Posts Tagged analysis

Deep Analytics Coming to AEC : Data Wants To Be Free. #BIM #XML #AEC

gorilla thoughtSo with Google announcement of Project Genie : Vannevar Technologies and with IBM opening Watson to the programming community one has to believe that deep analytics is coming to the AEC industry.  Not silo attempts by industry leaders.  It’s got to get easier to run energy analytics, design options, facility management…integrated in a way that is push button easy, and as anyone in the industry can attest we are still far from push button easy.  However, getting thousands of people, the collective intelligence of the programming community solving problems.  Getting data centralized, performance feedback, learning from that virtuous circle, that is exciting stuff.

Data is the foundation of all of this, without the data, we have nothing to run with.  For the AEC environment, it’s the building whether it’s in the design phase, or most likely, already operating.  How long will the data reside in proprietary formats?  How long is that a viable business model?  We will see that companies that can provide the most value with the data start to thrive.  Hence the opening up of Watson as a platform and the fact that Google is coming to the AEC marketplace shows there is some seismic shifts in store.  I’ve written before that getting the AEC crowd to change their stripes, adopt new technologies, can be difficult, however it’s really going to be Autodesk 360, and what they can offer you in house vs. the world.  There has been talk of the ICFxml gbXML  or ways to have BIMs in an open environment.  This may very well be the tipping point.

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Building Energy Analysis : A smorgasbord

This is the case the more I learn about it, the less I know.  As energy analysis picks up as a real tool in the trades, not just for sustainable retrofits, but to provide the data for financing as well and people working it from combing demographic information with utilities, to engineers, and beyond the amount of tools out there starts to become staggering…and I am sure I will be missing plenty.  But half of this excercise is to get input from anyone reading this to what they are using and why.  And am encouraging smack talk to why one is better than another.  What follows is a completely non-exhaustive list of stuff I’ve been running into and in no particular order. For a more exhaustive list without editorial comments the DOE (Department of Energy) maintains this List.

  • EQuest – Straight out of the DOE, and while their website looks like it was designed in 1998, the claim is “Imagine a building energy simulation tool comprehensive enough to be useful to ALL design team members, yet so intuitive ANY design team member could use it”  And I know people out there using it.
  • BEopt –  Straight out of NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) – Now this seems to have some limitations  and uses the DOE 2.2 engine, just as eQuest does however, one thing that popped out is the fact that you cannot call out different wall types or change sill heights to windows, which seems very limiting, yet, people are out there using it.
  • EnergyPlus : ”  is a whole building energy simulation program that engineers, architects, and researchers use to model energy and water use in buildings”
  • The Autodesk Family
    • Green Building Studio – This a web based service that allows for a variety of analysis including:
      • Whole Building Energy Analysis
      • Carbon Emissions : Footprint
      • Weather Analysis
      • Design Alternatives
      • Water Usage
      • Energy Star Scoring
      • GBS uses gbXML and is interoperable with Revit and….yes the DOE 2.2 Engine.
    • Ecotect : How this is different than GBS, I don’t know, but if you buy Ecotect you get GBS along with it..but both have similar claims.
    • Vasari : More energy analysis but at the design concept stage
  • Google : Sketch Up Family
    • IES Plug In – Allows you to apply materials onto a Sketch Up model for import into an IES tool
    • Energy Plus Open Studio Plug In – All the EnergyPlus option through your SketchUp model
    • GreenSpace Modeler : Allows you to apply gbmxl textures to a sketchup model for import into a gbmxl tool for analysis like Green Building Studio

An excellent resource I found through WBDG is the a summary of Energy Analysis Tools, including DOE 2.2, BLAST, EnergyPlus, and the like.  Plus there is a whole list of BLCCs (Building Lifecycle Cost) Programs.

I guess the point is just when you think BIM is going to solve everything with a push button, no matter which ecosphere you live in, be it Autodesk, Archicad, etc. there are tool sets out there, and more importantly ‘free’ tool sets out there that get a lot of play.  What worksflows and tools are you using for building / energy analysis?

 

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Augmentin for uti

No sooner had I posted on Green BIM, and also flogging the sustainable retrofit business model, that friends and colleagues start bringing up firms specializing in energy audits.  Most of these firms combine the audits with consulting to provide sustainability options i.e. savings through energy efficiency.  The more you dig you’ll see that energy audits are becoming common place and even mandatory in places.  The Green Energy Act passed in Ontario, Canada mandates a seller preform and energy audit on their home.  The city Austin now mandates it.  You get the picture, regardless if you think it is a good practice, it is also being legislated into existence.  Not only that there are rebates and tax credits available for implementing retrofits.  Good business. So let me again hammer this home in bullet point format:

  • Mandated in select areas but growing
  • Audit Funded by Stimulus and Grants
  • Retrofits Paid for by Tax Rebates
  • Give me one or a dozen at that price.

    Recurve, ” a San Francisco-based provider of software and services for the home performance industry, today announced that it has secured an $8 million Series B round of financing. New investor Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) joins existing investors RockPort Capital Partners and Shasta Ventures in the financing.”  Provides not only the energy audit and recommendations and not wanting to share much pie can do the retrofits themselves as well.

    Neststepliving, a Needham, MA announced this summer a  “$2.6 million first close of their Series B financing round.  The financing was led by local green entrepreneur John McQuillan, President & CEO of Triumvirate Environmental, who was joined by other new investors and returning Series A investors including Black Coral Capital and the Clean Energy Venture Group.”

    And these are companies that people just mentioned to me in the last couple of days and as stated on the NextStepLiving website, Most Massachsuetts Homeowners are eligible for free home energy assessment and generous weatherization rebates up to 85% of the cost of the work.   Regardless of who’s picking up the tab and maybe it’s just a lead generation tool, but free?  Can’t lower the hurdle any more than that, and then coupled with rebates to do the work, well, get on that train.

    Retroficiency , based here in Boston , “provides energy audit and energy management software and services.”

    Appogee Interactive, Enercom , and Microsoft’s HOHM Beta, are all providing tools for analyzing your home.  Why?  It leads to business, or as my dad always says, “follow the money”.  And the smart money is in sustainable retrofits and energy audits.

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