Jul 03, 2023

Sustainability in MEP Design: What You Need to Know

The hierarchical pressure to design a sustainable building can be overwhelming. Increased regulatory standards pressure project owners, project owners pressure general contractors, general contractors pressure on-site personnel. Ultimately, the expectation for sustainability comes down on you, the designer, and you are left with the unenviable task of handling the logistics of green MEP systems.

Lucky for you, thanks to advancements in design technology, sustainability in MEP is a realistic, even profitable, option.

Electricity generation is a major contributor to energy consumption therefore as an MEP designer, you can exert a great deal of control over the energy efficiency of a building and help reduce this bottom line.

Take, for example, these five leading MEP technologies that are making the trade more sustainable:

The future of electricity generation is bright (literally). Thanks to advancements in energy optimisation and solar collection, renewable power has become a reasonable proposition. According to Greenmatch, in 2020 Norway was the leading producer of renewable energy in Europe, 69.4% of energy produced was from renewable sources. Compare that to the mere 8.2% for the UK, and it becomes clear that there is room for improvement when it comes to renewable energy.

Make BIM better with constructible content to ensure 3D models are accurate, up-to-date, and serving green initiatives.

Power is one of the largest operating expenses for virtually all commercial building owners, which means sustainability is not only good for the environment, but also good for your clients’ wallets.

Owners and facility managers can also leverage design models to help uncover new sustainability initiatives. Once an MEP system is fully operational, maintenance can use BIM to uncover larger strategic improvements that will affect sustainability on a day-to-day operations and maintenance management level.

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword when it comes to MEP design. Technological advancements such as eco-friendly MEP hardware and BIM are making environmental protection a reasonable, and profitable, reality for designers. As long as you know how to leverage the right technologies, designers can do their part in reducing the carbon footprint of building projects.

According to MEPcontent Senior Sales Engineer Charles Lekx, BIM is a prime example of an MEP technology that is propelling the construction industry toward a more sustainable future.

“With BIM we are much better prepared for gas-free construction or new energy standards,” Lekx said. “We can visualize and simulate buildings and we can build and design much more accurately. When it comes to new and stricter requirements in construction, BIM will make a huge difference.”

Read the full interview: BIM Pioneers – What We Can Learn From the Dutch

BIM extends 3D model capabilities beyond just design and offers unprecedented information to all stakeholders throughout a building’s life cycle. A detailed model adds value to any stage of the construction project by improving interdisciplinary communication, relaying building logistics within a central platform, making sense of technical schematics, and much, much more.

Overall, BIM improves the degree of insight building stakeholders can leverage for green improvements and therefore helps illuminate existing and future sustainability initiatives. Use BIM to find top energy consumers inside a given building: HVAC inefficiencies, top electricity users, peak energy consumption hours, etc. This information and more becomes clear when collected and displayed within 3D building models that directly represent real-world energy consumption.

By leveraging BIM technology, MEP contractors can make sustainability a value-added asset. When equipped with the appropriate sensors and analytics engine, environmental data for a given building can be automatically collected and reflected in an as-built 3D model. This helps building owners identify what, exactly, is driving kilowatt consumption and this insight helps promote ongoing MEP maintenance and future improvements.

Learn how Stabicad for Revit helps MEP engineers and contractors to unlock BIM and improve sustainability.

5 technologies driving MEP sustainabilityAir conditioners powered by AI: Ventilation with heat recovery:Smart control units and sensors: Solar collectors: High efficiency heat pumps:Sustainability as a value-added assetThe role of BIM in sustainable design