Two Pivotal Methods for More Sustainable, Efficient Building Projects

9 November 2023BIM, Construction, Digital Transformation, SustainabilityArchitecture and Engineering, Carbon, carbon footprint, Collaboration, Data, digital twin, sustainable design



As we look to the future of construction, architectural and engineering companies are increasingly seeking a bridge to a more sustainable and lower-carbon future. With their capacity for enhanced collaboration, real-time insights, and streamlined project delivery, building information modeling (BIM) and its resulting digital twins – data rich as-built models of buildings and all their systems – are two pivotal methods of successfully navigating the journey toward more sustainable construction practices.

hand on left holding tree, hand on right holding model of a city, sustainable building construction

The synergy of BIM and digital twins represents a powerful combination. Used together, they can pave the way to improved collaboration, real time insights and more meaningful project delivery. As explained by, BIM primarily focuses on the design, visualization and construction aspects of a building, while digital twin models focus on post-construction use and the representation of a building’s operations in real-time. When the two methods are united, they give project teams far-reaching insights into more sustainable and efficient building practices.

Collaboration for Sustainability

Sustainability has become a widespread initiative in the construction industry. BIM and digital twins have emerged as promising ways to address and reduce the industry’s environmental impact. They have the potential to foster environmentally responsive construction projects in the pursuit of sustainability, involving the efforts of designers, project managers, building operators, residents, and other stakeholders. BIM and digital twin methods can be combined in the following ways to reduce carbon on construction projects.

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A. Streamlined construction

BIM is a valuable process for designing and constructing sustainable buildings from the very beginning. It enables precise tracking of project progress and provides insights into materials and other aspects that can affect a project’s carbon footprint. Centralized project data helps streamline decision making and keep project stakeholders aligned on sustainability goals.

B. Systems monitoring 

As digital sensors and devices have become more widely used, building operators are relying on them to optimize energy consumption, for instance smart climate control. The challenge, however, has been collecting and interpreting data generated by these devices because, as explained by Simetric, it’s often locked behind proprietary barriers. But a digital twin powered by the BIM process can centralize the monitoring of building systems, making data easily accessible in a single location. This simplifies coordination and management, leading to a more informed and organized approach to sustainable operations.

digital twin of building on blue background, sustainable building construction BIM

C. Better tracking

To fully understand a building’s scope and impact on resources, the BIM process and its resulting digital twin offer real-time insights into every component of a structure. With a digital twin providing a holistic view of a building’s operations, sustainability tracking can be improved. Beyond energy consumption metrics, this might include data on cost-benefit analyses, health and wellbeing, water usage, waste management, air quality, or other factors affecting carbon footprint.

D. Easier improvements

Data rich digital twins enable testing and visualization of systems upgrades and improvements, letting facilities managers know if certain changes are feasible and will be effective. In this way, building systems can easily be improved long after construction is complete, and managers can implement changes easier to meet sustainability goals.

photo of city buildings in background, spinning wind turbines and solar panels, foreground tan boulders and a field of green grass, sustainable building construction, digital twin

Lower Carbon Future

The synergy of BIM and digital twins represents a powerful combination. Used together, they can pave the way to improved collaboration, real time insights and more meaningful project delivery. With BIM capturing design and construction and digital twins focusing on operations and use, together they give project teams insights into more sustainable and efficient building practices.

Making use of BIM processes and the resulting digital twin models can position construction companies to propel sustainable change. Stakeholders can make informed decisions about the environmental impacts of construction projects and establish the bridge to reduced carbon and a more sustainable future.

Unite your technology, workflows and construction documentation to envision, design and construct high quality structures. Contact Graitec Group today to see how you can achieve more with Autodesk Construction Cloud!




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