Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering & Construction

Requirements Development

Determine overarching environmental building requirements for your project and set achievable targets for sustainability.

Right from the start, you have many opportunities to improve the sustainability of your building, site, or infrastructure project. The initial decision to build new or renovate is often an outcome of the requirements phase, taking into consideration specific criteria and your overall environmental building project goals.

Design DecisionsHow ToAutodesk Tools

Project Location

  • Consider available renewable energy and water.
  • Understand site characteristics for structure support and land impact.
  • Consider on-site transportation and utility availability.

Habitat Protection

  • Conserve natural environment and wildlife.
  • Protect biodiversity.
  • Observe laws and regulations.

Natural Hydrology

  • Protect aquatic resources and water quality.
  • Minimize pollution caused by stormwater runoff and erosion from site development.
  • Consider Low Impact Development methods.

Conduct studies and analyses to determine predevelopment conditions and set achievable goals for meeting and exceeding requirements. 

  • On-site energy sources
  • Water-efficiency potential
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® Score
  • Local weather
  • Solar studies
  • Spatial, network, and buffering analysis

Consult Resources

  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • The Low Impact Development Center, Inc.
  • U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE)
  • American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM)
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and other standards or regulations

AutoCAD Civil 3D

  • Incorporate GIS data into the design environment.
  • Conduct overlay, network, buffer, and other types of geospatial analysis to help optimize site layout and avoid sensitive wetlands and floodplains.
  • Conduct surface analysis to evaluate various grading schemes and help identify steep areas prone to erosion.

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
Calculate solar availability.

Autodesk Green Building Studio
Identify and size options for on-site renewable energy sources.*

Energy Efficiency Goals

  • Set goals for net-zero energy or carbon-neutral operations.
  • Determine potential for on-site wind and solar-electric energy generation and solar-thermal opportunities.
  • Look for possibilities for natural ventilation given site constraints, climate, security, air quality, and occupancy requirements.
  • Consider building form for optimal energy efficiency.

Building Use

  • Establish building space requirements.
  • Explore floor-area allocation and assign usages.

Set Comfort Criteria
Determine methods by which comfort will be satisfied such as:

  • Fresh air and air movement
  • Solar control
  • Moisture
  • Sound levels
  • Air quality
  • Adaptive comfort

Assess the impact on energy use and carbon emissions.

Water Reclamation & Use

  • Determine on-site water availability, precipitation catchment size, and estimated water needs.
  • Determine if the project will use separate graywater or nonpotable water.

Conduct preliminary site studies and analyses to set achievable goals for meeting and exceeding regulatory or certification requirements.

Preliminary site studies and analyses include:

  • Energy use and efficiency potential
  • Carbon-emission analysis
  • Water-efficiency potential
  • Regional electric-grid carbon emissions
  • Local weather
  • Natural ventilation potential
  • Daylighting
  • 3D massing within the building model
  • Hydrologic studies

Consult Resources

  • U.S. Department of Energy—Energy Information Administration 2003
  • Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey
  • ASHRAE Standard 55-2004

Autodesk Green Building Studio

  • Pinpoint weather data associated with a project site using hourly weather information for more than 50,000 U.S. locations.*
  • Analyze potential for natural ventilation to handle building cooling load on an hourly basis.

Autodesk Revit Architecture
Conduct 3D massing studies and explore floor-area allocation and use assignments at an early schematic design phase.

AutoCAD Civil 3D
Evaluate how much rainwater can be captured on the site, and design retention facilities to store rainwater for later use.

Paperless Project
Require electronic document management and sharing to reduce paper and shipping impact.

Use the coordinated, consistent information in the building information model to help optimize resources, costs, and schedule.

Employ a digital model of the project to coordinate information, processes, costs, and schedule across the building life cycle.

Autodesk Buzzsaw
Create a central repository for all project information with more secure, on-demand access.

Autodesk Constructware

  • Automate business processes and reporting.
  • Monitor performance and project status. 
  • Address changes and more accurately forecast completion costs.

*This capability provided by Autodesk® Green Building Studio® web-based technology is available with and during the term of your Subscription to Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis software.