Published on
November 12, 2020

Saving the Planet One Building at a Time


Joel Pennington

Head of Product

Reversing the negative impact on the environment

While digital tools have attempted to bridge the gap and drive productivity into the architectural, engineering, construction disciplines of the past few decades, a loss in translation and accountability between intent and construction has continued to plague the industry. This has driven up costs, caused delays, and diluted design integrity, material quality, predictability, and sustainability.  Sadly, this has attributed to the construction sector's negative impact on the environment -- 23% of air pollution, 40% of drinking water pollution, 50% of landfill wastes, and a whopping 50% of the climatic change.

“The construction sector contributes to 50% of climate change.”

- BIMHow, 2019


The AEC Industry is aware of a “fact” that the number one contributor to CO2 emissions in the world is not the car or the cow.  We know that over 40% of energy use and CO2 emissions come from the buildings we work in, and the homes we live in. What is needed is for the owners of buildings, who often do believe that they have a stake in the global environmental issue, to lead by ensuring that their buildings do reflect that belief.

Building Owners are also aware that often buildings are designed with materials and equipment chosen to lower the impact of CO2 emissions only to be “value engineered” out of the actual built building. Way too many budgets have a “construction pocket” and an “operations pocket”, and contractors and designers are awarded for delivering buildings at or under budget and little reward or concern is present for lowering overall operating costs aka power consumption.   Once again, the owner of the building project needs to understand the link between design and operational costs and ensure that effective design be linked with building construction cost and operation.  

Fortunately for the owner, designer, and constructor, the new digital technologies exist, where these design, construction, and operational decisions can be demonstrated well in advance of the actual construction. Using the new digital visual tools you can experience the uniqueness and beauty of the space but you can also accurately predict the operational efficiencies of the proposed design.  Owners should be demanding that demonstration during the design process.  These same tools will ensure that the stated budget/cost for the building will actually mirror the final actual cost.  The owner must hold the contractor to the deliverable of the building to the approved design and efficiency.


Commitment to a Brighter Future

At VIM we believe the future of progress in the construction industry will lie upon efficient and universal access to BIM data in a 3D context. Founded in 2016 upon the goal of providing AEC professionals easy access to BIM (Building Information Model) data in real-time and on as many devices and platforms as possible, VIM is transforming the way that architects, engineers and construction professionals design and build buildings. By removing the artificial walls between the AEC disciplines, and borrowing innovation from the gaming industry, VIM-equipped teams are delivering and sustaining a building’s design intent, from its originally approved conception to its ongoing operation.

There’s no compromise to environmental goals, despite challenges like covid-19. To the contrary, new solutions from VIM enable teams to collaborate and share quickly and freely without compromising design aesthetics, time or money. It’s a welcome relief for an industry that has, for decades, struggled with balancing the escalating expense of software technology implementation with construction realities.


The Conclusion

The cost of energy efficiencies has finally crossed that magical line, where those efficiencies actually make us money.  We really can save the planet, one building at a time.

Takeaway -

  1. Buildings (Commercial and Residential) are the largest contributors to CO2 Emissions – Not Cars or Cows
  2. Technology has arrived to allow demonstration of proposed design reducing CO2 available to owners giving accountability check for designers and constructors
  3. We all do have the ability to contribute our part to saving the planet – one building at a time while also adding to our profitability.


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