Green buildings start with good analysis. Whether it is building materials, performance, or the methodology, contractors and owners need tools at their disposal to help make the proper assessments when it comes to green construction.

A new toolset from IES (Integrated Environmental Solutions), www.iesve.com, Glasgow, U.K., helps to optimize the sustainability of a building design through analyzing the embodied impact and life cycle cost of material/product choices, and operational energy efficiency. Recently launched at Ecobuild, the toolset includes LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), LCC (Life Cycle Cost), and CC (Capital Cost).

According to the company, these tools were developed as a result of a three-year Technology Strategy Board funded project called IMPACT, which involved various different players in the U.K. construction market. Through the project, IMPACT integrated LCC and LCA methodology and database for software developers and incorporated the tools.

Customization is part of the tool as well, as it features cost templates available for different building types. The tools also use a new building level methodology and data for both generic and certified products/materials. In addition, environmental outputs are delivered in the form of BRE Ecopoints or as 13 separate impact indicators, with a choice of flexible lifecycle stages and study periods.

Integration is key as the tools integrate directly with the IESVE dynamic simulation suite. This helps to deliver material and quantity information and operational energy performance details directly from a central 3D model into the analysis. Other areas to assess performance metrics include daylight, Part L, and carbon, among others.

Naturally there is a BIM (building information modeling) angle to the suite. It is interoperable with gbXML and IFC (Industry Foundation Codes) import connections.

IES is providing the software tools (CostPlan, LifeCycle & EnviroImpact) for free in the U.K. with the only requirement on the part of the user being to purchase a subscription to the relevant Willmott Dixon & BRE datasets.

“A major advantage of these tools is the ability to get rapid feedback on design options so you can assess and reassess right from concept through to detailed design,” says Craig Wheatley, director, IES. “They will facilitate the improvement in design and decision making for both new design and retrofit projects.”