Sunday, October 12, 2008

BIM and Sustainability

So it's late and I had to take a break from writing about BIM and sustainability in my write about BIM and sustainability on my blog?? eh? Regardless, I just finished dancing around the room to Mos Def putting my 3 month old daughter to sleep so I figured I'd spit out a few words about some interesting work a colleague and myself are doing in regards to sustainability as it relates to construction.

So Hiromitsu (a sushi loving buddy of mine) and I talked as he is currently working outside of Tokyo on a large scale mixed use development and was talking about some of the nuainces that seem to be fundamentally different between projects in Japan and here. That said to begin we don't bless a site with Buddhist monks to evoke teamwork and prosperity, but based on the current economic crisis, perhaps we should! But moreover he was talking about how they are using BIM to protect a wetland area they are working around. While some of this seemed over the top, I'm sure the native egrets greatly appreciate it:

- Motion activated cameras notify the site superintendent on his hand held tablet PC when the said area is breached.

- When it rains on site the superintendent can use the web enabled site security cameras to verify that his site is draining correctly and that the water runoff is not flooding the protected area from his i-phone. (maybe apple will take over the world..hmmm..)

- Every piece of installed lumber, steel, concrete, panelling, flooring, etc...has imbedded recycled content schedules that table for green building reporting later in the BIM.

- They are monitoring on site energy use by having all off hours site security lighting on motion sensors and unplug all construction equipment at the end of the day.

So that said I was pretty impressed. Of course, I had to let him know about my latest little contribution to the world of sustainability and the image below says quite a bit:

That's right... an eco-friendly jobsite trailer. Now what you might ask, does a green job trailer have anything to do with BIM? Well the simple fact is that I designed this puppy in Revit and calculated the southern orientation for daylighting and views, those solar panels on the top were modeled for correct angle here in the midwest (also to make sure we could clear overpasses), the composting toilet (no it doesn't stink) was modeled to show were outside vents would be and were shown on the plans and the interior is clad in completely reclaimed wood panelling, that had some great pattern to it, which of course was modeled.

At the end of the day this trailer is net POSITIVE ENERGY! So it can essentially be rolled out into a field virtually anywhere the sun shines an average 40% of the time during an 8 hour period and it will operate completely sustainably. If the sun doesn't shine, which hasn't happened yet, the wind generator mounted to the side kicks on and hums through the evening and night hours completely recharging the system batteries. Funny story is when they were setting it up for the local tour we had 6 laborers all plugged in to the trailer to set things up and all had power tools, drills and saws working away and we never dropped below 20% usage. It was funny when I asked a worker if it felt good to be completely off grid and he smiled and said he wanted to install the system on his house!

Facts you can use for your next cocktail party:

- Jobsite trailers on average run 24/7 during a job and use in a month enough energy to power 8 average sized homes

- On average jobsite trailers have about 1/4-1/2" of insulation.

- Jobsite trailers account for about 700-1200 dollar energy bills every month on a construction project.

- Through increased windows and motion sensors the typical job trailer could save about 40% in energy costs.

That's what I got tonight...back to work. Have a great week!


Anonymous said...

I like the trailer. I currently work for a construction company in Canada and would love to know how much a job site trailer like this costs? I want to pitch this to my boss if it makes economic sense.

Frank Robbins, LEED AP said...

I second that comment, I'm guessing that with the software you used you were able to figure out ROI before it was even built!

architect11 said...

Yes we calculated the ROI out to about 5 years it would actually be operating in the black. The estimate to do this included electrical setup, power bills, sewer hookup/portajohn costs, on site tool electricity and tear down electrical cap when the job is done 3 times a year.

Actual cost to construct was about 90k. shoot me an email if you're interested in building one. regards!

Cliff Cort said...

I think the trailer sounds very interesting.. I have been interested in building one like it for the last couple of years, but have no takers at the current price point. I would need to get the cost down to make it commercially available for the short term leasing market here in New England. Where did you find the information about how traditionally constructed site trailers are built and perform?