Archive for category LEED

The Whole Building and nothing but the Whole Building : BIM

When speaking of the Built Environment, many people, including myself take an economic impact view of the building, that is existing buildings take up the majority of resources so how can we design/retorofit these things to be more efficient, more efficient means less consumption, means less operating costs all good things.  So being late August and having the opportunity to read exciting things like, The Case Study of CALSTRS Headquarters, West Sacramento CA you are reminded of the more holistic approach to building design.  The building was awarded LEED Gold and is in the process of qualifying for LEED EBOM (Existing Building Operating and Maintenance) so they compare it to other buildings in energy performance, however, also taken into account were the following factors:


Thermal comfort and overcooling

Speech privacy

Occupant controls for energy and comfort

Operator/building controls

Constituent input Landscaping

So how about taking into account the comfort and happiness of the occupants.  I have to say “speech privacy” was not in my list of concerns until I read it about it here, but noticing that “the CalSTRS building has a smaller amount of square footage per occupant than the average for office building(s)” in this survey I guess it should not come as a surprise. There was also a complaint of  ‘over air conditioning’ on the North Side of the building.  I would have to imagine that controls are in place to manage North/South orientation and the design of HVAC systems, if not that would seem to be glaring oversight during the design of the system and building since they would essentially be two different environments.  However, it seems to me if you can quantify happiness, can you build it into design software?  Honestly, with the advent of software, any software, it’s not only to automate tasks, but also get the knowledge of users into the software, hence making everyone more productive.  So if you can put variables in like # of occupants into the design, assigning them SF can we have software suggest break out room for speech privacy, maybe this stuff is automated and in software and I am too dense to have discovered it, hell for all I know it’s a sub menu in Revit I have not discovered but automating what could be common sense, now that would be something.

“Hey Jim what’s up with putting a smiling cow image on this blog post?”

A)  That’s a very cool picture

B) I was thinking happy environment, happy people and in this case happy environment, happy cow.

The study was conducted and published by the folks at the aptly titled, CBE (Center for the Built Environment) at UCAL Berkeley.


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Government Green : Sustainable Retrofits Redux : #BIM #AIA #LEED

So post yesterday was how I and I am sure everyone is starting get bombarded with this message so today in my inbox from USGBC I get these stats.

  • Much of the $787 billion in federal stimulus money supports green retrofits of publicly owned buildings at the local, state and federal levels.
  • The federal government alone owns and operates some 500,000 buildings.
  • The federal government has a 28 percent greenhouse gas reduction target for federal operations by 2020.
  • 30 percent of all LEED projects are government-owned

And they are holding the USGBC 2010 Federal Summit, May 18-19 2010 in DC

Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center -   Washington, DC

Next thing I will look into are the top 10 items in sustainable retrofits.  As always input welcome.


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Building Green with BIM : Existing Conditions

I wondered ho much of the green movement would get sidelined due to the tanking economy, and how much acceleration LEED certified projects will continue to get.   Regardless of LEED though going green is proving to be cost effective, so effect on the bottom line are always going to get noticed.  BIM allows option analysis from an energy perspective.   You can perform solar analysis, heat gain/loss, options to replace glass with low-e, double paned, or triple paned, and run your ROI on a project by project basis.  What is the payback by re insulating  or  upgrading the power plant is much easier calculated with a BIM.  A recent article by Karl Heitman in the REournal goes on to say that you need to take into account the “embodied energy” in a building and that it would take 75 years of LEED Platinum Certified Building to repay the loss of tearing it down.  So need to refit and reuse, create great projects with your existing conditions.

How you can capture existing conditions in a BIM format?  So far, not so easy.


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