Green BIM – a thinkBIM round table summary

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen BIM is healthy, yet only just coming of age with a long way to go. Here is the outline and summary and the Green BIM round table I chaired at the brilliant ThinkBIM/Green Vision event in Leeds on 3rd Dec. More information, reports, blogs and videos from the event can be found through the ThinkBIM blog

Introduction:

The world of sustainability and green building is moving rapidly into the circular economy and health & wellness arena, not only for healthy buildings but also for healthy, ethical and just material inclusion. This round table explored how BIM relates to Restorative Sustainability, Red List and Healthy Materials and the Circular Economy:

  •      Can BIM assist in ‘restorative sustainability’ ie not just doing less bad, but doing more good.
  • What safeguards do we have to prevent unsustainable, unhealthy or toxic materials from inclusion into BIM Models.
  • How is BIM addressing increasing influence of bio-sustainability – biomimicry, biophilia, bio-urbanism.
  • What is the role for new thinking illustrated by the Well Building Standard and Living Building Challenge in BIM development? (and of course BREEAM, LEED, PH developments etc)
  • What data do we have, do we need relating to the impact of healthy / toxic materials on occupant health – or should we just follow the precautionary principle?
  • Deconstruction of buildings is increasingly a design consideration – how can BIM assist circular economy thinking as buildings as material banks

Summary 

Green BIM is coming of age, but has a lot of maturing to do to address the emerging wider sustainability thinking and agenda.

Material Passports can provide a good tracker for materials on source, ethics, health and more. With a Level 3 BIM thinking of linking databases, material passport datasets can link to / interigate health databases. Waiting for legislation may not be acceptable – we need to adopt the precautionary principle and act on known / identified risks to prevent or pre-empt another asbestos/lead paint scenario

Currently GreenBIM focus is on energy reduction issues, yet for many large organisations the well being of staff to minimise staff costs is a bigger driver. There is a space for BIM to incorporate wellness of building occupants in modelling. POE experiences and stories need to be channelled back into BIM development thinking. Is there a need for social / well bing knowledge or expertise within the early BIM development stages – identified within the BIM documentation for example?

BIM presents opportunities and options we haven’t seen before to really add value to the life cycle of buildings, including dis-assemble and re-use in the cradle to cradle sense, but also to add value to the well being of occupants. The 1:5:200 model can shape this thinking but there needs to be long term commitment of the project members to the whole life value ( the 200!) of the facility (and beyond)

There is exciting development within the worlds of BIM (digital tools) and sustainability (restorative) for example Google Flux, and the notion of the BIM being a seed that can be ‘planted’ to grow buildings which are respondent to the local conditions and local environment whilst being respondant to occupant and client requirements

A BIM could be seen as a operating system which comprises of a  number of apps that can be chosen and incorpated into the facilities, building or client portfolio, such apps could be cost, environmental, sustainability or all the way to restorative sustainability with net positive waste, energy and water.

Exciting times ….

The round table ran twice with excellent participation from all attending, thank you.

During the Green BIM round table we mentioned a good number of references:

Living Building Challenge  and UK Living Building Challenge Collaborative 

Well Build Standard

World Green Build Council – Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices: The Next Chapter for Green Building

Delta Developments, in particular Cradle to Cradle biz park 2020

Google Flux see Randy Deutsch Blog 

Material Passports Cradle to Cradle application in Ship Building

EPD

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