The growth of the green building market will drive adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, according to a new SmartMarket Report, Green BIM: How Building Information Modeling is Contributing to Green Design and Construction, released today by McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP).
Produced in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Autodesk, and 13 other prominent industry organizations, the report provides new insights on the convergence of two important construction industry trends: green building and BIM, known simply as "Green BIM."
"Green building is already transforming design and construction in the United States, and BIM has the potential to increase innovation—and design and construction efficiency," said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, global thought leadership and business development, McGraw-Hill Construction. "Therefore, the intersection of BIM tool use with sustainability goals is a powerful practice that can be truly transformative in increasing industry productivity."
The industry agrees that they are just beginning to tap the full potential of BIM to achieve their green objectives. Only 17% of Green BIM practitioners are currently realizing more than 50% of BIM's potential for their green goals, but a sharp increase in Green BIM use is expected in the near future.
"The report reveals the share of activity where BIM is being applied to help achieve sustainability goals, showing the fact that this is still a nascent emerging trend," Bernstein added. "However, the future outlook is dramatic: 78% of the survey respondents who aren't currently using BIM on green building projects expect to do so within just three years. That's a significant increase."
The report captures perspectives on the future of Green BIM from a wide range of experts, as well as case studies that demonstrate Green BIM's contributions to achieving sustainable outcomes. According to the report, as green building becomes a larger share of construction, the benefits provided by BIM will also be more widely recognized, and the use of BIM as a whole will increase.
"Green and BIM have been the two most dynamic trends in our industry," said Steve Jones, who leads McGraw-Hill Construction's BIM initiatives. "Although they have been growing independently, it was inevitable that they would converge because the analysis and simulation capabilities of modeling are such a natural fit with the objectives of green building. This report establishes a baseline for the state of that evolution and points the way towards further exciting developments."
Robert T. Armistead, president of MCAA, agrees, "MCAA and our foundation, the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation, have been working extremely hard over the past five years to provide our members with the highest levels of green and BIM education possible. Until recently, these efforts have been proceeding on separate tracks, but this [Green BIM] study validates what we've seen—or at least suspected—that these two mega-trends are coalescing. Green construction, like everything else in our society, is now highly information-rich and dependent, and that makes it ripe for modeling."
BIM offers an efficient way to create and leverage digital models for the design, construction and operation of projects, and it is revolutionizing the way firms communicate, solve problems and achieve better outcomes. Current users who practice Green BIM also report intensive use of BIM. Nearly half (49%) of Green BIM practitioners use BIM on over 50% of their projects, compared to approximately one quarter (28%) of non-Green BIM companies. Green BIM practitioners are also more intensive users of the software since they both create and analyze models more frequently than non-Green BIM companies.
"Autodesk BIM solutions enable our customers to use the rich, intelligent information from the design model to conduct whole-building energy analysis by accessing local weather data to simulate performance and visualize appearance, all from right within the design palette," said Rick Rundell, senior director of AEC Simulation Products, Autodesk. "This leads to better-informed decision-making, much earlier in the design process. As the McGraw-Hill Construction Green BIM research shows, more and more projects are being completed with BIM to meet goals for sustainability, and we continue to deliver solutions that help put sustainable design decision-making in the hands of architects, engineers and contractors to support industry demands for greater visibility and predictability."
According to prior McGraw-Hill Construction studies, energy efficiency is the most often cited green building benefit, yielding significant cost-savings over a building's full lifecycle, and Green BIM is no exception. The study expects strong growth for energy performance simulation tools in particular: 95% of firms practicing BIM for green projects will do energy performance simulations within two years, compared with 73% now; and 79% of firms using BIM (but not focused on green projects) will conduct the simulations, compared to 21% currently. Energy efficiency is also an important tenet of the USGBC's LEED certification, a sought-after distinction for many green builders.
"At the core of every successful LEED project is a project team that practices integrated design," said Brendan Owens, vice president of LEED Technical Development, USGBC. "BIM provides an essential tool that supports integrated design, and to that end, will be extremely helpful in advancing this important concept. The ability to integrate BIM with LEED Online will move that idea faster and further."
Data presented in the report are drawn from a McGraw-Hill Construction survey of design firms, contractors and other major construction industry players in the U.S. who already use BIM. The report aims to determine how often, when and why they are using BIM on green projects, and provides a portrait of firms that are already Green BIM practitioners in contrast to typical BIM users, as well as insights into how they use BIM to achieve their green goals and what they anticipate the future to hold.
Premier association partners include U.S. Green Building Council and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America. The premier corporate partner is Autodesk. Corporate contributors include Balfour Beatty, Chicago Faucets, Graphisoft, Johnson Controls, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The association partners are the American Institute of Architects, the Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Owners Association of America, Design-Build Institute of America, National Association of Women in Construction, National Electrical Contractors Association, National Institute of Building Sciences, and buildingSMART alliance.