Buildings consume resources and energy, contribute to pollution of our air, water and soil, impact the health and well-being of populations and constitute an important part of the built environment in which we live. The ability to assess their design with a view to reducing that impact automatically from their 3D CAD representations enables building design professionals to make informed decisions on the environmental impact of building structures. Contemporary 3D object-oriented CAD files contain a wealth of building information. LCADesign has been designed as a fully integrated approach for automated eco-efficiency assessment of commercial buildings direct from 3D CAD. LCADesign accesses the 3D CAD detail through Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs) - the international standard file format for defining architectural and constructional CAD graphic data as 3D real-world objects - to permit construction professionals to interrogate these intelligent drawing objects for analysis of the performance of a design. The automated take-off provides quantities of all building components whose specific production processes, logistics and raw material inputs, where necessary, are identified to calculate a complete list of quantities for all products such as concrete, steel, timber, plastic etc and combines this information with the life cycle inventory database, to estimate key internationally recognised environmental indicators such as CML, EPS and Eco-indicator 99. This paper outlines the key modules of LCADesign and their role in delivering an automated eco-efficiency assessment for commercial buildings.
CIB Report 284: proceedings of 'Construction IT bridging the distance': the 20th CIB W078 Conference on Information Technology in Construction, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand, 23-25 April 2003