Energy-efficient building is not just about sustainability; it is about designing and constructing an overall better building. These words from Sefaira’s CEO Mads Jensen sum up one of the biggest trends to hit the construction industry as of late—using sustainable analysis platforms to determine a building’s overall efficiency.

Sefaira, www.sefaira.com, New York, N.Y., created Sefaira Concept with the intent to give architects and designers a Web-based system that provides feedback on whole-building energy and water use; analyzes and compares design options; and communicates design ideas to customers, ultimately making the case for sustainable buildings.

The use of such design and analysis technology is very quickly spreading to the entire AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) team, as the product from Sefaira integrates with Trimble’s, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., SketchUp, and additionally allows the entire team to access the same data throughout the construction project.

Take this case: the 2012 House of the Immediate Future. This project required long-term operational affordability, and as such the team decided to design the home to be net-zero annual energy consumption. Enter Sefaira Concept. The software enabled the team to model heating and cooling loads and create individual concepts for different design cases. The end result was being able to identify and verify the most efficient design.

Sefaira continues to innovate as well, with the recent release of its software, which includes the capability to analyze custom shading designs alongside standard options. Jensen says the company has plans to continue to develop partnerships in the future that will enable data to be shared from the early stages of design throughout the construction process.

As the construction industry moves toward sustainable designs—or simply constructing a better overall building—technologies for early analysis will continue to gain a greater foothold in the AEC market. For contractors, the end result will be better buildings.