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Green Buildings Drive BIM Adoption

The green building sector will drive the adoption of building information modeling (BIM) software, according to a new SmartMarket Report from McGraw-Hill Construction.

The report, “Green BIM: How Building Information Modeling is Contributing to Green Design and Construction“, produced in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Autodesk, and 13 other industry organizations, finds that the industry is only now tapping into the potential of BIM to meet their ‘green’ goals.

Case-in-point: The report finds that only 17 percent of Green BIM practitioners are currently realizing more than 50 percent of BIM’s potential for their green goals, but 78 percent of survey respondents who aren’t currently using BIM for their green building projects expect to within the next three years.

BIM has the potential to increase innovation, design and construction efficiency, just as green building has transformed design and construction in the U.S., says Harvey Bernstein, McGraw-Hill’s vice president, global thought leadership and business development.

According to the report, as green building become a larger share of construction, the benefits provided by BIM will also be more widely recognized. As a result, the use of BIM will increase as it delivers a more efficient way to leverage digital models for design, construction and operation of projects, according to the report.

Another finding shows that nearly half (49 percent) of Green BIM practitioners use BIM for more than 50 percent of their projects, compared to 28 percent of non-Green BIM companies. Green BIM practitioners are also more intensive users of the software since they both create and analyze models more frequently than non-Green BIM companies, according to the report.

McGraw-Hill Construction studies have found that energy efficiency is the most often cited green building benefit, yielding significant cost savings over a building’s full lifecycle.

Similarly, the Green BIM study expects strong growth for energy performance simulation tools. For example, 95 percent of firms practicing BIM for green projects will do energy performance simulations within two years, compared with 73 percent now, and 79 percent of firms using BIM, but not focused on green projects, will conduct the simulations, compared to 21 percent currently.

The two key areas that non-Green BIM companies would like to simulate over the next two years include whole building use (80 percent), lighting and daylighting (69 percent) and energy code compliance (65 percent).

Green BIM users also find the technology to be useful for green retrofit projects. Twenty-seven percent see BIM as highly applicable for use in green retrofits and 49 percent believe it has “medium applicability.”

 Based on a previous McGraw-Hill report that forecasts that green retrofit projects will increase from five to nine percent in 2009 to 20 to 30 percent in 2014, the market is likely to be a strong growth area for Green BIM, according to the report.

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