DWF files, which can then be layered onto DWG files to manage and share design changes in the digital environment.

This is only a sample of the technologies that were announced at AIA this year. In the next edition of Cadalyst AEC Tech News, contributing editor Heather Livingston will provide more in-depth coverage of the conference itself and the new products highlighted on the exposition floor.

About the Author: Amy Stankiewicz

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