Delivering Sustainability Digitally

On 4th October the Constructing Excellence theme groups on Digital Construction and Sustainability got together at the Turner & Townsend London offices to look at Delivering Sustainability Digitally.  Chaired by Paul Toyne the session explored how digital technologies and data can provide evidence to support sustainable decision making.  BIM (Building Information Modelling) was a key topic of the day, but the meeting went beyond BIM and explored how a digitally enabled built environment can be a more sustainable built environment.

What do we mean by BIM?

Kim Van Rooyen from Turner & Townsend provided an introduction to BIM and the different levels and dimensions within the BIM model.  He looked at the potential of how deeper integration of BIM models can lead to greater productivity and better decision-making.   His key point was that BIM is not about the technology and more about the process and collaboration of different specialists to build the data sets that underpin the modelling.

The architects view of data and sustainability

Dr Judit Kimpian from AHR looked at how data is supporting sustainable decisions.  She considered how data can be used to model and inform better design decisions and how taking a whole life view of buildings their carbon performance can lead to better outcomes.  Judit considered some of the research projects she has worked on at an EU and UK level and how the outputs from those projects are informing current practice.  Projects such as CarbonBuzz  look at carbon management in design and construction practice and Building Performance Evaluation  is looking at predicted vs operational use of buildings. The key point was that if you can measure performance and identify the reasons why buildings perform as they do you can improve performance.

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How engineers are using data to drive sustainability

Meike Borchers from WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff spoke about Integrating Sustainability Data into the modelling.   She focussed on how data can help engineers understand the carbon impact of their designs in real time and eventually how it might be able to integrate with standards such as LEED etc.  Her presentation showed the transition from basic spreadsheets back in 2009 through to finding ways to integrate different tools into the BIM environment.  Her vision is an environment where all of the required tools integrate and talk with each other to enable more informed decisions and benchmarking.

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Research and standards to underpin BIM

Guy Hammersley from BRE talked about current BRE research, capacity building it does in the UK and internationally professionals and its certification programme for organisational  BIM compliance.  Guy plans to work with the Digital Construction Group in Constructing Excellence to establish some case studies of where BIM has been successfully implemented.

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Chris Broadbent also from BRE then considered how data is informing the development of BREEAM standards.  He specifically looked at how those principles are being applied in the development of BREEAM Infrastructure and its integration with CEEQUAL.  He looked at how data can inform investment in sustainability, helping make the business case for sustainability, with sustainability being about quality.

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Vision of the future

To finish the presentations former G4C chair Antonio Pisano from Marcel Mauer took a more futuristic view, taking us into a world where all of our data informs our future built environment.  He pitched Ohme a super intelligent estate agent that in a few years time will turn existing business models and ways of working on their head, in much the same way Uber has disrupted taxis and Air BnB the hotel market.

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Next steps

There followed a healthy discussion on how sustainability can be underpinned by data.  The audience comprising of .30 individuals from across the whole construction value chain then thanked all the speaker.

The next meeting of the Sustainability Theme Group will be on healthy buildings and wellness on 31st January 2017, venue to be confirmed.

The next meeting of the Digital Construction group will be on 7th December from 11.00-12.30 at Squire Patton Boggs, Leeds, followed by the thinkBIM conference.

2 thoughts on “Delivering Sustainability Digitally”

  1. Excellent presentations and align closely with our real life experience from 250,000 physical surveys using infrared cameras. Would be interested to share information and collaborate, if its of interest.

    1. Thank you Stuart, glad our discussions are reflecting your experiences in this area. Alison

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