Autodesk, a popular architecture design software brand, is best known for its AutoCAD software. But the company, which we designated as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies last year, is betting that upgraded versions of its building performance modeling software–Ecotect Analysis and Green Building Studio–could make detailed evaluations of energy emissions and water use accessible to most companies. That’s because Autodesk claims that its new software will cut down the time necessary for analysis from weeks to days.
New versions of Autodesk’s software will use cloud computing to speed up analysis, produce accurate models of water use and natural ventilation, and use comprehensive data about weather conditions and sustainable building products to speed up the evaluation time.
At the moment, companies that develop, build and fund energy efficiency projects won’t even consider working on building smaller than 10,000 square feet. If it only takes a few days to build models and get recommendations on cost and performance statistics, these companies might be much more willing to take on smaller buildings.
But the majority of the construction industry doesn’t take sustainability into account when working on new buildings. In order for Autodesk’s software to really take off, there will have to be some sort of cultural change in the industry, according to Dawn Danby, Autodesk’s sustainable design program manager. Perhaps Autodesk’s Clean Tech Partner Program, which will give away software packages worth $150,000 to 100 cleantech startups, can help . If any change at all is implemented in the industry, Autodesk will probably have to lead the charge–the company is far and away the world’s largest design software firm.