The design of a building can have a big impact on the overall sustainability, which is why creating sustainable designs is essential for green building projects. Software can help, providing energy-analysis capabilities and visualization functions, among others.

Autodesk,, San Rafael, Calif., a provider of 3D design and BIM (building information modeling) software, is opening five new offices—that were built using its technology.

In San Francisco, the new office space was designed using Green Building Studio—which Autodesk acquired in 2008 to improve building energy analysis in the BIM process. The functionality of Green Building Studio now exists within Autodesk Revit.

Green Building Studio allows architects and designers to do energy analysis to create environmentally friendly facilities. In addition to energy analysis, the software allows for weather analysis, emission reporting, daylighting, and ENERGY STAR scoring, among others.

As another example, the design team of the new Autodesk office in Farnborough, U.K., used Autodesk 3ds Max Design visualization software to create photorealistic renderings of the space. The energy-efficient design of this space will save about $1 million in overall costs every two years.

In the Beijing office, the construction team calculated daylighting factors using Autodesk Ecotect Analysis—which Autodesk also acquired. The software helps facilitate the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) submission process.

According to Autodesk, the company is targeting LEED certification for the five new green office spaces, which reduce lighting energy up to 35% and increase ventilation efficiency by up to 30% compared to ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers),, Atlanta, Ga., standards.

Construction teams on the projects also followed BIM processes to build projects faster, save money, and improve overall energy efficiency of the facility.

The design intent of a project can be a big factor in long-term energy efficiency of a facility. Also, sharing that information throughout the BIM process can lead to significant savings in both energy and money in the long run.