In an increasingly technologically-reliant world, software is playing a large role in helping shape the future. With diminishing natural resources and more information available about environmental consequences, a strong focus has been placed on efficiency and sustainability management software.
One facet of the software world that is contributing to the idea of sustainability involves companies that develop CAD software. More specifically, BIM software and civil engineering design software is beginning—and in some cases, continuing—to stress the importance of green engineering.
Green engineering is “the design, commercialization, and use of processes and products in a way that minimizes pollution, promotes sustainability, and protects human health without sacrificing economic viability and efficiency.”U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Although statistics vary, buildings alone equate to somewhere close to one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. With that particular statistic in mind, there has been a push toward developing net-zero energy buildings (NZEB). An NZEB is a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building (annually) is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site.
Advancements in BIM and civil engineering software products are helping significantly in the development of these types of projects. Products listed on G2 Crowd have developed features that assist in the creation of more efficient heating, lighting and cooling systems. Coupled with the inclusion of analytical tools that factor in heat gain, solar energy and ventilation, green engineering projects are becoming more attainable and less time consuming.
At the forefront of eco-friendly design is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an organization that offers a high-level green building certification program. LEED is constantly developing new methods and ideas for planning buildings and communities, and offers certifications for building projects that are resource efficient and exemplify a high level of sustainability. These certifications are often used as a benchmark in green building and engineering for several environmental factors.
Due to the ever-changing nature of LEED standards, BIM and civil engineering design software products are continuously adapting. While tools used to calculate raw building materials and measure water efficiency may have been developed years ago, they are constantly being updated to accommodate new standards. This helps drive the initiative to create more sustainable buildings and communities.
If you visit the LEED website, it has complied a list of mobile apps that specifically focus on the advancement of sustainability. Design teams are able to simulate and perform tests that help avoid code violations, take advantage of utility efficiency programs, and track national ratings (such as the LEED’s own program). As the LEED standards become more stringent, more integrations and plugins with sustainability features are likely to emerge.
As we move toward a more sustainable world (hopefully), software will continue to evolve. In particular, advancements in BIM and civil engineering design software can help create a more eco-friendly, sustainable future.