Architecture professors win grant to help
design software speak common language


A team of architecture professors at Texas A&M is aiming to improve buildings’ design and energy efficiency by providing standards for data exchange among disparate building design software systems through research from a national engineering society’s 15-month, $175,000 grant.

Studies have shown that problems related to exchanging information among building information modeling software used by architects and energy analysis and simulation software used by engineers causes more than $16 billion per year of unnecessary expenses.

Since new technologies for representing buildings are expected to transform processes for architectural engineering design services, it is imperative that standards for data exchange among software systems be established, said Mark Clayton, professor of architecture and the project’s principal investigator.

“This research will promote the inclusion of energy efficiency measures in the early design of building model development,” said Clayton. “It is expected to greatly increase the efficiency and accuracy of energy analysis and allow building designs to achieve higher levels of energy efficiency.”

Clayton, assistant director of the College of Architecture’s Center for Housing and Urban Development, Jeff Haberl, professor of architecture, and Wei Yan, assistant professor of architecture, will develop open-source reference models to test interoperability of BIM software and energy simulation software with the grant, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Research Project 1468, Development of a Reference Building Information Model for Thermal Model Compliance Testing.

“The research will enable ASHRAE to foster standards for interoperability between various BIM software systems and energy simulation systems and address some of the costs attributable to poor interoperability,” said Clayton. “More significantly, improved interoperability is expected to improve the quality of design and the energy efficiency of buildings.”

It’s one of 13 grants totaling 1.6 million awarded by ASHRAE at its recent 2009 annual conference.


- Posted: August 12, 2009 -

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