Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Invited to be a Judge for Sustainability Awards at the Bentley BE Conference

I recently was invited to be a judge at "BE Conference 2008", sponsored by Bentley Systems. The categories I will be judging are "Sustaining Society" and "Sustaining the Environment". The BE conference typically covers innovative use of technologies in GIS, CAD, visualization, and collaborative project management; in verticals such as water, mining, process manufacturing, transportation, and federal government. This year's conference is focusing on "Best Practices in Sustainable Infrastructure"; the awards session will include submissions from a number of services and end user organizations who have demonstrated innovative technology applications within the broad sector of sustainability.

The conference will be held in Baltimore MD on May 27 - 30 2008; registration link is here. Read more!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Report says that Green Buildings are the fastest way to control GHG Emissions

Recent post in refers to the "Green Building in North America" report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Canada. Some interesting items:

- The potential reduction in CO2 from net zero - energy and carbon neutral buildings could equal the entire carbon emission loading of the US transportation sector from 2000.

- Key elements for acheiving goals of carbon reduction: ultra efficient materials and equipment; improvement in design processes; innovative financing; and construction and operations

- We need the development of environmental parameters and targets, and use of modeling to assess water & air impacts; use of renewable materials; maximize urban renewal and use of 'brownfields'; and meet water needs of the watershed

From an information management standpoint, it would seem that this is another validation point for the need for integrated lifecycle solutions (i.e. data modeling from the design phase all the way to operations & retirement of assets). This integrated information approach is also consistent with use of a sustainability platform to 'link' and access data sources (GHG emissions, toxic material use, environmental impacts, etc) and provide a roadmap for improvement and also report performance to all stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

Read more!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Green is the latest opportunity for consulting firms"

...says CNET recently in their Green Tech Blog

I wrote on this opportunity for consulting firms earlier (link).

The article's focus is on opportunities in the energy efficiency and "green corporate practices" (their terminology). Green IT consulting will grow into a $4.8 billion industry by 2013, according to Forrester Research (CNET).

As I have written before, I think the market opportunity for services providers is much more broad, and transcends just energy efficiency consulting services for IT departments and data centers. So, perhaps that $4.8B is a conservative estimate...

The other "green" opportunities for services / consulting firms? Some areas to consider:

- Global Risk Management, incorporating all facets of regulatory and NGO (Non Governmental Organizations) reporting. (Subsets are: sustainability reporting, "greening" of the supply chain, stakeholder analysis, environmental health & safety, REACH or RoHS - like compliance)

- Engineering Design & Construcion Services: leveraging specific cleantech in water, air, energy efficiency, alternative energy development, and material procurement.

- Operations & Facility Management Services: 'outsourced' services to manage operations; with incentives for optimized energy mgt, and low / zero emissions (GHG, water)

- Integrated Cleantech / Services: Services companies may license clean technologies in energy (modeling, monitoring) as well as in emissions mgt, and integrate with their methodologies; thus licensing integrated 'toolkits' to access the SMB market via smaller, regional services providers

Read more!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Article on "How BIM and Green Tech Will Change the Construction Industry"

Just published an article for titled How BIM and Green Tech Will Change the Construction Industry. This article is reprised in three earlier posts here on my blog; covering the basics of BIM, benefits of BIM and greentech, role of the federal government & owners, and strategies for greentech companies in leveraging BIM for growth.And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strategies to grow Greentech via BIM adoption

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is not just the adoption of new technology, but also incorporates new collaborative workflow. There is more emphasis on collaborative design and planning in the beginning phases of a project, so that costs and risks in later stages like construction and operations (where most of the costs are incurred) may be managed and contained. Green tech vendors should be involved in these early planning stages, so that a realistic assessment of cost savings and improved environmental performance are identified. Also, they can add value to the optimization process (conducting ‘what if’ scenarios), which may lead to additional savings and benefits that may not have been readily apparent.

International markets are proving to be quite viable for BIM deployments and green tech as well. Increasing awareness of global warming, green house gas emissions, and sustainability have driven significant market opportunities in international markets of Europe and Asia Pacific as well. John Kennedy of Green Building Studio concurs, and provides advice to green tech start ups: “Look outside the US to both the EU (European Union) countries as well as to Australia”.

Buddy Cleveland of Bentley Systems mentioned that the UK facilities market is farther advanced than the US market, in terms of green certification tools. “New regulations for improving building performance require quantitative assessment of carbon emissions; not just a qualitative assessment”. In this market, it is conceivable that green technologies may assist to “pull” the growth and adoption of BIM, given the regulatory climate.

‘Go to Market’ strategies should also reflect the importance of leveraging established companies in the AEC space for sales, branding, and deployment channels. A key component to this strategy: identify a technology partner who may bring brand awareness, marketing, and channels access. “Plan to partner in order to scale your business”, said Kennedy, who has partnered with a number of leading AEC software companies.

It should also be noted that the ‘exit strategy’ for successful green tech start ups could be acquisition by a larger established software provider in the space. Kennedy’s Green Building Studio was recently acquired by Autodesk, and Bentley Systems acquired a smaller software firm last year that it had partnered with called Hevacomp, which provides MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) and energy analysis modeling. Both Autodesk and Bentley are advocates of BIM adoption, and one would assume that these new acquisitions will allow them to integrate green technologies into BIM software platforms.
Read more!

Monday, March 10, 2008

GSA's BIM Program, and application to Green Building Technologies

A primary driver of BIM (Building Information Modeling) adoption is the US federal government. The GSA (General Services Administration) has created the National 3D-4D BIM Program, designed to allow for advanced and superior cost effective management of federal buildings and facilities. Currently, GSA has over 35 projects utilizing BIM, and has mandated that every new facility and major modification project should utilize a BIM model for spatial validation.

Along the lines of green technologies, GSA's Office of the Chief Architect is currently encouraging, documenting, and evaluating the implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technologies to assist energy performance analyses and operational practices.

Executive Order 13123 is a national initiative to reduce the average annual energy consumption of the GSA’s building inventory. With the use of BIM, more complete and accurate energy estimates earlier in the design process, improved life-cycle costing analysis, increased opportunities for measurement and verification during building occupation, and improved processes for gathering lessons learned in high performance building should result. In general, advancements from BIM may increase the role energy modeling and alternative materials play during both design and building operation, leading to an overall reduction in energy consumption by GSA buildings.

Patrick Suermann of the NBIMS has conducted a number of BIM projects for the USACE. “They have allocated approximately $24B in military construction (upgrades and new facilities).” The USACE also will spend additional monies of $15-20B for upgrades and base reconstruction efforts; creating a broad market for BIM adoption, and as a consequence, BIM – add on applications in the green tech area.

Why should green tech vendors monitor the GSA’s BIM program as well as other agencies such as the USACE? As Suermann states:” Federal agencies have to compete against each other to be the most efficient constructor and manager of assets, which lead to higher budget allocations from Congress. Cleantech firms should pitch to both agencies and their prime contractors to assist them in successful deployment of BIM”.
Read more!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Comments on the recent Cleantech SF Panel on Information Tech Opportunities

At the recent Cleantech Forum in San Francisco (link), there was a panel discussion on the opportunities in software and information technology, specifically those applications in the energy efficiency of data center operations.

Software and information technology for energy efficiency in data center operations is certainly a big market opportunity, but I think there are significant other markets for info tech as well:

- Energy modeling and analysis for facility operation and optimization; taking advantage of intelligent objects in 3D modeling

- Visualization technology that allows more stakeholders to view, collaborate on, and optimize green technology use

- Lifecycle assessment and PLM for ‘green - friendly’ product launches (associated with REACH and RoHS regulations in the EU and Asia, for examples)

- Sustainability technology platforms for assessing and reporting on compliance (government and NGO) on an enterprise level

- Carbon Emissions Inventory Assessment and Reduction

This is just a broad view of IT markets in cleantech, but does include the markets that I believe are poised for significant growth.
Read more!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Building Information Modeling & Green Technology Opportunities

I have been working on BIM (Building Information Modeling) strategy for the past month, and have also had the chance to interview a number of leading professionals in the green building technology area, as to how BIM might be leveraged to drive growth of green building technologies. A summary of this overview is provided here, with follow up posts on specific market opportunities.(A column covering these topics will be published in early March on a leading green technology web site).

The terms ‘cleantech’ or ‘green technologies’ have been applied to a wide array of processes, technologies, and services. Within this overall market space, there exist a number of specific target market segments such as transportation, energy development, and manufacturing, as examples. The buildings & facilities segment is a large target market segment for green technologies, given the size and projected growth around the world and opportunity to leverage a disruptive new technology for adoption of green technologies.

The building & facility industry is undergoing radical change today, as owners are demanding more project visibility; lower costs, better risk management (scheduling & costs), and increased use of technologies that will allow for less waste, more efficient energy consumption, and ultimately lower costs over the lifecycle of the facility (from design and construction to operations).

What is Building Information Modeling (“BIM”)

The rapid (but uneven) adoption of BIM in the buildings industry has changed the way facilities are designed, constructed, and even operated. The National Institute of Building Sciences (NBIS) defines BIM as “a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility, serving as a shared knowledge resource of information”. This knowledge or database contains the ‘intelligent objects” of a structure; not just lines and arcs typically associated with traditional CAD or drawing tools. As such, BIM can represent multiple, dynamic, and collaborative views of information such as spatial data (3D), un-structured data (text), and structured data (databases, spreadsheets), as well as new views including scheduling and cost information (termed ‘4D’ and ‘5D’, respectively).

This type of technology, with its associated benefits of visualization, built – in intelligence, and simulation is a dramatic step forward from the current technology used for design and construction: 2D CAD (computer assisted drawings). Patrick Suermann is a Testing Team Leader for NBIMS (National Building Information Modeling Standards Committee, a part of NBIS), and has led a number of BIM deployments for the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE). “BIM is the next evolution of CAD maps, and allows for the design of a virtual model” states Suermann.

Why is the BIM adoption trend important for green technology companies to understand and incorporate into their market strategies? The use of BIM (both the technology and changes in increased collaboration) allows for significant exchange of data & information by all stakeholders involved over the lifecycle of the facility: owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and operators. This information includes that associated with green technology adoption: efficiencies in energy use; increased emphasis on environmental health; and the drive to generate less waste.

BIM and GreenTech Benefits to Owners & Operators

BIM allows provides the following benefits to stakeholders, with opportunities for green technology to add value:

Risk Management: BIM may provide more visibility into projects, and allow owners to manage risk through a collaborative and inclusive process. The inclusion of green technologies allows stakeholders to collaborate as well in this process.

Materials Management: Developing bid quantities and verifying them in a BIM process allows for more efficient material use, as well as opening opportunities to use more energy efficient and environmentally friendly materials. BIM may align scheduling and material quantities for better cash flow analysis as well.

Marketing & Branding: BIM provides a visual representation of a facility, and encourages collaborative review and discussion by stakeholders and public alike. Inclusion of greentech furthers the visual representation, by illustrating energy saving concepts and adherence to key green certifications, such as LEED. Green branding is thus improved as well

Portfolio Management: For owners of multiple facilities or enterprise level owners, BIM allows for the re-use and purposing of models to standardize design and construction; thus driving down material use & costs, as well as technology applications across a portfolio.

Optimization of Building Performance: BIM allows for integrated facility management, so that energy use, occupant health & comfort, and space planning may be monitored and improved upon.

“Not only can BIM optimize building performance via less waste generation during construction, and improved energy management during operation, it can accelerate certification for LEED status”, said Buddy Cleveland, SVP of Applied Research at Bentley Systems ( , a leading technology provider in the architecture, engineering & construction (AEC) market. LEED (‘Leadership in Environmental and Engineering Design’) is a highly accepted rating system for the design and construction of green buildings.

According the 2007 Green Index Study (conducted by Autodesk and the American Institute of Architects), 44% of architects surveyed are using BIM currently. The report went on to state that architects adopting BIM are more likely to adopt green building design software practices such as HVAC energy analysis, energy modeling, and also the evaluation of more environmentally - friendly building materials.

But across the AEC industry, the general interpretation, use, and even terminology of BIM are still in an early phase. “People are defining BIM as whatever they want it to be” commented Buddy Cleveland. BIM training, cultural acceptance (in the AEC sector), and business process modifications are all unique challenges that must be overcome for continued adoption in the marketplace.

Green Technologies in the Buildings & Facilities Industry

General categories of green technologies that apply to the buildings and facility market have been documented in many periodicals; for the building & facility industry, the key technologies of interest are:

Energy & Resource Efficiency (HVAC systems, day-lighting, water management & re-use)

Alternative Energy Development (self - contained solar, wind, and other power sources)

Advance Material Use (for insulation, walls, windows, structural)

Information Management (energy modeling, sensors, life cycle assessment)

Environmental / Health (occupant health & comfort, waste reduction, carbon emissions management)

Next up: the role of federal owners in driving BIM & Greentech growth, and some recommended strategies for greentech start ups.
Read more!