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.

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