With the Right Tools, a Focus on Sustainability Can Lead to New Business

Dekker/Perich/Sabatini (D/P/S) has made a strategic business decision, one that architecture firms are starting to adopt as a means to help them achieve their own sustainability goals and drive more business. With the implementation of a Building Performance Analysis (BPA) team and equipped with time-saving design tools, D/P/S has been leveraging building information modeling (BIM) for energy analysis. Since joining the AIA 2030 Commitment last year, the firm has already analyzed and reported nearly 1 million square feet in new construction projects.

Focusing on sustainability goals for each of their projects has proven to be a differentiator for the Albuquerque-based firm, and it’s helping them win new business. According to Brandon Garrett, a D/P/S Architect and Associate who leads the firm’s design technology efforts, most clients are familiar with LEED Certification and many have an understanding of building performance and sustainability. However, further educating them on the 2030 Commitment helps clients understand how to get closer to a Net-Zero threshold, which truly helps their buildings perform better.

With design tools like Autodesk Revit and the energy analysis functionality built into Insight, D/P/S is able to leverage the BIM-integrated tools to get building performance results, avoiding the hassle of having to export the model into different software. Having access to analysis tools within Revit, allows D/P/S to take massing models, leverage Insight, and save hours of time. Garrett said creating energy models within Revit takes hours, rather than days, to provide the analysis and results that match what D/P/S traditionally received from external consultants.

D/P/S is also using Insight to help further educate clients. By showing clients the model, D/P/S can communicate better approaches to design and systems implementation. For example, the tool can show cost-to-performance, giving clients the most value out of the project.

Predicted Energy Use Intensity (pEUI) Analysis using Autodesk Insight: potentially attains 2030 Challenge after installation of carport photovoltaic array.. Image Courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Sustainability products such as Insight go beyond the data — which we get from our engineers —to something that’s very visual. That’s exciting for us. We’re using this functionality beyond a traditional design tool, it’s also a communication tool we can use in front of our clients Garrett said.

D/P/S has seen an uptick in demand for sustainable projects. With 50 LEED-certified projects, the firm is a community leader in sustainability. In 2006, D/P/S moved into New Mexico’s first LEED Gold commercial office building that they designed and built. With new construction projects as well as remodels and retrofits, its sustainability goals and a concentration on BPA that help attract more clients to D/P/S.

Taking the sustainable approach is the most effective approach, Garrett said. Clients are not necessarily LEED driven anymore. They’re looking for buildings that are healthier, smarter and perform better.

Exterior Solar Insolation Analysis using Autodesk Revit Add-In, Insight Solar: finds potential “hot spots” of increased solar energy and conveys the benefits of shade from trees during summer months.. Image Courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Aaron Ketner leads the BPA team as an intern architect and energy specialist. He said Insight is helping the team design sustainable buildings that perform even better. During the value engineering process, the BPA team helps the design team determine the impact of adding or removing systems, such as shading and photovoltaic systems if they’re faced with changes like project budget cuts.

Site-wide Wind Analysis using Autodesk Flow Design: provides opportunity to study average wind speed and direction based on local weather data for a specific time of year.. Image Courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

These tools help us provide the best product to our client by allowing us to go beyond the rules of thumb. We’re analyzing decisions beyond subjective design approaches, Ketner added.

D/P/S is also using Insight to look at their past portfolio of projects for trends and strategies that are improving building performance. Other tools that are built into Revit help the firm model for photovoltaic systems, solar insolation and illuminance studies, lighting analysis, and wind simulations. These simulations allow D/P/S to take a holistic approach to finding a solution and direction for making clients’ buildings perform better.

Clients invest a lot of time and money into this valuable asset. If we can help to optimize and improve how that building is going to perform over its life, that is going to equate to a potential reduced operating cost which adds up over time said Garrett.

Interior Daylight Illuminance Rendering using Autodesk Cloud Rendering: simulates interior daylighting conditions for specific time of day. The above image overlays a rendering output from a Revit model with a photo of the actual atrium space – both are the same time and date.. Image Courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Since using Insight, the firm claims its average project predicted Energy Use Intensity (pEUI) has been reduced by 47.7% compared to national baselines.

Insight and the other analysis tools within Revit support an iterative design process. D/P/S can now analyze several design options early to find the optimal solution moving forward. Improved building performance combined with better visualization and communication tools is not only helping the firm win business but is also helping meet important renewable energy and sustainability goals.

To learn more about Revit’s building performance analysis tools, visit Insight product center.

For more information visit Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Architecture Design Inspiration.

Cite: "With the Right Tools, a Focus on Sustainability Can Lead to New Business" 27 Sep 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/880348/sustainable-design-offers-new-business-value-for-dekker-perich-sabatini> ISSN 0719-8884

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