Text by Nicolas Magnon, Vice President, Architecture, Engineering & Construction, Autodesk
Perhaps more than ever in recent history, the architecture, engineering, and construction industries are at the forefront of how we respond to and prepare for global challenges. Climate change and COVID-19 remind us that both people and planet are fragile. To create a thriving future – one that is healthy, sustainable, resilient, and equitable – we must rethink how we live, work, and travel. And we must work together to get it done. To change what we create, we must change how we create. That’s why today, at Autodesk University (AU) 2021, we announced tools to help innovators make decisions with sustainable and resilient outcomes in mind.
Cloud-Based wastewater decision making capabilities now available
Describing the need for operationally efficient and well-maintained wastewater pipe networks as ‘important’ to the health and wellbeing of community residents would be an understatement. They are critical to improving society and protecting the environment. Sadly, technologically obsolete wastewater network infrastructure and the increasing number not meeting the standards of being in a state of good repair, put people at risk. But to understand the condition of the network, teams need the tools and resources to manage, inspect, and respond to risk before it becomes a problem.
Today, however, many organizations who have a wastewater asset inspection programme find it difficult – if not impossible – to make useful sense of large volumes of inspection and condition data. The problem is clear: the data remains in silos on paper, various hard drives and across a large and disconnected desktop-based technology stack. Through this confusion, data is sometimes assigned to the wrong sewer pipe or is lost entirely. Wasted inspection investments means assets with issues won’t be addressed and failure may happen as a result.
Following its beta release in July, cloud-based Info360 Asset from Innovyze, an Autodesk company, is now commercially available and serves as a milestone in the digitization of asset management. Asset management practitioners can now deliver and review inspections efficiently, assess conditions conveniently, and model risks accurately, all within one environment. Info360 Asset enables a risk-based approach to decision making – helping to precisely identify the location and level of risk to keep sewer systems functioning. The data-based risk approach also helps asset managers justify operational and capital decisions.
Mitigating these problems, Innovyze Info360 Asset provides a single place where asset managers can find, access, and share cohesive and accurate data about the condition of their assets any time and in almost any place. This allows them to make faster and more accurate data-driven decisions. Info360 Asset makes is possible – and relatively simple – to configure models of risk of failure hopefully catching an issue before it becomes a problem.
Info360 Asset connects teams, predicts failure, and protects people and the environment. Connect, predict and protect.
Cloud-to-Cloud Solution with Autodesk and Esri
Since we first announced a partnership with Esri in 2017, our teams have worked closely to bridge CAD, BIM, and GIS and deliver product and cloud connected workflows to our design, construction, and owner customers. The collaboration reaches a major milestone today with BIM and GIS cloud collaboration, a new solution that connects our two cloud platforms – ArcGIS Online and Autodesk Construction Cloud – to combine building information modeling (BIM) and geographic information system (GIS) information.
BIM and GIS cloud collaboration enables easy-to-use web-based experiences for project teams to collaborate on BIM projects using data from multiple systems in geospatial context. It allows for seamless workflows that no longer require constant data translation between GIS and BIM environments. It’s simply accessible from one secure place to provide current project status and insights in the context of the real world. This gives project leaders and stakeholders a holistic view of asset locations, costs, issues, risks, and timelines in industries during planning, construction, and operations.
Today, our customers can take advantage of this cloud-to-cloud interconnectivity with a new joint solution from Autodesk and Esri that includes both Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro and Esri ArcGIS GeoBIM to enable real-time, web-based application solutions. This new solution enables our customers to design, build, and operate within the context of the real world to ultimately deliver more sustainable and resilient infrastructure.
Spacemaker, an Autodesk company, launches microclimate analysis
In the late 19th century, scientists began to recognize urban heat islands when they discovered the city of London was often a few degrees higher than the surrounding rural areas. In fact, at one time the city of London has measured as much as 10°C/18°F more than the outlying areas. For those who live and work in urban areas, they know a few degrees impacts thermal comfort caused in part by the process of concrete, asphalt, brick, and other materials absorbing and re-emitting heat during the day and cooling more slowly at night. This isn’t just a comfort issue, but rather it is also a sustainability issue. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates an increase of just 2°F may increase the use of air conditioning by 1-9 percent – powered mostly by electricity produced by fossil-fuel-powered plants.
Acquired by Autodesk in 2020, Spacemaker now offers microclimate analysis, a tool enabling real estate developers, urban planners, and architects to quickly evaluate the thermal comfort of outdoor spaces. While methods of calculating the urban heat island effect already exist, they’re often accessible only to expert users, take hours to run, or do not visualize the data. Spacemaker’s new microclimate analysis feature is fast, intuitive, and highly visual. For the first time, the entire site planning team can quickly see the impact of design decisions on thermal comfort, specifically in this case heat islands, and resolve any issues efficiently and effectively. Within seconds, the resulting heat map shows the duration and time-period of comfort and discomfort for outdoor spaces.
Using microclimate analysis at the earliest, lower-cost stages of planning reduces the risk of large-scale, high-cost and high-waste renovations and improvements in the future.
But what we build must be paired with how we build. Buildings generate nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. To help meet emissions reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement, Autodesk introduced Total Carbon in beta. Total Carbon combines Revit data with open-source energy analysis and material carbon data, in the cloud, to provide real-time, accurate, and reliable total carbon analysis. This tool also gives customers the insight they need to create sustainable designs in Revit, making it easier for them to design for environmentally friendly outcomes from the start.
We refer to this as Total Carbon because the tool provides insight into embodied carbon from design through construction and operation. For example, how might the architect’s use of concrete versus brick versus wood materials impact embodied carbon of the building or infrastructure? This information at the earliest stage of design can have significant impact on the environment.