Water and power shortages causing architects to change design methods

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A-Palace-for-Nature-Qatar-Sanzpont-Architecture-31Three dimensional design software company Autodesk said on Tuesday that architects were changing their design methods in order to work in an South Africa with water and electricity shortages.

Autodesk said architecture companies were using green, bio-mimicry and other techniques to save water and materials that saved on electricity usage.

Autodesk designs software used by architects globally.

Marius Esterhuyze, major accounts manager and sales executive at Autodesk, said economic analysis was predicting an energy challenge for SA.

“Economists believe that 500,000 potential jobs have been sacrificed as a result of the power shortages. Predictions range from bleak to catastrophic,” he said.

“South African developers need to move away from industrial and commercial construction modeled on ideals. Buildings, manufacturing plants and business parks have to be designed to withstand the infrastructure challenges that face our country,” said Mr Esterhuyze.

His comments come soon after economist Dawie Roodt warned at the South African Property Owners’ Association’s national convention recently that building and construction companies were struggling to operate amid regular load shedding. If the supply of water was load shed in the next few years, many of the companies would go out of business, he said.

Autodesk is hosting an event called a university extension on June 18 in Bryanston, Johannesburg, where it will highlight green architectural methods.


Mr Esterhuyze said a key to Autodesk’s software and other new architectural, design and engineering software was how it made iterative testing possible.

“Today’s software technology allows architects and engineers to iteratively test, analyse and improve on building design. This means that performance, including energy consumption, airflow ventilation, solar radiation, water use, can be optimised before a single brick is laid,” said Mr Esterhuyze.

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative recently estimated that the building sector contributes up to 30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions and consumes up to 40% of all energy.

“Good, sustainable building design starts with a clear understanding of the climate of the building site. Building Information Modelling allows for data to be captured and displayed through visualization tools that can help to consider factors such as temperature, humidity, wind conditions, and sky conditions in a design,” said Mr Esterhuyze.

“The achievement of a net zero energy build should always be the end goal,” he said.

Reducing water usage was the next step in a sustainable design.

Skillful system design and a suitable specification of products could reduce water usage by 50% or more.

There were varied ways to get the most out of each water drop: water-efficient fixtures and equipment, water-efficient irrigation and landscaping, recycling water so it can be used more than once, and capturing rainwater.

Purification of water on-site with living machines or advanced septic systems could also be effective.

The other recent innovation in building sustainably is bio-mimcry. This includes the design and production of materials, structures and systems that mimic biological processes.

Autodesk’s comments also came soon after the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) announced the 100th certification of a green building; Kirstenhof Office Park in Paulshof which received a 5-star green rating which certifies excellence.

The council said there was evidence suggesting it was cheaper to build 4-star green buildings than not to.

“A 4-star rating refers to best practice. It is something that all buildings can aspire to and achieve by using commonplace green methods and it is not relatively expensive,” GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson said last week.

He said being green should be a “given” in any construction in SA.

Original Source: BDLive

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