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International Collaborative linking LCA, BIM and Project Calculators

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  • By Pan Chaoyang
  • Date November 9th, 2014 07:41
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  • International Collaborative linking LCA, BIM and Project Calculators

    Imagine if the environmental impact of building materials within projects could be automatically calculated while you worked. Imagine if you could track the carbon, water or VOC footprint of your project as you designed, with little to no extra effort.
    Now, imagine if you could compare this data against your budget and project goals, such as green building certifications.
    All of this would be possible if Life-Cycle databases were linked to parametric software like Revit or Archicad and over the past few years the building industry has seen several projects addressing this challenge. Last month saw the signing and start of what is quite possibly the most ambitious project to date.

    Brought together by CIRAIG in North America and GIGA in China, an International Collaborative is now working to integrate project calculators with BIM and building material LCA data via the cloud. The project is supported by the Canadian Government and approved by China's Central Government under MOHURD.

    What sets the project apart is the way in which it will unify an entire ecosystem of stakeholders using cloud software. The project will also integrate with existing industry software for workflow.

    From Push to Pull

    Under a traditional approach, a software plugin would be used to 'push' LCA data into building modelling software. The Collaborative felt that this approach was outdated, inflexible and limited in impact, especially seeing as the building industry is now shifting to cloud solutions.

    As a result the Collaborative opted to have project calculators pull data from building models into the cloud. This means that the calculators will connect far more easily to different modelling softwares as well as regional LCA databases. This approach will also allow the calculators to process more data and be more adaptable to change.

    Signing Ceremony in Shanghai.  Back: Mr. Jacques Daoust, Quebec’s Minister of Economy, Innovation and Exports. Mr. Philippe Couillard, Quebec Premier. Front: Mr. Zhang Yanping, Director, SRIBS. Mr. Raefer Wallis, President, GIGA.

    The Collaborative combines a holistic cross-section of experts: from LCA researchers, software architects and real-estate financiers all the way through to architects, builders and project owners. Many of the participating parties are from Montreal / Quebec which is home to a large concentration of global leaders in environmental research including LCA and Climate Change. They include:

    Centre of expertise in life cycle issues based at the Montreal Polytechnic. It is internationally recognized for establishing the first LCIA database in North America and the first internationally regionalized LCIA methodology.

    GIGA: Research engine for building materials and a world leader in cloud software for real-estate developers, builders and architects.

    (Shanghai Research Institute of Building Sciences): Multi-disciplinary entity who’s expertise includes building material testing, LCIA research, architecture, urban planning, engineering and green building consultancy. SRIBS is responsible for co-authoring the China Green Building Label (China 3-Star) as well as the National Building Code.

    ETS: School for Advanced Technologies, training professionals at the under-graduate, graduate and Ph.D levels. It specializes in working closely with industry for advanced research projects, especially in the fields of BIM and IDP (integrated design process).

    Hydro-Québec: The world's largest hydroelectric producer with a portfolio of over sixty hydroelectric generating stations.

    Desjardins: The largest association of credit unions (cooperative banks) in North America.

    Canadian Wood Council (CWC):
    The national association representing manufacturers of Canadian wood products used in construction.

    Cecobois: Centre of Expertise on Commercial Wood Construction providing technical support to construction professionals via software, design guides and training.

    Pomerleau: One of the largest builders in North America and a pioneer in BIM integration.

    Laval University:
    The oldest centre of education in Canada and one of the top ten universities in terms of research funding.

    An important portion of the project includes testing and refining the calculators within projects of various sizes in both North America and China. Although several projects have already been identified (next week's post) please contact us (contact@gigabase.org) if you are interested in participating as a Manufacturer, Developer or Design Firm.

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