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Friday, 30 October 2020

Improving Energy Efficiency and Air Circulation Using BIM Technology


Building Information Technology (BIM) has been a revelation in the field of construction. It has helped us improve the construction field by making a digital representation of the building details. It gives an idea and 3D view about the functional and physical properties of each and every part of the building. Even a door or a window can studied to the minutest of details and improve the efficiency. It helps the Engineers and contractors to visualise the proceedings prior to the actual work and help reduce the waste and improve the efficiency level of the building. The project puts forward an idea to reduce the energy consumption for the building and also improve the air circulation. Energy reduction is of great importance in the current world and the proposed idea is of great significance. The air circulation can improve the mental and physical conditions of the occupants and hence have a good impact on the living conditions.


The BIM technology helps create a 3D view of the building which helps for a better understanding of the space in building, materials used and the system as a whole. The softwares commonly used to develop a BIM model are Autodesk Revit, Autodesk BIM360, ArchiCad, Sketch Up. In the project a sustainable model of building is developed and compute the energy consumption of the building. In the BIM technology we can design a building considering the properties of lighting, shadows and natural sun light. While designing we can maximize the use of the natural sunlight and thereby reduce the artificial lighting requirements. Large amounts of energy is consumed for human comforts. We can improve natural air circulation and thereby improve the thermal conditions inside the building. A continuous movement of air will ensure better living conditions and reduce the need of artificial fan and AC. Smart building and design can also  utilize the solar energy available.

Figure: BIM Cycle

The energy analysis can be done making use of BIM authoring tools. The energy analysis report is obtained using Insight 360. The energy utilization of building is analyzed by Energy Use Intensity (EUI) in Kilowatt per year, and improvements are done accordingly.

For studying the ventilation, the 3D image of building developed is integrated with computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling within a BIM platform. It can improve the positioning of doors and windows of building, and hence improve the thermal conditioning inside the building. The 3D model is converted to CFD model to analyse the air circulation.

Improving Energy Efficiency and Air Circulation Using BIM Technology

For analysing the energy demand of building, first we create a conceptual level climatic study of the building. Then create an architectural and structural model of the project. For that make use of BIM authoring tools. The properties of materials used in each and every part of building can be given as an input to the tool. So all physical and parametric properties of the material is recorded in the tool. This will give an idea about the properties of materials like heat transfer coefficient, energy embodied value etc. After the analysis a report is made on the energy use by Insight 360 tool. The rest is analysed and Energy Use Intensity is calculated.

EUI.   = {Total Energy Consumption for building/ Total floor area}

The analysis report will also have many options like optimising operation schedule, building operations, lighting efficiency and others, to alter the energy consumption levels. The tools like Auto desk Insight can be used. It is a cloud based energy analysis tool, that can help in improving the energy and environmental performances of building and consider the solar and lighting approaches for the building.

The energy efficient model developed in such a manner can also have an improvement in the natural air ventilation facilities. The 3 dimensional BIM model can be transferred to SAT format for conversion of external air into a 3 dimensional format. Later it is sent back to BIM software and transferred into the CFD simulation software. The geometry of the work is simplified for analysis process. The most required places are considered and others are neglected. For inlet, the boundary conditions like air velocity air temperature are defined. All the specified parameters are specified and visualised in the CFD format. Turbulence flow and heat transfer models are developed in CFD. The CFD simulations are integrated with BIM platform, and it will give a better understanding of air movement. While returning to BIM model, make the required adjustments in physical model to improve the airflow by comparing with CFD model ippo. The final 3 D model is developed in the BIM platform.

Discussions and Conclusions

BIM is an ever growing technology and it can be used in various situations to bring further improvements in the construction technologies. Information about the weather conditions needs to considered while designing for a better natural ventilation. Average wind speed, humidity and temperature are given as an input to the designing tools. Energy and material wastage can also be reduced to a great extent using BIM technology. So by creating an energy efficient building the cost of building has been proved. With a further improvement of the ventilation properties of the building,   the living conditions inside the building has also been increased. So the proposed projects fetches both health and economic benefits. Computer aided Engineering has improved recently with the different tools available. Now we can study the wind loads on buildings, pedestrian comforts in urban areas, control and analyse the air quality, predict the spread of smoke and many. The benefits of the technology have a never ending list and we can strive to improve the living conditions and efficiency of our built in environment.

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