Designing Green: The Software Building Smarter Cities
News When it comes to building the sustainable cities we demand as global citizens, having a solid, original vision is paramount. We check in with an industry expert to learn about the technology that maps that vision.
MP: What benefits can this software provide when trying to intelligently plan our cities?
Emma Stewart: The most powerful and cost-effective insertion point for technology is not collecting big data once things are built to improve at the margins, but rather generating, simulating and analyzing ideas early and often in the design or redesign of city assets. To achieve that does require “smarts,” but in the form of an acronym. So our software empowers cities to become truly “S.M.A.R.T.”:
S. Sets science –based targets
M. Makes the comprehensive business case
A. Absorbs water
R. Retrofits energy hogs
T. Transports people, not cars
MP: How can water simulation software help municipalities and building owners better steward water and become more resilient?
ES: Our green stormwater infrastructure simulator is the first to guide engineers to environmentally friendly stormwater designs that minimize flooding and pollution while increasing property values and decreasing urban heat island effect. We also offer a corollary automated cost-benefit analysis that includes financial, environmental and social assessments to help secure project financing and political buy-in for these greener designs.
MP: How can energy analysis software help architects, engineers and designers create more environmentally friendly buildings?
ES: Our energy analysis can predict how new buildings—even at their earliest stages of design—will consume energy and where that consumption could be radically reduced through use of energy efficiency techniques and renewables energy generation onsite. For existing buildings, it can be used to evaluate energy retrofit opportunities and to do so without the need for expensive onsite visits.
MP: In recent years there have been so many advancements in engineering and design technologies such as GIS mapping, 3-D printing, software analysis, etc. What advancements do you see in store for the future?
ES: In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to optimize a building, bridge, or bicycle for optimal environmental performance, without ever creating a physical prototype or breaking ground on construction.