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How BIM is linked to energy saving and sustainable development

A Boston Consulting Group has shown that the adoption of digital technologies could reduce the cost of construction projects up to 20% in 10 years

Published: 05/12/2018

Country: France

A report published by the Boston Consulting Group has shown that the adoption of digital technologies could reduce the costs of construction projects by up to 20% within 10 years. BIM, a tool allowing the creation of digital models but which also goes beyond structuring the information management of the Buildings, is going to be generalized in the public markets. The subject is about one of the themes that are currently being talked about a lot in the building world: "BIM" or the energy-efficient design of buildings.

BIM digital construction: a tool to encourage the energy transition of the building

In 2014, the Ministry of Housing launched a € 20 million plan to encourage building stakeholders to adopt the digital model, integrated into a BIM process. The objective is the reduction of construction costs and the possibility of building better quality housing.

The environmental benefits are one of the main benefits of this tool. Indeed, the stakes of the energy transition and the development of the digital model force actors to review their way of designing buildings. This method of work will promote better energy performance, thanks to the rapid analysis of the environmental quality of materials thanks to the sheets recorded in the "software".

BIM: A 20% reduction in construction costs within 10 years

Thanks to better information sharing, the BIM process makes it possible to reduce construction time and reduce budget costs. The Boston Consulting Group report estimates that digitization in the building sector could save up to 20% of the total cost of a project. For example, a 100-km highway that was built at $ 285 million would cost $ 240 million, a 16 percent reduction. The first major contribution is linked to energy simulations: the more efficient they are, the more actors will have the opportunity to make the right choices to limit energy losses of all types. At this level, the BIM provides an essential advantage through the visualization of the building and the ability to easily perform simulations, especially thermal. Thus, by simulating the different energy performances, the BIM contributes to reducing the losses of direct and gray energies.

The possibility of considering the building in all its details or on the contrary in its greater generality gives the opportunity to the actors to intervene by having at any time a total visualization of the progress of the project. Until now this was hardly possible and it was a criticism often advanced for the lack of optimization of the buildings. If you want to control expenses while building a building that is the least energy efficient, you need to plan the necessary elements as soon as possible. BIM is used to build the 3D digital mock-up as new data is imported, making all building information, including equipment-related information, available from the beginning of the project.

If the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the new is now obvious, including this methodology of collaborative work for renovation projects is a necessity to optimize the energy efficiency of buildings. Indeed, the building sector is the largest energy consumer in France (46% of national energy consumption) and alone accounts for more than 25% of the greenhouse gases emitted. The property portfolio, therefore, has a real energy responsibility, and with the increase in CO2 emissions of the sector, it is more than urgent to reverse this curve.

The BIM digital model for energy efficiency

The BIM implementation of the existing building makes it possible to anticipate the thermal, acoustic or even energetic behavior of the building. The starting point for any project in BIM is the realization of a digital model of the building in question. This serves as a collaborative support for all trades working throughout the life cycle of the building.

But the BIM model especially has the capacity to store key information about the building. These data are varied and can contain the types of materials that make up a wall, the results of the initial energy calculations or even information related to the maintenance of the building, such as for example the date and the result of the revision of the boilers. The emergence of connected objects is also a victory for building intelligence ("Smart Buildings") whose data can be integrated into the 3D model. With the key; better sharing of information.

Finally, the digital model proves to be an excellent tool for decision support, for example as a support for performing thermal insulation simulations before work.


BIM: What are the benefits of maintenance and operation?

While the BIM model and its associated database alone cannot reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are one way to make a significant contribution. Often compared to the vital map of the building, a digital model is a coordination tool and by the information, it contains, promotes a better knowledge of it. The massive renovation of the French housing stock will require the effective collaboration of a large number of actors and will be essential to avoid wasting time and money.

In addition, the enrichment of the model with information related to the maintenance and operation of buildings will allow better energy optimization. It is indeed at the stage of its exploitation that a building is the most energy-consuming (heating, air conditioning, lighting, ventilation ...). Thanks to the BIM implementation of real estate assets, preventive maintenance can be carried out, consumption monitoring applications can be imagined and the traceability of operations easily indexed.

Reducing our energy consumption means improving the energy performance of buildings. The demand for green buildings is growing stronger. The BIM, thanks to its analysis capabilities, allows very early to verify and adapt the design of a project to reduce its environmental impact.

BIM: a tool for an ecological transition

The gains, expected by the actors, are mainly economic. But the environmental gains go hand in hand. "BIM is an important tool for the energy and ecological transition of the building," said  Franck Hovorka and Pierre Mit, authors of a  report published in March 2014, as part of the Sustainable Building Plan."  The challenges of the energy and ecological transition will potentially force all actors to review their way of designing, building and maintaining buildings, but also to interact with each other. This is exactly what digital mock-up allows, " said the authors.

BIM and energy: European formations in sight

BIMEET, which means precisely "BIM-based EU-wide standardized qualification framework for achieving energy efficiency training ". Created in 2017 and planned for two years, this European project brings together several organizations from five different countries (France, England, Luxembourg, Greece and Finland), including CSTB and INES in France. Funded by the research and innovation program H2020, he is dedicated to training in energy efficiency in a BIM approach and seeks to involve all construction trades, technicians and construction workers in particular. " A first inventory indicates that there is little or no training on the subject, says Donia Marzougui of INES. BIMEET will strive to improve the skills and qualifications of professionals in the building sector by demonstrating the utility of BIM in sustainable construction and eco-energy. The results will be disseminated on the basis of the European Qualifications Framework."


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