BIM, building information model or modeling, brings all parts of a building design together into one complete system; it's no longer a collection of unconnected parts. The plumbing exists in context with the electrical work and one can see if there are conflicts that will make the construction or renovation process more complicated.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) we're starting to see new devices for buildings like smart thermostats, talking fridges and lights that react to your presence. What happens when we add BIM to this and how does it help the day to day operations and management of the building? This is exactly what the Environment and Ergonomics team at Autodesk Research set out to discover with Project Dasher.
What seems like a simple question kicked off a whole bunch of work. Many newly designed buildings will have a BIM. For an older building, like the Autodesk office in Toronto, the team had to create one. They learned about reality capture and laser scanned the building. This resulted in the Digital 210 King project.
They then set about creating a network of sensors and software to monitor things in the building like the movement of occupants in the building to adjust heating levels as people congregate and the position of the sun changes, amount of lighting relative to natural light entering the building and levels of energy usage.
As you can imagine, this creates a lot of data for building operations people to deal with. The team developed novel ways to represent the data in context of the building. You can see heating laid overtop of the model as well as the paths of people moving through the building.
The following video shows how some of this works in real time.
Now that I have all this data what do I do with it?
At this point, the team can begin to learn from the data and apply it to other buildings for the ultimate sustainable design project. Designers could use the same tools that building operation people use to simulate the building before it is is built. They can try different sustainability techniques and technologies for optimal building performance.
You can read more about this exciting work on the Digital Environment page. If you liked this article, please share it with your sustainable design friends through the links below.