When you think about sustaining our environment, there are potentially huge consequences in how our buildings are constructed and work. Owners who are not well informed, or who choose to not look at the operations and maintenance costs of a new facility are missing an opportunity to truly understand the impact of a building's life cycle cost.
A basic principle to understand about buildings is that the actual cost of construction is typically 15-30 percent of the building life cycle cost. With this large percentage attributable to life cycle cost, it becomes easy to understand the importance and value of sustainable buildings. The best time to address this is during the design process. Whether you are renovating, adding on to an existing facility, or building from the ground up, your architectural design team should be able help you understand your potential life cycle costs.
With the opportunity to "rebuild" in New Orleans, I have been fortunate to be able to implement sustainable design strategies for the New Orleans Parish Criminal. Justice Complex. The issue of sustainable design and the continued operation of a corrections complex in the eye of another storm was at the forefront of Sheriff Marlin Gusman's vision. Hurricane Katrina taught us all many lessons about critical building systems, evacuations and how to get a facility quickly back in operation if forced to evacuate. The sheriff's experiences played a key role in many design decisions.
The new complex, a joint venture between Grace & Hebert Architects and Sizeler Thompson Brown, was designed using building information modeling (BIM). This technology has changed the way we produce a building, from concept to construction documents to final construction. The implementation of BIM in the design process allows us to create a virtual building Within this virtual building, we are able to modify building components, orientation and other factors used in efficient energy modeling and design.
BIM enables owners and designers to carefully, and more accurately, review the payback of one building scheme relative to another over the life cycle of a building Energy modeling with the BIM Model is relatively new and continuing to improve, and these tools have become vital to understanding and creating sustainable buildings. While it was not possible to implement all of the energy modeling strategies in the New Orleans project due to technology at the time we started design, we have currently implemented these strategies on other projects.
The first phase, the …