Green Building Design and 3D Modeling

Being green isn’t anything new for us at ZUM; we’ve done a few LEED Certified building projects in the past. Brookfield Properties’ Bay Adelaide Center in Toronto, Dosart Development’s 690 Middlefield in Mountainview California, and Wilson Meany Sullivan’s Lot 11 at Santana Row in San Jose California to name a few.

So when we heard that the Urban Green Council here in New York had released their study called “90 by 50,” we were intrigued.

According to the study, New York City can reduce its carbon emissions an astonishing 90% by the year 2050. What’s more, the researchers found that buildings are New York’s main contributor to carbon pollution, putting out about 75% of the total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions).

In creating the study, a virtual NYC was created using the widely-accepted building simulation model DEO-2 using each of 8 building types found in the city – low rise, high rise, row house, etc. – to estimate current GHG emissions.  Then the model was tweaked and adjusted to improve the buildings with currently available technologies like insulation, heat-pumps, solar panels and triple glazing windows. Ultimately, they ended up with a model building sector nearly free of carbon pollution.


We especially like the idea of using a computer generated Model to help illustrate the possibilities and aid in the decision-making process.

But it’s not quite that easy, the study says. Setting politics aside for the moment, questions about the feasibility of this endeavor have already popped up. “How does this retrofitting work get financed?” “How large of a workforce will be needed, and how do they get trained?” and “Are there material constraints on supplies or equipment that would hinder the renovation and construction?”

ZUM can help answer questions.

When it comes to getting questions answered, a 3D Model can be a designer and developer’s most valuable asset. Once the model is created, there’s a lot that it can help you do:

• Check for errors that might occur in the planning process

• Minimize errors/revisions in Design and RFIs

• Estimate the quantity of materials required

• Provide a clear picture of the final project

• Improve coordination among architects, engineers and contractor

• Lower project costs

• Show all New Yorkers what you are doing to help the environment

We even see using 3D Models to help with training and reviewing safety challenges before the first shovel hits the dirt. There’s no getting around it, 3D Modeling can help in more ways than just creating a great looking rendering.

If you’d like to learn more about 3D Modeling and how it can be used in Green Building Design, Contact Us.




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