FuturArc Forum encourages sustainable design

The regional 2008 FuturArc Forum series highlighted the transformative role of sustainable building practices in the architectural and construction industries.

At the 2008 FuturArc Forum held in Sydney in March, over 3,000 architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals were told that with a better understanding of their designs they would be able to substantially improve the environmental footprint of their buildings.

The 2008 Green Building Market Report found a large percentage of Australian AEC professionals have already been involved in green building products, with demand for these services increasing, particularly from government and large corporations.

“We’re seeing a gradual but profound shift in the demand among both public and private sector organisations across the world for an increased emphasis on greener building practices, and advanced design technology plays a profound role in making this goal a reality” explained Autodesk Asia-Pacific Sales Development Director, Architecture, Engineering & Construction, Emmanuel Samuels.

The report found that 85 per cent of the Australian architects, engineers, contractors and building owners surveyed have been involved in green building projects to date.The report surveyed over 1,200 architects, contractors, building developers and owners in Australia, Southeast Asia and China, and found the key driver of sustainable design across all countries surveyed is ‘being part of an industry that values the environment’.

Autodesk Business Unit Manager Michael Beer said the industry is responding to demand for sustainable design but observed that its adoption is an evolutionary process. “If you think of five years ago, sustainable design was on the radar and I would say the mood of the current climate is that it is becoming a more mainstream, more quickly,” he explained.

A highlight of this year’s FuturArc event was the inaugural FuturArc prize, the first green building design competition in Asia Pacific, created to demonstrate the capabilities of sustainable design. The competition, sought green design solutions for three pre-selected sites, including Brisbane, Australia.

Edy Lim, who studied architecture at the University of New South Wales, submitted the winning design for Brisbane.

“My passion for architecture and building technology has been enriched by entering this design competition,” said Mr Lim. “The challenging research of relevant projects in Australia has encouraged me to discover recent building innovation techniques, particularly in the implementation building technology and materials promoting an ecological and sustainable building model.”

Mr Lim’s award-winning design for Bouquet St, South Brisbane was created using Autodesk’s flagship product, AutoCAD and the design features several innovative energy-saving characteristics including a double façade to create a noise and temperature buffer with windows that open to control natural air flows around the building and a thermal mass roof garden with ponds to insulate the roof of the building resulting in lower heating costs.

Mr Samuels described the FuturArc Prize contestants use of a building information modelling (BIM) methodology powered by Autodesk’s Revit suite of software solutions, as part of a growing shift towards green design.

Mr Beer added that the software encourages designers to design buildings as buildings, not as a collection of lines. He said that eventually, the software will enable every component in a building to be analysed for how sustainable it is, for the size of its carbon footprint and also for the impact it has on the building’s performance in addition to its broader environmental impact.

“While our products aren’t necessarily just solely bought for sustainable design, they are an intuitive tool that is only going to help and we certainly see it as the way of the future,” he said.

The 2008 FuturArc Forum featured industry luminaries from the architectural, building and construction industries, government associations and academia discussing the key issues and challenges facing companies today in the development of green buildings and implementation of greener building practices.

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