If building designers and contractors are expected to improve and eventually regenerate the environmental impact of the built world, the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software is a logical place to start. BIM software enables a designer or contractor to conduct and incorporate analytical studies early in the design phase, such as for daylight harvesting and energy use, and shore up the plans and specs to achieve better performance outcomes long before construction begins.

The software also helps monitor performance during occupancy. A 2010 report issued by McGraw-Hill Construction singles out green building as the driving force behind the increasing adoption of BIM software among building designers and forecasts that by 2014 all but 8% of those currently using BIM in some capacity will employ the software to reduce the environmental impact of their work.

As of the report’s issue, 34% of the nearly 500 survey respondents were considered “Green BIM” users (firms using BIM software in which more than 75% of their projects are “green”), while 31% of the firms surveyed reported less than a quarter of their projects as “green."

Simply, the more green building is demanded or mandated, says the report’s authors, the higher likelihood that the design professional behind it will use BIM software to simulate, improve, and verify its performance. “The growth of green projects will drive the growth of BIM use … and, ultimately, productivity improvements in the design and construction industry.” The 56-page report is available as a free download at http://construction.com/market_research/FreeReport/GreenBIM/.