Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Judging the 2017 AEC Excellence Awards

I had the honor of being one of the judges in this year's AEC Excellence Awards 2017 - in the Sustainable Category.

As you may, or may not know, LHB is a leader in sustainable design; click here to read more on that, if interested. LHB is one of just over 400 firms who signed on to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment initiative. The USGBC-MN staff also have their offices within our Minneapolis office through donated space.

I presented on energy modelling last year at RTC-NA in Arizona and earned a top speaker ranking for that! This November I will be speaking again, on this subject, at the 2017 Minnesota AIA Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I am working on another post which talks about recent staff training I have done on energy modelling.

Additionally...This competition was meant to highlight a design team's use of
analysis tools to achieve a sustainable, or high performance, design. Not just a project that, in the end, earned a LEED, BREEAM or Greenstar ranking, but leveraged analysis tools to properly compare and predict results. While there was clearly an interest in Autodesk products, the competition was also keen to know about any and all analysis tools used.

Highlighting the need for energy modelling, the AIA's report on the progress of their 2030 Commitment program states:
"numbers continue to demonstrate that energy modeling is an essential component of success, with modeled projects averaging pEUI reductions of just over 50%, as compared to only a 35% pEUI reduction for projects that were not modeled.  However, as the share of modeled projects declined from 2015, it is clear that work is needed to better incorporate energy modeling across the board."
I was surprised that some projects were submitted, perhaps into multiple categories, that did not use any analysis tools (a few even stated as much). Rather, they focused on the simple fact that the project was done in Revit - and may have used a few views to study daylight and shadows. And still others never mentioned the targeted EUI or expounded on any comparative studies undertaken.

We, the judges, had a lot of data to review; answers to standardized questions, images and even videos in some cases. The scoring method involved using about 10 sliders to rank things like "used analysis tools" and "complicated multi-discipline project". The use of sliders resulted in a total score for each project. I was not paying attention to the total scores so, honestly, I do not even know which projects came out on top based on my judging. I felt that was appropriate seeing as the names of the design firms were included in each submission.

Here is a link listing all the judges: http://autode.sk/AECExcellenceJudges

Here is a related post on Autodesk's In the Fold blog: http://blogs.autodesk.com/inthefold/aec-excellence-awards-finalists-2017/

And then the finalists... here is a slide-deck posted on LinkedIn highlighting our collective top picks:

Again, I was honored to be involved in judging this competition which promotes the use of sophisticated tools to help create better buildings.

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