Software drafted to design greener buildings

Autodesk is developing a 3D modeling application to reflect LEED green building ratings.

Autodesks's software will be linked to LEED green ratings.
Autodesks's software will be linked to LEED green ratings. Autodesk

CHICAGO--Fewer than half of architects were building with green features in mind five years ago, but 90 percent will be by 2012, according to Autodesk.

Seventy percent of respondents to Autodesk's Green Index survey said client demand is accelerating efforts to design buildings that use less energy, cut material waste, and cost less to operate.

Autodesk, which makes professional, 3D drafting applications, announced at the Greenbuild convention last week that it's developing software, code-named "Project Chicago," to help designers score ratings points from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system run by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"We want to find ways we can move the building industry forward," said Phil Bernstein, a vice president at Autodesk.

The sustainability dashboard concept would display data in real time to help designers and engineers measure and respond to changes in indoor air quality, storm water runoff, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and daylighting. The dashboard would work with the Revit building information modeling platform.

Also at Greenbuild, Green Building Studio unveiled plans for energy-engineering software to help design carbon-neutral buildings. The application would work with 3D CAD applications and measure outdoor temperature as well as indoor energy savings, ventilation, and water use.

For homeowners, the Lucid Design Group's Building Dashboard and Agile Waves' Resource Monitor provide pictures of energy use and abuse that are otherwise impossible to pinpoint and view in a home.

I'd like Google's free SketchUp app to fold in features for green-thinking design hobbyists--especially since it integrates with Google Earth and Maps, which enable people to track changes to landscapes and ecosystems.

The more these kinds of tools are integrated into the blueprints and backbones of buildings, the more people will come to demand energy efficiencies and low-toxic materials as standard features rather than costly extras.

New applications to help businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions include carbon dashboards.

Real-time dashboards from Autodesk will display energy use and air quality.
Real-time dashboards from Autodesk will display energy use and air quality. Autodesk
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