Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering & Construction

Preliminary Analysis

With a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a building, architects, engineers, builders, energy services providers, and owners can simulate real-world performance in order to make better informed decisions for cost-effective improvement measures early in a renovation or retrofit process.

Accurate understanding of a building’s current performance is critical to making renovation or retrofit decisions that can improve energy or water use and reduce carbon emissions. Cutting-edge analysis tools incorporated into a building information modeling (BIM) process can help to more quickly provide information that can better inform decisions on energy savings, cost avoidance, or future operations and maintenance plans for the building.

Design DecisionsHow ToAutodesk Tools

Energy & Cost-Savings Goals:

  • Energy use and efficiency potential
  • Water use and efficiency potential
  • Estimated carbon emissions

Understand energy savings possibilities, calculating the Energy Use Index (EUI) and renewable energy potential.

Review and confirm preliminary observations from performance analysis with building owner or energy manager.

Conduct whole building energy, water, and carbon analysis to better estimate current use and predict potential savings.

Use location-specific weather data to better understand:

  • Natural ventilation potential
  • Possibilities for renewable energy sources
  • Daylighting potential

Consider alternative improvement measures for the project to better achieve building performance, compliance, or certification targets.

Autodesk Revit Architecture

  • Conduct 3D massing studies and explore floor-area allocation and use assignments.  
  • Perform basic daylighting and sun studies to more quickly analyze sun positions and solar effects.

Autodesk Green Building Studio

  • Pinpoint weather data within a few kilometers of the building site using one of the most extensive global collections of hourly weather data.*
  • Estimate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for nearly all aspects of the building, including regional electric grid carbon emissions by fuel type.*

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis

  • Calculate solar availability, daylight factors, and luminance levels at any point in the model or over the analysis grid.
  • Visualize incidental solar radiation on windows and surfaces.

Building Equipment Performance

  • Estimate building-wide energy and water use for appliances and equipment.
  • Specify target performance to meet building water and energy requirements.

HVAC Class

  • Determine type and approximate size of HVAC system.
  • Estimate water use in HVAC systems.
  • Consider night ventilation options while balancing envelope and structural mass elements.

Water Fixtures

  • Determine fixture class for water use.
  • Estimate building-wide potable and nonpotable water demands.

Model the existing systems for current energy use and conduct load analysis on the model for new occupancy and spaces postrenovation.

Consult Resources

  • Energy Policy Act of 1992
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for information on embodied measures
  • Building for Environmental and Economic Stability (BEES)
  • Athena Institute Impact Estimator

Autodesk Green Building Studio

  • Analyze potential for natural ventilation to handle building cooling load on an hourly basis.*
  • Estimate the number of hours your design could use outdoor air to cool the building and help determine if mechanical cooling is necessary.*
  • Estimate amount of mechanical cooling required.*
  • Estimate water use based on type of building and number of occupants.*
  • Evaluate measures to help reduce water use.*

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
Calculate heating and cooling loads for models with any number of zones or type of geometry.

Autodesk Revit MEP

  • Perform calculations to help determine peak heating and cooling loads and measure the impact of varying amounts of outside air, filtration levels, and other HVAC analysis functions natively.
  • With Revit MEP, the engineer can also perform native heating and cooling load analysis calculations.

HVAC Load Calculation Extension for AutoCAD MEP 2009
Measure the impact of varying amounts of outside air and filtration levels and perform other HVAC analysis functions using the HVAC Load Calculation Extension.

Site Planning

  • Plan location of all site improvements such as parking, landscaping, catchment, and green open spaces.
  • Understand rainwater catchment requirements related to roof area.
  • Promote biodiversity by laying out the site to provide a high ratio of open space to the development footprint.
  • Estimate cut-and-fill requirements.

Surface Material & Layout

  • Maximize groundwater recharge and storage, and minimize runoff.
  • Consider possible heat island effects.
  • Determine landscape and hardscape layouts.

Review different design alternatives using integrated analysis and simulation tools for:

  • Solar and shading studies
  • Stormwater design and analysis
  • Soil types
  • Geospatial buffering
  • Steep slope analysis and modeling
  • Floodplain analysis
  • Surface analysis

AutoCAD Civil 3D

  • Design and analyze more efficient stormwater management systems.
  • Incorporate GIS data into the design environment and 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 to help identify steep areas prone to erosion.
  • Compute percentage of paved surface area on the site and visualize which areas are under shade.

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis

  • Display the sun’s position, path, and shadows relative to the model at any date, time, and location.
  • Generate geometry and analysis grids for export directly into computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools.
  • Calculate solar availability over the spaces around your buildings and in highly overshadowed urban sites.

Portfolio Management

  • Document and understand your building portfolio.
  • Standardize on a scalable review process to evaluate the performance of and proposed modifications for multiple facilities.
  • Convert 2D documentation or 3D digital photographs into a BIM model to help capture and contain all of the data required for whole-building energy analysis.
  • Develop and evaluate energy plans using BIM.

Autodesk Revit Architecture

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

Autodesk Revit MEP

  • Energy analysts can more accurately model the existing systems and recommend improvement measures.
  • Enhanced gbXML export functionality enables a direct link to analysis applications.

Autodesk Revit Structure
Investigate existing and new building layouts against code-required forces or more stringent code definitions.

AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 
Automation, management, and editing tools help to minimize repetitive tasks and speed the time to completion.  For retrofit projects, AutoCAD® is a primary design tool for early stage design and documentation.

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, cost, 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 cost to complete.

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