Investigation of leveraging BIM standards to facilitate sustainability evaluations from early stages of design

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Conference Proceeding

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Improving energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact are two major priorities worldwide. The building construction industry represents a considerable share of global energy consumption and carbon emission. The majority of information required for sustainability evaluation of a building is usually specified at early stages of projects. Therefore, decision makers can potentially estimate energy consumption and environmental impacts of a building in the preliminary design phases in order to attain the best results in terms of sustainability. During the past decade, building information modeling (BIM) has become widely adopted in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, and the trend is still growing. Sustainability evaluation is one of the applications of BIM that can be implemented from early stages of building projects. Although, using BIM for extraction of information required for sustainability assessment shortens the evaluation process, the lack of interoperability between BIM and sustainability evaluation software makes the information exchange process tedious and error-prone. This paper reviews the current status of the application of BIM for sustainability assessments and identifies issues and shortcomings. It also investigates potentials of BIM standards such as IFC, as BIM's open standard file format, and the level of development (LOD) Specification for addressing these challenges. Finally, a three-level IFC/LOD-based LCA analysis approach is presented, which can enable designers to estimate the embodied energy of buildings from early stages of projects, and refines such estimation as a design progresses by adding more reliable content to the model.

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Congress on Computing in Civil Engineering, Proceedings

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