One can argue more emphasis than ever is being placed on going green and taking care of the environment. But in the construction industry, this isn’t always easy. Typically, a project’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is time and labor intensive, and isn’t performed until after construction is complete, and is placed in the hands of trained practitioners. Thus, the team that actually designs the building is left completely out of the picture.

This dynamic may be changing, however. Tally, a new software application developed by KieranTimberlake, www.kierantimberlake.com, Philadelphia, Pa., allows designers to measure the environmental impact of their would-be structure via Revit modeling software.

Tally provides designers with material attributes, assembly details, as well as engineering and architectural specifications. When combined with environmental impact data, the software can produce reports designers can use to track and analyze the materials they select. The data covers a wide range of categories, including embodied energy and global warming potential.

The software also allows designers to save time, as they don’t have to create a separate model for analysis, and are provided with a streamlined, direct interface to interact with their models.

The solution was developed using GaBi data from PE Intl., www.pe-international.com, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany. Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., makers of the Revit, also supported the development and testing of the application.  A Revit API (application programming interface) was used to link BIM (building information modeling) elements with a custom-designed LCA database.

With the arrival of Tally, designers can now not only create buildings that are more environmentally efficient, but gain greater insight into the construction process itself. It’s difficult to argue that such information leads to better-informed decisions.