In an information era, technology is ingrained in even the most mundane of daily experiences, and although its involvement in industry efforts has been long debated, there is little argument that technology can be a valuable tool in the design and construction sector.
Technological systems such as BIM and CAD have long been a part of industry efforts, with modern construction and architecture sectors almost always incorporating them in project development in some form.
Now, these digital tools are finding their own unique function as an important part of the green building movement.
According to Young S. Lee’s paper ‘Using Building Information Modeling for Green Interior Simulations and Analyses’, published in the Journal of Interior Design, the use of BIM in the green interior design sector is vital in maximising future opportunities in the sector.
“As the green design movement matures, it becomes increasingly important to seek evidence of the effectiveness of green design from the physical performance of a building or space when proposing green design option,” Lee says in the paper.
According to Lee, interior designers must understand the integral functions of BIM-based simulations if they are to create green spaces that meet the highest standards while remaining functional.
While this notion is certainly not new, it has rarely been explored in relation to the interior design sector, and more rarely still in the green building movement.
In order to further explore the concept and test the importance of this digital tool, a three-year interior design course case study was undertaken that explores BIM-based simulations and how they are useful in meeting real-life interior design challenges and goals.
This included tests of interior daylight with and without window blinds and the effects of light reflectance of paint colors and finishes on interior daylight. The latter study found that ‘depending on the light reflectance value (LRV) of the interior paint color, the number of necessary lighting fixtures can be reduced by 25 per cent in classrooms and also the energy for cooling the heat generated from interior artificial lightings.’
This kind of information is invaluable to interior designers and their clients and only solidifies the notion that interior design elements can dramatically alter the energy consumption of a space if used in an efficient and effective way.
More importantly, as the research paper points out, the use of BIM offers designers a vital research tool that can help to eliminate lengthy estimations while giving those designers a far broader skills base.
“By using these tools for green simulations and analyses, it is easier to make informed decisions based on the quantified data,” says the paper. “This allows interior designers to conduct green design practice based on evidence.”
According to the paper – and a growing number of industry professionals – BIM is the way to go in an evolved industry. The importance of interior design to health and well-being is backed by an abundance of research. As the sector evolves so too should our understanding of practices and their effects, particularly in scenarios that are new and unexplored.