Amidst the drumbeat of news, it's been impossible to ignore the multitude of announcements unleashed this week by Autodesk -- and there are more likely more still on the way.
GreenerBuildings.com already reported that the company released the findings of a study yesterday that could pave the way for increased use of rapid energy modeling to lower the carbon footprint of existing buildings.
Here is a snapshot of some of the other developments unveiled by the software manufacturer this week:
Expanded Online Guide for Green Retrofits
The company expanded its online Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering and Construction to offer virtual walk-throughs of renovation projects, white papers and podcasts aimed at environmentally friendly retrofits and a Decision Grid tool to help users evaluate their options during the retrofit process.
Users can also quickly transform two-dimensional images of an existing building into a 3D model to perform an energy analysis and assess green power options.
"The growing number of building regulations and new stimulus funding is creating rapid growth in the green retrofit market – a market that McGraw-Hill projects will reach $10 to $15 billion by 2014," Phil Bernstein, vice president of industry strategy and relations for Autodesk's architecture, engineering and construction solutions arm, said in a statement Thursday. "We enhanced and expanded the Autodesk Guide to Sustainable Design to provide existing building owners, and AEC professionals, with practical tools and information to help them achieve optimum energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact for their renovation projects."
Separately, the company added a significant number of weather stations to its Green Building Studio, allowing for hourly weather data to help users design for specific local climatic conditions.
The previous version of the online software-as-a-service application supported 55,000 locations for weather data in North America and Northern Europe. Now there are 1.6 million virtual weather stations for Central and Southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, Philippines and South Korea, each less than 8.8 miles from any given project location covered by the updated data set.
Autodesk Adds Another LEED-Platinum Rating to Its Credentials
The U.S. Green Building Council certified Autodesk's east coast headquarters with a LEED-CI Platinum rating for an interior retrofit that earned 46 points (42 points are required to earn a Platinum rating). The building's exterior shell is LEED-Gold certified.
An open floor plan with low partitions and individual workspaces located at the perimeter helped ensure that at least 90 percent of workspaces are illuminated by natural daylight.
Of course, Autodesk's software was used during the retrofit, including linking the building's Autodesk Revit Architecture 3D model with Autodesk Ecotect Analysis software.
"It was clear from the very beginning of the project that designing for a LEED Platinum rating was extremely important for Autodesk," Scott Simpson, senior director at KlingStubbins, which designed the project, said in a statement. "Using BIM technology, we modeled the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, natural and artificial lighting levels, and energy consumption to help us achieve this ambitious goal."
Other geren elements include the use of more than 24 percent recycled building materials, Energy Star-rated appliances and equipment, bicycle storage and shower facilities, and low-flow water fixtures.
Autodesk's Gallery at One Market in San Francisco is also certified Platinum under the USGBC's Commercial Interiors rating system.
Autodesk touted three universities this week that earned its BIM Experience Award for their work integrating building information modeling into education efforts and research.
California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China, and RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany earned the nod for their work integrating BIM into their curricula.
BIM presents the functional and physical traits of a build digitally, allowing architects to make design decisions that lead to buildings with fewer environmental impacts. Each of the schools uses Autodesk software to advance BIM, including its AutoCAD, Ecotect Analysis and Revit Structure software products.
Newest AutoCAD Helps Users Be More Productive
An analysis of its latest AutoCAD 2010 software by consulting and analyst firm Cambashi Limited found this latest iteration can boost user productivity by more than 60 percent compared to its 2007 version.
Some of the features driving the improvement include:
• A PDF publishing feature allowing users to attach PDF files as an underlay, with better visual quality, yields a 63 percent productivity increase
• A free-form design tool boosts productivity by 62 percent by enabling users to create a range of shapes by tweaking faces, edges and artifices.
• Users can build multiple alterations using existing block geometry, rather than creating new geometries for each variation boosts productivity by 44 percent.
Image CC licensed by Flickr user liber.