Building Information Modeling as the Core of Sustainable Design

DPR's two-story, 7-year-old, 52,000-square-foot building in Sacramento, which is LEED-Silver certified, posed a problem. Trees along the perimeter blocked clear angles of the building envelope, so the company used a photo from Google Earth to depict the building's footprint.

Nevertheless, DPR's REM analysis of the Sacramento building was 95 percent accurate in pegging the costs of the energy spend for the building. In Redwood City, the accuracy rate was 86 percent, which confirmed a controls issue previously detected in an energy audit of the building, Blomquist said.

The process took about a couple of days for each site, compared to a "a full energy audit that can take weeks of effort and tens of thousands of dollars," Blomquist said.

Mitchell Dec, an associate at Glumac, who is a senior energy analyst and energy department manager, also spoke of time savings.

"Using BIM for energy analysis, we've seen a significant amount of time saved," said Dec. In the case of a project involving more than a million square feet, he said, "if done in the old, traditional way, it would have been weeks." Instead of an effort of a hundred hours or more, it took about a fifth of the time.

The archived webcast about BIM is available at

Images courtesy of Autodesk.