The world is becoming increasingly eco-conscious. This environmental awareness is pushing more and more businesses to try to be more sustainable with their business practices. This push towards going green extends all the way down to building design.

BIM, or Building Information Modeling, provides an excellent avenue for helping architects and engineers design more environmentally conscious buildings. Building projects designed in CAD come with an array of benefits, including higher-quality designs, legibility, easy changes, and more. These benefits only increase when dealing with sustainable materials.

Why BIM and “Going Green” Go Together

There’s a reason that building design and construction operates the way it does. The most popular techniques and materials are prevalent because they’re cost-effective, efficient and proven. The problem is that these materials and methods aren’t always eco-friendly.

Green building is all about using processes and resources that are environmentally responsible. It’s about reducing the overall environmental impacts and optimizing efficiency. Sometimes this means using techniques and materials that aren’t commonly used, which is why CAD and BIM are so crucial in eco-friendly designs.

CAD allows architects and engineers to analyze less common techniques and materials accurately. This saves tons of time and trial and error in the long run. Without BIM, using green resources and techniques can be a gamble and nobody wants to take unnecessary risks.

Green building methods and resources can also be more costly than conventional alternatives, which is why accuracy matters. The accuracy CAD provides, presents a fantastic opportunity for architects, engineers, designers, and businesses using CAD to begin incorporating green elements.

With the minimal risk involved, there’s no reason not to go green with your next construction project!

What are some ways to incorporate green elements into your CAD projects? How can you incorporate more green elements into your next design? Here are some tips to get you started:

Tip #1: Think About the Entire Design

For a green design to work, it must be a fundamental part of the planning. You can’t merely design the project as you usually would and then try to add green elements later. Truly eco-conscious design starts at the very beginning. From picking the location to selecting locally sourced materials, to building the foundation, every single step of the process presents options to make a building more eco-conscious and energy-efficient.

Every detail of a building design is important when designing green buildings.

Tip #2: Chose a Sustainable Foundation

While ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) construction is relatively new, ICF present an eco-conscious and sustainable foundation and framing option. ICF construction works by using interlocking insulated concrete forms instead of standard wood or metal framing. These forms provide optimum energy-efficiency and durability.

Tip #3: Make Natural Light a Priority

The more natural lighting a building has, the less artificial lighting it will need, but installing windows on north-facing walls that leak heat, or including windows that create heavy glare on computer screens in an office is counterproductive. Use CAD models and rendering to simulate the movement and direction of the sun to optimize the light that enters the building and minimize heat loss.

animated rendering
Use simulations to track the movement of the sun throughout the day. Created using the BricsCAD Enscape integration. Image credit HOK.

Tip #4: Insulation and Ventilation Matters

Insulation and ventilation directly impact a building’s ability to be energy-efficient. It’s imperative to design with the ventilation system and insulation in mind. Also, when it comes to insulation, there are several green alternatives to standard insulation options.

It’s easy to check for collisions and interference for ventilation systems and make smart design changes when using CAD.

Tip #5: Think About Water Management Systems

From plumbing to rainwater management, water management should be a part of your next BIM project. There are several green solutions, such as, permeable pavement and green roofs, which can help combat the buildup of rainwater. Then, there are plumbing solutions, like using water-saving fixtures, waterless urinals, and more.

Tip #6: Use Sustainable Materials

As a rule of thumb, every building material and technique has a greener option out there. So, research every material and technique to ensure that there isn’t a better, more sustainable option out there. It’s also important to consider locally produced and sourceable materials.

Tip #7: Think About Durability and Longevity

Durability matters when going for green design. The longer a building or fixture lasts, the longer it will be before more construction needs to be done again. Stones, brick, and concrete have historically been go-to durable building materials, and thanks to the rise in popularity of things like indoor stained concrete floors, materials like these can be used on both the inside and outside of the building.

But it’s not just the structural materials. Consider how repairs can be managed without large-scale construction. Maintaining a digital twin of any repairs and modifications helps future contractors to locate and repair problems without the need for the largescale investigation.

Tip #8: Consider Renewable Energy Solutions

Making a building self-sustaining will dramatically decrease operating costs and reduce a building’s overall ecological footprint. Use the local landscape’s resources to your advantage, from solar power to wind turbines. Select the energy that best suits the climate you’re building for.

Tip #9: Think About 3D Printed Options

There’s a reason why solid surface counters are so popular. They’re created in large sheets and cut specifically to fit their destination. 3D printing allows you to have this same benefit with every element of the design. Just like solid surface counters, anything printed with a 3D printer is created with the destination in mind, which makes this technology eco-friendly and presents an array of cheaper and low-waste design options.

3D printing can also allow you to manufacture on-site, from fixtures and fittings to whole buildings! There are many great examples of 3D printed buildings out there.

3d printing

Incorporate Green Elements Into Your Next CAD Project

These nine tips should help you start thinking about how to incorporate more green elements into your next design. Green buildings require a bit more research and work to get right, but CAD presents the perfect solution for getting started.

Using CAD, it’s simple to start making the transition over to more sustainable and eco-friendly options without all the risks. So, “go green” and start designing more sustainable buildings today.