Musings on sustainable building design

Shaan Hurley, Autodesk blogger extraordinaire, has been pondering the energy use of buildings and the possible impact on the future of humanity. Philosophical stuff. How can sustainable building design contribute towards the solution?

“As the world struggles to find ways to deal with its energy demands, it’s also becoming increasingly urban. Which is only a problem when you consider there will be more than 7 billion inhabitants on Earth by the end of this year, and somewhere near 9 billion around 2050.

“The fact remains that energy use is often the largest source of a building’s environmental impact. Buildings account for more than 40% of worldwide energy use – far more than cars and aeroplanes combined. As cities continue to grow with the influx of new people seeking employment and opportunity, the need for sustainable building design is more relevant than ever, especially in the developing countries where urban migrations are occurring on an even more rapid scale.

“To improve a building’s energy efficiency, you need to understand its energy loads. Energy loads help describe the flow of energy on the site and in the building. By understanding a building’s thermal loads and its intended use, you can more effectively use the energy in natural systems to passively heat, cool and ventilate your building and design efficient HVAC systems.

“Going forward, reducing energy use in buildings will be one of the most important challenges to reducing our overall environmental impact. Understanding the flow of energy on the site and in the building will be essential in capturing energy in natural systems to passively heat, cool and ventilate your building and design more efficient HVAC systems.”

To expand on the issue, Autodesk has produced a sustainability workshop video looking at how you could design net zero energy buildings. Shaan’s original post is part of his Between the Lines blog, which is hosted on the Autodesk community (where you can also find a dedicated sustainability blog).

Sustainability is a big part of the BIM ethos: through closer collaboration, a building’s energy load can be reduced throughout the construction and lifespan of the building. To learn more about BIM-friendly software and switching to a BIM workflow, call us on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com.

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