Tag Archives: Living Buildings

Embedding BIM into the fabric of sustainability.

calgary treesBIM has a far deeper application than just a design modelling, construction or facilities management tool. This fact has been highlighted recently through a number of events and conversations, for example;

A couple of weeks back, I interviewed Denis Hayes as part of our Sustainability Leadership Conversation (#sustldrconv) series. Denis was founder of earth day way back in 1974, and is now CEO of the Bullitt Centre in Seattle, obviously no newcomer to environmental issues or deep green sustainability, but I was interested in Denis’ views on the role of BIM and ‘Big Data’ in todays sustainability agenda. here is an extract from a soon to be published article based on that interview

MB Denis, how do you see the role of BIM and Big Data in deep green sustainability?

DH Analysis of big data is key, living buildings need cerebral cortex and Central Nervous System to function, big data helps see patterns, offers vast potential, but right now there is too much noise and not enough signal and analysis.   

Also in May, during the Construction21 Virtual Expo, I was inspired by the conversation with Delta Development CEO Coert Zachariasse. Delta have applied Cradle to Cradle thinking to their business and projects, For example, they don’t own the materials in their buildings in the traditional sense, but view buildings as material banks, with every building having a residual value at the end of its life through the value of its materials. (A value that is recognised, included on the budget sheet and reduces the project costs, the alternative, more common thinking is that demolition and waste adds costs to the project)

Whilst this is inspiring, the fact that BIM provides the engine behind this approach is very interesting – using BIM to track and maximise residual value, providing the data to create material passports and undertake the value decisions.

As I tweeted from that conversation:

“BIM meets #CradletoCradle – Delta Development use #BIM to develop Material Passports thru supply chain,  Coert Zachariasse CEO at #EXPOC21”

Later in the day at EXPOC21, during the panel debate on the need for a European Building Performance Directive, Frank Hovorka – President- Sustainable Building Alliance commented that BIM is the essential core for any Building Performance Directive

But of course built environment sustainability is ‘just’ not about energy or building performance, it is also, or more so about health and social dimensions as well. The data needed to make informed decisions for sustainability needs to encompass stories, context and knowledge. However with knowledge reduced to a status of information in todays digital universe, we need the skills to unpack information from BIM and Big data

Embedding BIM data into the fabric of sustainability is key, and to borrow the brilliant expression from Casey Rutland and Vicky Lockhart at ARUP – its all about SustainaBIMity.

Regarding BIM through this lens, we in the built environment need to move quickly, to clean the data we have from noise, provide better analysis, and make informed regenerative sustainable decisions. In an age of disrupt or be disrupted – if we don’t do so from within the sector, someone from outside will.

Advertisements

Architects and Green Deal: greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals

‘Architects have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals’

A provocative statement  made by physician Dr. Claudia Miller, assistant dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine, at a recent  healthy building materials panel moderated and blogged by Kirk Teske on his Point of View blog.

The panel* made a unanimous call for cooperation and transparency from building product manufacturers … the type of collaborative action our industry needs to shift the building materials paradigm from translucent to transparent, and from toxic to healthy

Here in the UK we are seeing the Green Deal  gearing up, which, putting aside the programmes finance and operational uncertainty, has a huge potential to improve public health and NHS health costs. A benefit not addressed or recognised to date. (Particularly given the UK’s lowest ranking across European Countries for health and housing related issues)

How would Green Deal look, and what additional health benefits would it provide, if the scheme embodied Living Building Challenge’s Red List Materials? Seems a no brainer to me.

Likewise the recently announced PF2 Education Funding Agency programme for schools in relation to educational building occupant health.

Slide1

Google may be the influential game changer, globally they are opening 40,000 square feet of office space a week (including a new UK HQ in London).  And none of those workplaces will use any of the materials on the red list developed by the Living Building Challenge. Google’s decision stems from two principles, a focus on health and vitality of its employees and cost of healthcare

The UK Collaborative for Living Building Challenge was launched in April and is currently developing an UK overlay for the standard. Get in touch for more information.

 
 
Panel:
Dr. Claudia Miller, an assistant dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine,
Jason McClennan, founder creator of the Living Building Challenge and CEO of International Living Future Institute; 
Bill Walsh, executive director of the Healthy Building Network ,
Howard Williams, vice president at Construction Specialties, a global building materials supplier.

Ecologically Rethinking Construction

Jonathan Dawson, head of economics at Schumacher College, writing on Guardian Sustainable Business asked “How do we redesign a new economic theory framed by ecological systems?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA question we need to ask and start addressing within the built environment.

We are seeing a new vocabulary emerging with concepts such as biomimicry, zero or net energy, water and environmental impact, Living Buildings, biophillia, circular economy … and more … As the interest and importance of these concepts influence in the way we design, build and use buildings, do we need a new paradigm?  Some 15 years after Egan, do we need to again rethink construction to address these emergent sustainability themes. approaches and skills that once again the sector is lacking, engaging the economists, surveyors and accountants? As Jonathan Dawson comments:

Ecology offers the insight that the economy is best understood as a complex adaptive system, more a garden to be lovingly observed and tended than a machine to be regulated by mathematically calculable formulae.

A comment that makes a nice resonance with the Living Building Challenge philosophy

And of course a key element in this new thinking is the internet, web 2.0 and the power of social media.

Enabled by the growing power of information technology, whole new ways of doing business and organising society are emerging, whose strength lies not in economies of scale but in economies of co-operation and symbiosis

Over the weekend , via twitter I caught a slide via Rachel Armstrong illustrating the difference and need to move from 20th century Cartesian or Newtonian thinking into 21st complexity, emergent thinking …

screenshot.32

Jonathan Dawson: “This moment of history calls on us to rewrite the dictionary and create new stories, much as the generations following on from Copernicus did to reflect the new world-view that emerged from his astronomical insights”