Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering & Construction


Find ways to optimize material use and minimize site disruption during construction.

By the time you reach the implementation documentation phase of your renovation project, many sustainability decisions may have already been made in the earlier phases. Now is the time to ensure that your green renovation plans are successfully implemented.

Architects, engineers, builders, energy service providers, and owners can use the building information modeling (BIM) process to work collaboratively, using a model created from consistent, coordinated design information. This method enables better documentation and the ability to evaluate and coordinate sustainable building and infrastructure design decisions while renovating.

Design DecisionsHow ToAutodesk Tools

Paperless Project

  • Continue digital sharing of documentation among all stakeholders, including external agencies.
  • Enable electronic document management and sharing to reduce paper and shipping impact.

Strive to realize cost savings and a faster ROI through better predictability, shorter project times, and fewer errors during construction.

Code Compliance
Review plans for code compliance with local agencies—avoid rework and waste.

Energy Efficiency
More accurately predict the actual energy savings over the life of a contract.  

  • Use the coordinated, consistent information in the building information model to help optimize resource, cost, and schedule.
  • Create a digital model of the project to coordinate information, processes, cost, and schedule across the building life cycle. 

Use the building model created during preliminary and detailed analysis to:

  • Guide implementation and collaboration with all stakeholders
  • Conduct better informed energy audits

Consult Resources

  • eQuest
  • SBEM
  • DOE-2
  • Trane® Trace™
  • Carrier

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 cost to complete.
  • Design, document, and visualize components.
  • Evaluate potential constructability, fit, and cost issues earlier in the design process using coordinated intelligent data within the model.

Autodesk Navisworks

  • Create compelling, descriptive content, and link to schedules to more quickly demonstrate design and build options.
  • Facilitate the transfer of building design data into a variety of code compliance tools using gbXML file format from the following Autodesk software and web-service products:
  • Autodesk® Revit® MEP
  • AutoCAD® MEP
  • Autodesk® Revit® Architecture
  • Autodesk® Ecotect™ Analysis
  • Autodesk® Green Building Studio®

Material Quantities

  • Plan carefully—estimate materials needed to avoid rework or waste.
  • Anticipate problems and resolve conflicts before committing.

Material Properties

  • Select materials with lower embodied energy.
  • Consider local sources for materials.

Material Use

  • Consider manufacturing in controlled environments to reduce waste and minimize site environmental impact.
  • Evaluate environmental impacts of materials choices and consider local sources for materials.
  • Use the coordinated, consistent information in the building information model to help optimize resources, costs, and schedule.
  • Conduct clash detection.
  • Complete costing analysis.
  • Employ a building information modeling process to work collaboratively with fabricators and better communicate design intent.

Consult Resources

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for information on embodied measures
  • Building for Environmental and Economic Stability (BEES)
  • Athena Institute Impact Estimator

Autodesk Quantity Takeoff
Use automated takeoff tools for intelligent 2D and 3D model and design data, as well as nonintelligent 2D design data such as images and PDF files.

Autodesk Revit Architecture
Get more accurate material quantities automatically from model.

Autodesk Inventor
Design with engineering-level detail and achieve greater predictability and control.

AutoCAD Structural Detailing
Extend structural design information to fabrication of steel and concrete reinforcement.

Autodesk Navisworks

  • Share, combine, review, and revise detailed 3D design models of any size or format.
  • Perform advanced clash detection within a single model environment to help find and fix design faults.

HVAC System Layout
Ensure proper layout and planning for HVAC, piping, plumbing, overhangs, and so on.

Check design and codes, and conduct analysis for expected system efficiency.

  • Calculate HVAC sizing.
  • Conduct clash detection.

Autodesk Revit MEP
Visualize the analytical model and help reduce design conflicts with native real-time interference detection.

Minimize coordination errors between the MEP design team, architects, and structural engineers with native interference checking.

Site Management

  • Prevent loss of soil and sedimentation of nearby waterways from stormwater runoff during construction.
  • Plan to optimize staging and sequencing to minimize disruption to site and reduce equipment operating time.
  • Consider manufacturing in controlled environments to reduce waste and minimize site environmental impact.
  • Plan for machine automation to minimize site impact and carbon emissions.
  • Perform earthwork volume calculations.
  • Perform cut-and-fill analysis.
  • Create and implement an erosion and sediment control plan.
  • Deploy on-site bins for construction waste sorting and recycling.
  • Execute on material and build schedules to minimize disruption to site and reduce equipment operating time.
  • Help reduce carbon emissions of equipment by leveraging 3D design models for Automated Machine Guidance during construction.

Autodesk 3ds Max Design
Visualize the building design in context on the site.

AutoCAD Civil 3D

  • Evaluate multiple earthwork scenarios to help balance cut-and-fill and minimize trucking of soil around and off the site. 
  • Deliver design files for use in GPS machine-controlled construction equipment, helping to save time and fuel.