Harnessing the Power of BIM for Green Building: A Sustainable Future

March 28, 2024 Published by Tritech Engineering

Green buildings are no longer a dream, they’re the present — and they’re the future.

People’s priorities have changed. There’s more focus on sustainability, health, and wellbeing than ever before, and thanks to the integration of building information modelling (BIM), the construction industry has been able to evolve along with the collective mindset. 

BIM represents a transformative approach to designing, constructing, and maintaining sustainable buildings. It can forecast the physical and functional characteristics of a building before it’s even constructed — predicting how it will perform in terms of energy and environmental efficiency, as well as calculating how it will handle things like moisture and extreme temperatures. 

In construction, BIM is becoming pivotal in promoting efficiency, sustainability, and operational excellence in green buildings.

BIM and Sustainable Building Design

Every green building project has one main objective — to balance environmental stewardship with resource efficiency. And this is where BIM becomes the engineering contractor’s best ally.

By creating detailed digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of a building, BIM gives design teams and contractors a unique perspective of the building process and helps produce safety and risk assessments to mitigate errors. 

Being able to simulate a building’s performance in the design phase means easier integration of renewable energy solutions, high-efficiency systems, and sustainable materials right from the start. It also helps facilitate the meticulous planning of heating, ventilation, cooling, power, data, and plumbing systems — all pivotal to ensuring optimal energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact. This preemptive planning reduces waste, rework, and resource consumption — which are key to achieving green building benchmarks.

Streamlining Construction: Efficiency on All Fronts

BIM enables a streamlined construction process, highlighting and removing potential delays like cost overruns and inefficiencies along the path from blueprint to build. 

Communication and Collaboration

Because it uses input from everyone involved — from the apprentices to the project director, from the investor to the consultants — BIM facilitates better collaboration and information sharing, consistent and accurate project data, and a truly transparent design process.

“BIM is a single source truth,” says David Patton, Tritech’s BIM Manager. “It brings all the stakeholders together, and all the information together, and it’s that one source everyone goes to.”

Carbon Footprint

BIM’s ability to minimise miscommunication, conflicts, and changes during construction can also help reduce labour and material waste.

And through precision planning, execution, and just-in-time delivery of materials, BIM can also mitigate the cost, environmental and Health and Safety impacts associated with excess production, transportation, and storage. 

BIM project

During the build of One Ballsbridge  — three distinctive, high-spec buildings consisting of 155,400 sq ft of premium Grade A office space and 88 prestigious residential apartments — our just-in-time delivery and advanced procurement procedures ensured we could advance the project above ground, and deliver the basement plant room and services under fast track arrangements, even with delayed access.

Cost Efficiency

BIM’s value can be seen in all areas of construction, from build to business operations. By identifying — and therefore preventing — big-ticket items that could cause problems in the real world, BIM is streamlining efficiency and providing cost savings from planning and design phases through to delivery and BER certification.

“If you identify issues virtually before they hit site, the cost to fix those issues is minimal,” says David. “Whereas if it happens onsite, we have to go back to redesign and that’s when it starts to cost money.”

Overall, BIM is helping to create construction programmes that are leaner, greener, and more cost-effective.

Beyond Construction: Enhancing Facility Management with BIM

For green buildings, the benefits of BIM extend beyond construction. BIM can enable efficient management throughout a building’s lifecycle by providing a comprehensive digital model with detailed information on a building’s components and systems. 

Facility managers can then leverage that data to monitor energy consumption, predict maintenance needs, and promptly implement corrective measures. This proactive approach ensures that a building’s services operate at peak efficiency, reducing energy waste and extending the lifespan of critical systems. 

BIM also supports ongoing sustainability efforts and facilitates retrofitting and renovation projects by providing accurate, up-to-date information on a building’s structure and systems.

Building a Sustainable Future with BIM

BIM is becoming an indispensable tool that bridges the gap between visionary design and tangible reality. “The client can now see their end product before it even happens,” says David. “It really has revolutionised how we do business.”

By enhancing collaboration, reducing waste, and enabling efficient facility management, BIM is laying the foundation for a more sustainable, efficient, and environmentally responsible industry. 

At Tritech, our mission is to help our clients optimise and add value to their buildings. We’re continuously investing in our people, products, and engineering technology to exceed expectations in innovation, quality, and value.

We know that having the most state-of-the-art construction technology is critical to our success, as well as yours. Get in touch to optimise your building for a greener future.