Peter Murray, chair of NLA, and our own NBS CEO Richard Waterhouse started the day by asking the questions that we'd explore through the conference, can we reduce environmental impact without increasing capital costs? can we pass information to building operators and occupiers so that operational costs can be reduced? can BIM help with these challenges?
|Fig 1 - Waterhouse and the Wedge|
|Fig 2 - Unfortunately not all occupiers understand how services operate|
Casey Rutland from Arup Associates was first up and he looked at using BIM in new build and refurbishment work to lower environmental impact.
|Fig 3 - Property sets associated with the geometry|
|Fig 4 - Simulation during design-time to ensure optimal performance|
|Fig 5 - The sustainable school example as featured in Nov AJ|
|Fig 6 - The energy savings possible|
|Fig 7 - The UK Government Hypothesis|
|Fig 8 - We must learn from every building and continue to get better|
|Fig 9 - How much a school costs to build in the UK|
|Fig 10 - BRE - delivering structured environmental impact data into BIM software|
- Operational and embodied carbon are important - but sustainability is much more - material waste, water usage, pollution, health...
- We need structured information so that BIM can best help with environmental impact
- Manufacturers need to structure their environmental credentials in a way that they can easily be imported into BIM tools
|Fig 11 - NBS Head of Sustainability John Gelder walked from Newcastle to London to|
minimise his environmental impact contribution with respect to attending this conference
Final thoughts from me...
It was nice to have a BIM conference around a particular theme. Of all the current construction topics of interest (eg. contracts and law, health and safety, regulations, standards etc...) I think sustainability is probably the one that works best for me. I am by no means a sustainability expert, but I cannot help thinking there is an analogy here with the food and drinks industry. We make our own choices with what we eat - but all food now is clearly labelled - we can see what the sugar, fat, carbohydrate, alcohol etc content is in a standarised form.
In construction, we have fantastic technology now. But the structured information is way behind. What is a products embodied carbon content? How many miles from the quarry has this product travelled? How does the energy efficiency of manufacturer A's insulation compare with manufacturer B? Has this got third party approval? Until this information is structured and provided free to industry by the manufacturers then life will be difficult for the many construction professionals who want to make a difference.
And finally, it was a slight shame that we didn't have a presentation from a Landscape Architect (kicking myself a bit here). In addition to embodied carbon and carbon in use - planting can of course provide a positive contribution. A contribution that grows over the years as the plants and trees mature.
But all in all, a really interesting day - good to see some familiar faces. As always, please feel free to add comments in response to this post.